With summer in full swing (I won’t even mention that is almost half over now), I want to pass on some ideas on how to make the most of your fresh fruits and vegetables that are at times overwhelming in our amazing Okanagan gardens and fresh local markets, like Quality Greens, at this time of year. This is also a great way to pack (aka sneak) more good whole foods into your meals.
Our local and truly fresh and incredibly nutritious and delicious produce found at markets like Quality Greens is at its peak for you to enjoy. Let’s go over how make the most of these foods, knowing that you are giving your cells the best resources to function optimally when you add more whole foods into your snacks and meals.
By buying large amounts of fruits and veggies, you can wash (peel if needed) and freeze for fall, which can be a time when we have less fresh local options. If you are a real “canning” type of person, that is great. I love canning with friends, but I have yet to take that on in my own kitchen. There are ways for us who can’t quite commit to the full canning process, yet. I hope to inspire a few of you to just do some simple chop and freeze suggestions.
Suggestion #1 - VERY simple - take scraps from your day to day veggies - saving peelings of carrots, onion, asparagus ends, kale spines, celery tops/bottoms, anything you would normally compost - wash well and put into a container in the freezer. When cool fall weather comes along, pull those scraps out and make a nice batch of real veggie broth. Toss in some garlic, salt, pepper, and any other spices you like. This is the cheapest and cleanest healthy veggie broth you will ever find. So simple! You can make litres of it and freeze or keep in the fridge for a few days while you use it up in homemade soups, or use for your rice or quinoa cooking water for added nutrients and flavour. It iterally takes only minutes of time.
Suggestion #2 - Tomatoes - ranging from the very simple of just chopping and freezing as is. Note - this way it will have the peel so may be slightly annoying to some, but can use immersion blender or in recipes like chilli to not notice the peel bits as much. Or, you can blanch and remove the peel - a bit more work but not too much. I like to make a few batches of cooked tomatoes for nice fall tomato-based soups or chilli or spaghetti sauce, etc. Again pretty simple and nice to have your own fresh tomatoes. It’s nice to add basil, garlic, onion for flavours right off the bat. Lots of recipes to google on how to do this very easily. Cooked tomatoes have many healthy aspects, especially for prostate health, but first confirm if they aggravate arthritis pain, as many nightshades like tomatoes can.
Suggestion #3 - Kale! Kale freezes great for adding into smoothies for that “green” boost as well as adding to warm fall meals like chilli where it hides so nicely. Kale is a great source of fibre and lots of Vitamin A, C and other nutrients which help with immune support and other health benefits. To freeze, just wash and cut the spine off and chop into smaller pieces and freeze. Save those spines for the veggie broth above. Also, our dog loves frozen kale “sticks” from the freezer as a dog treat.
Storing solution - I love to use the 1 litre mason jars for the tomatoes and veggie broths to store in the freezer. You can find these jars anywhere - even at second hand stores, garage sales, etc. Sanitize and use white BPA free plastic lids. Put away in the freezer and enjoy in the fall.
Have a great week!