How to Preserve Your CSA Share
By Noa Kay, Songbird Haven Farm
When you have beautiful vegetables and herbs from your seasonal CSA and no time to cook, life can feel even more stressful. Luckily, with a few easy preservation strategies you can save your farm fresh veggies when you have more time to prepare a meal.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by vegetables, the freezer is your friend. Many instructions suggest blanching vegetables (i.e., quickly cooking them in boiling water) before freezing. However, I’ve found that blanching is an unnecessary step for many vegetables.
- Greens: Cut hearty greens into thin ribbons that can be used in a stir fry, soup, or smoothie. Spinach, kale, chard, and mustard greens are great choices.
- Peas and beans: Trim the ends before freezing. When you’re ready to use your frozen bounty, simply boil or steam the peas or beans until tender.
- Summer squash: Grated zucchini and other summer squash can be frozen and used for future batches of zucchini bread. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can before freezing.
Dry your vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. After the vegetables are flash-frozen you can pack them into a tightly sealed bag or freezer safe container without ending up with a solid veggie ice cube.
Mid-summer basil pesto is a glorious thing. But you can make almost any herb or veggie into a flavorful sauce year-round. Here’s a great guide for making a creative pesto. Use your sauce on pasta, white beans, rice, eggs, or toast. You can freeze your herb sauce in ice cube trays so they are stored in easy-to-use portions.
You can dry most herbs by hanging them upside down out of direct sunlight or placing them in a closed paper bag. Drying is also a fantastic method to transform your veggies into delicious chips. You can certainly use a dehydrator, but if you don’t have one your oven will work just fine. Here’s a recipe to get you started
The Pause Button
Knowing that you have several ways to save your vegetables can relieve a lot of stress in the present and set you up for a great meal in the future! And if you don’t have the bandwidth to press the pause button, you can always offer farm fresh vegetables to a friend or neighbor who loves to cook.