Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shredding and Freezing Your Excess Garden Produce


We garden year round and when those leftover "odds and ends" produce come in toward the end of the season, I must admit to being quite tired of them. This is just a little reminder to encourage you (and me) to "waste not" and therefore "want not" when you are feeling the garden harvest burn-out. Though tired of preserving food, this is our golden opportunity to bless the household for the future  Bring out the food processor and shred away those garden goods! There is money to be made by simply saving what you have! This would also apply to any vegetables you have sitting in your crisper (process them up before they go bad!).


When the easy work of shredding is done, I like to place them in small baggies (approx 2 cups worth per bag) and line them up in the freezer. No need to blanch most vegetables (when you are shredding small like this) if your purpose is to use them for foods such as quiches, pasta sauces, soups, stews, casseroles, etc. The reason you usually flash freeze foods on trays is so the vegetables don't clump up together. However, if you store them in smaller bags and for these kinds of recipes, it isn't an issue since you will use the whole bag.


I also like to keep them in a separate section in the freezer. A plastic basket full of your pre-shredded veggies makes for effortless finding of food and you will love grocery shopping in your freezer! If I need to make a lasagna sauce, for example, I take a stroll into the freezer and shop through my shredded produce. All that needs to be done is to sauté some onions and garlic and add the veggies into the pot, bag by bag, with no mess to clean up. Once I am satisfied with the amount, I simply add my tomato sauce and seasonings for a homemade, homegrown sauce!


Because of this, I rarely have to purchase produce! There is such a stockpile of comfort food ingredients tucked away in these little pouches and the convenience of these prepared foods is priceless! Some of my favorite foods to shred and freeze are broccoli (don't forget those stumps!), carrots, rutabaga, and squash (the white shredded vegetable in the photos are rutabaga and not to be confused with potatoes which would require special treatment prior to freezing).



"It is wise, therefore, for all persons to devise a general plan, which they will at least keep in view, and aim to accomplish, and by which, a proper proportion of time shall be secured, for all the duties of life... In forming such a plan, every woman must accommodate herself to the peculiarities of her situation. If she has a large family, and a small income, she must devote far more time to the simple duty of providing food and raiment..."
~ Catherine Beecher (1800-1878), A Treatise on Domestic Economy

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33 comments:

  1. Great idea, I see homemade vegetable soups in the future winters.

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    1. Yes, yes! And pasta sauce year round :)

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  2. This is great JES. I have been saving scraps and leftovers the last few months trying to see what would happen if I do not waste anything we have. My grocery budget dropped a lot and I feel better knowing I am no longer wasting the "crumbs".
    Have a wonderful day....Hugs from Shirley

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    1. Exactly! And the end pieces are great tucked away in freezer bags for flavoring future bone broths and soup stocks! :)

      http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2015/11/beauty-of-bone-broth-some-stock-talk.html

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  3. Jes, this is such wise and prudent teaching. Thanks for reminding us of another way to 'waste not, want not.'

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    1. Thank you Patsi! I think you are queen of that! :)

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  4. What a wonderful idea! I do like to make home-made soup and sauces and these would be perfect for that. Now my mind is racing with all the possibilities....carrot cake, spaghetti sauce, minestrone....Thank you for sharing, I love this! Hugs and blessings xo Karen

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    1. Oh, yes! You have the right idea my friend! :)

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  5. I have never froze broccoli like this before, thanks for the tip Jes! I only have one bag of shredded zucchini left from last year.

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    1. This is a great way to use those broccoli stumps Lori and it adds wonderful depth of flavor as well as nutrition!

      Nice to hear from you! :)

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  6. I like the idea of freezing in smaller bags! Great tip! I also like to set aside and freeze for the chickens items like zucchini, pumpkins, and squash that just got a little too big and tough. It's a nice winter treat for them too and gives them something to peck and scratch at.

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    1. That is a great idea! Especially with the pumpkin (and perhaps other gourds too) as the seeds have deworming properties too!

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  7. You don't blanch your broc.? It must freeze better shredded. I have tried to freeze it w/out blanching but it tasted off - the large pieces of a whole head, not shredded. I like adding it to soups and sauces too - will have to give this a try. Thank you.

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    1. Only when shredded. When I do the nice broccoli heads for eating whole as a side dish, I do blanch those first. This is more for soups and sauces and works great! :)

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  8. Jes, I had plans to freeze our excess zucchini this year but unfortunately there wasn't any :-( My plants didn't do as well as I had expected. I had to ask Mr.Google what a rutabaga was and it sounds like a type of turnip. This is such a great idea and I will keep it in mind if my garden decides to co-operate and produce well.

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    1. I didn't know what a rutabaga was until hubby planted it (neither of us did!). It came in a seed variety packet. We ended up liking it raw in salads and found it very pleasing in soups! :) I hope next year your garden flourishes!

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  9. Great tips, JES! I'd never thought to add shredded vegetables to my pasta sauce. I can't wait to try that and waste less in the process.

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    1. Yes, an easy way to boost nutrition! :)

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  10. Thankyou Jes,great idea ! PS Im here via Bluebirds are nesting blog :-) love Maria

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Maria. I love the Bluebirds are Nesting blog :)

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  11. I like this idea, I will try the smaller bags as we use less food as we are just the two of us!
    Hugs, Roxy

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    1. Very true! One cup bags might suit better :) Nice hearing from you Roxy!

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  12. I love having shredded carrots in the freezer-we use them in soups, carrot cakes/bars/breads, and my new favorite, chili
    also lots of cabbage and zucchini in my freezer this year as well-I do need to do the broccoli this year-I would love to get more of it into our soups, but no one likes the frozen broc as well as fresh
    thanks for the great tips

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    1. Yes, we eat most of our broccoli fresh too and only freeze the excess that we can't keep up with in the garden. Thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

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  13. Thanks for sharing I will definitely keep this in mind.

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  14. I always shred zucchini when it is in season and store it this way! I love being able to make zucchini bread and muffins all year long. I've never thought to try it with other veggies though, I'll have to this year!

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    1. Yes, especially if you have excess produce and don't know what to do with it. This saves your food in a pinch! :)

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  15. How clever! Those little bags of shredded veggies would be great for "health by stealth" to pump up the nutrient content of other dishes.
    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Yes, I especially love them for pasta sauces. You can put so many foreign veggies in there! :)

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  16. I love having frozen zucchini that is preshredded for breads, pancakes and adding to sauces! Thanks for some great ideas! I am so glad you shared this on FromTheFarm...no surprise, it's another favorite! Hope to see you again this week!

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  17. What a great idea! I have never thought about shredding the veggies...perfect for soups!

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  18. I wonder how parsnips would do...they are my favorite. Thanks for the idea!

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