How I got here and How to Freeze those Greens

First off, thank you, thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! If you know me you probably know that cooking healthy, delicious meals for my family has been my passion for many years. After recently creating the Fresh Mamas Cooking Club with my friend Dawn, I saw how eager other families are to learn more about local produce and incorporate fresh veggies into their diet. Between this and all the encouragement from friends and family I finally decided to "put it out there" and share my passion.

So, you may be wondering what I'm going to write about here. What does Lil have to say that isn't covered in the gazillion food blogs out there already? If you are reading this you probably 1. Already know me and are just checking out the link I posted on my FB page or 2. Heard about my blog and are excited to see what awesome recipes and food tips I will be posting (hopefully if you are here for reason #1, you will now come back for reason #2!). If you heard about my blog from a friend/my FB page/Pinterest/or somewhere online you are probably interested in cooking healthy, delicious meals for your family, too.

My journey started about five years ago, when we moved from the mid-west back to New England where my husband and I grew up. My first summer here, I decided to join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  I was thrilled picking up my big box of fresh veggies every week, felt good about feeding my family organic, local, produce -- but, to be honest, I wasted a lot of it. Although I have always loved to cook,  I wasn't quite sure what to do with all those greens, tomatillos, kohlrabi, beets, chard, turnips... I was feeding our 2 little boys, myself and my husband, and no matter how hard I tried, it seemed we could never eat it all before something went bad. I found there were always a few items in each pickup that I had no idea what to do with and even though we already ate a variety of vegetables, some of it seemed a bit too foreign. At times, it was overwhelming, but I wanted to continue my CSA membership -- I was determined to cook delicious recipes my family would eat and store any produce we wouldn't immediately consume.

Over the past few years, I have worked hard to come up with creative, delicious, easy ways to put all that beautiful bounty to good use. I now belong to a year-round, organic CSA and spend a few hours each week preparing and storing the fruits and veggies in my share. I do have to sneak some of it into my kids meals, but overall I think they are "good" eaters. I'm a firm believer that there is no comparison to fresh produce! My younger son wouldn't eat vegetables at all (well except onions of all things!) until we started getting our veggies from the CSA and growing our own vegetable garden. Now he is quite adventurous and even surprises me with the new things he will try.

As you follow me on this journey, you will see that my family eats pretty much anything. No special diets here. We do keep the processed junk food to a minimum and there are definitely a few things you will never see in my grocery cart. Just like every family, we do what works for us. You won't hear me saying you have to stick to all whole grains or never eat sugar or meat or eggs or dairy or whatever... Because, we love it all!

Now, I am not perfect, some weeks there is still the stray piece of kale, or cabbage, or lettuce, or potato that never makes it to the plate or the freezer, but I try my best. I not only look forward to sharing my own recipes and food tips, but also hearing how other families are incorporating fresh, local, produce into their meals. I hope you will join me on this journey -- and enjoy every minute of it!

How to Freeze those Greens!
One item that is guaranteed to be in your CSA box quite frequently are an assortment of greens. This was probably the number one item that ended up in the compost when I first joined a CSA. Some weeks I would get more greens than we could eat fresh. So I learned how to freeze them! Once frozen, they are good in the freezer for about 6 months and you can add them to soups, sauté, or use them in any recipe which calls for frozen spinach (chard is my favorite substitute for frozen spinach!)
Mustard Greens
1. Put a big pot of water over high heat and prepare
a large bowl with ice water for a water bath

Swiss Chard
 2. Remove leaves from stems and coarsely chop
3. When water comes to a boil. Toss all the greens in for 2-3 mins.
  • 2 mins for more delicate greens (chard, kale, mustard greens)
  • 3 mins for tougher greens (collards, turnip greens)
4. Once the greens have blanched the appropriate time, scoop out of hot water with a slotted spoon and place in ice water bath until cooled

 5. Once cooled, squeeze all the water out and shape into balls using measuring cup. I like to freeze mine in 1 cup batches for easy measuring
6. Drain on kitchen towel for 5- 10 mins and then place in freezer bag large enough to keep the 1 cup portions separate from freezing to one another.
Make sure to label what is in there because they all look the same when frozen! Take it from me, you do not want to be nibbling on little pieces of frozen greens trying to determine what is in the bag!


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