Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Approach of Fall

The drive to work is pretty familiar at this point, and thus I spend more time trying to find a good radio station than noticing any nice scenery.  However, just last week I noticed there was a subtle change. A tiny, little hint of yellow beginning to edge the leaves of trees here and there. Since then I have enjoyed picking out more and more trees as they have slowly changed from green to a lovely, bright yellow, accompanied by the faintest smell of fall in the air.
In the past week it has become more and more obvious that fall is indeed here . . . .which means winter is also coming, but we won't dwell on that right now:)
  Work is going really well, we only have one week of deliveries left, and it is a pretty good thing because all the produce is beginning to taper off.
   We went from picking a couple ice cream buckets of cherry tomatoes, to several big totes at a time. The cherry tomatoes are starting to quit producing, but that does not necessarily mean we can relax, because now the large tomatoes need to be picked by the lugs:)  Beans are pretty much done. Broccoli is near the end, and we only have a handful of cabbage left. (They are monsters!)
    My favorite produce to pick right now?  Pumpkins! Strange as it may sound, and it may sound strange to those of you who do now know me:) But every time we drive the golf cart past the pumpkins we call out a bubbly hello and goodbye. (Yes, I am actually a five year old, but shhh, no one but my family knows it:)
There is just something so cheerful about those plump pumpkins as they sit about, scattered among each other in various stages of green to brilliant orange, sizes ranging from huge to the cutest little thing that will fit in the palm of my hand.

The coming of fall also means that we are beginning to preserve food in preparation for the coming winter months.
A couple weeks ago I took the time to freeze some basil. We love using basil, especially in a pesto sauce spread over a pizza crust. (Yum!)

First, I trimmed the basil. Apparently basil is one of those plants that, the more you trim it the more it produces, so hopefully I will be able to do it at least one or two more times before the weather gets too cold.
 This is purple basil, something I was really excited to grow this year, it is really pretty and has an unusual, almost licorice type smell to it.

 Once I trimmed the leaves off the stems I plunged it all in a sink full of cold water.

 And then spun it dry in our lettuce spinner.

Some sites online said they laid it out on a cookie sheet and froze it that way, I decided to pack it straight into bags and seal it with our vacuum sealer. It worked great!
We have not tried any yet, but it froze really nicely and one of the comments I read online said that freezing it in the vacuum sealed bags keep it from getting full of ice crystals.

I am really looking forward to using it this winter and finding out if it truly tastes fresh . . . or, you know, as fresh a something frozen can be:) 
If I do it again I might try another method. One of the others mentioned was throwing all the basil into a food processor and blending it all up, drizzling it lightly with olive oil until it is coated, then scooping it into ice cube trays and freezing it that way.
If you use the ice cube method you will pretty much end up with pre-measured amounts and you won't have to try figure out just how much you are using.

P.S. We have also frozen chives in the sealed bags. Simply pick it, rinse it off, snip into pieces with sharp shears, and seal the bag! Easy as that!