Labor Day is a transition time for all of us. The nights are getting cooler and the summer garden is starting to look a little crispy so it is time to get the fall garden planted. My husband and I have a Labor Day tradition of making salsa with the last of the local tomatoes to last until next summer. This is the time to save up a little bit of summer for winter and spring. Some of the things we have done include freezing peaches from the farmer’s market as well as raspberries from our garden. We also made pesto and froze it also. Nothing tastes better than some pesto from your garden in December! We are also making some fresh made green salsa made from tomatillos from our garden and I hope to can a few more local tomatoes into spaghetti sauce and just whole to use in chili and soups. If you have a dehydrator, you can dry some tomatoes or fruit. Canning, drying or freezing a few items is a great way to support the local economy and lower your environmental footprint because it reduces the miles that your food travels to you and when you get food from the farmer’s markets, most of the foods are grown in more sustainable ways.
Saving for the season
Even if you can’t do enough to last the whole winter, every little bit helps. Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season is a wonderful book with a lot of great ideas to inspire you! You can find out more information on his cookbook and blog at www.savingtheseason.com
He has a lot of information on “jams, fruit preserves, pickles and other briny things, canned vegetables and condiments such as relishes, sauces and salsas”. Winter Sun Farms
If you want to eat local throughout the winter, another great way is to become a member of the Winter Sun Farms CSA which is part of the Blue Ridge Food Ventures who partners with sustainable, local farms to get the freshest produce available. Local foods in the summer are frozen during their peak. Each CSA member comes to the AB Enka campus or a few other locations to pick up monthly. Sometimes they also have some special surprises each month which include a bag of Western North Carolina sweet potatoes and greens and local eggs. One of their slogan’s is: “From their farms, to our freezer, to your table.”
Farm to Freezer Idea
If you are looking for an easy way to save a little summer for winter, try freezing some fresh local berries. Right now, raspberries and wild blueberries are available but you better hurry because like the leaves on the trees, they will be gone real soon. They are super easy to do and they will be great for smoothies and fruit crisps a few months from now. Just stem, wash, dry and then I freeze mine on a baking sheet with parchment paper and then put them in freezer bags. Having some local berries that you froze yourself will be tastier than anything you can purchase at the store and can be more economical also.
Wild Blueberries from the Mountains of North Carolina