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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Garden Bounty

I have spent the morning fire roasting vegetables from my garden. We have tomatoes, jalapenos  and carrots right now. I have not been happy with the tomato cages we have this year. The plants fell over and we have had many rot on the ground. So frustrating. The ones we have saved will become tomato sauce for pasta or chili (with the jalapenos). I don't know how to can, and the whole idea scares me. I'm afraid that I will end up killing someone. I choose to freeze  instead.

 The carrots are a different story. I really don't know exactly what to do with them. My plan was to cut them up and freeze them for soups and stews this winter. My friends, Dawn and Kelley, who's mothers actually did this type of thing remember there is more to it than that.

They remember their mothers cleaning and peeling and blanching them before freezing them. Suddenly my quick clean and chop idea got a little more complicated.

I thought long and hard about these beautiful and kind of strange looking carrots. I started thinking about the blanching process. What is blanching? It is a partial cooking process. So, do I actually have to blanch them, or can I just partially cook them? Hmmmm.

Well, I decided that a partial cooking of any sort seemed like it could work. Home grown carrots, for whatever reason are more bitter than the ones you get in the store. I don't know why, but they are. Blanching may help to remove some of this bitterness, but I wondered if you also ended up losing a little flavor in the process. I thought about roasting them in the oven. Roasting helps develop the sugars, I thought that should help to take the bitterness away, right?

We haven't had to have the air conditioner on for about a week now. I love that. I didn't want to run the oven and heat up the house. I didn't want to have to turn on the air. I was going to fire roast the tomatoes and jalapenos on the grill anyway, why not the carrots? Not only will it develop the sugars, but it will add a smokiness that will be good in soups and stews. Well, that's my theory anyway. I suppose if this fire roasting and then freezing thing was a good idea, Bobby Flay would have done it years ago. Still going to give it a go. I'll let you know this winter if it worked out.

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