Summer is coming to an end, and so is the first season I've put an effort in preserving the harvest. It's been a learning process and a revelation as to the amount of stamina it takes to really put by enough food for winter. I didn't even come close to hitting that mark, but now there's a better understanding of what it would take. My hat is off to our grandparents and all the ancestors before us who danced to the annual rhythm of sowing, growing, and preserving food. It's truly and art. And a marathon.
One of the last tastes of summer to tuck away are the peppers and chilies. To preserve extra bell peppers for later use in dishes like simple chili, refried beans, and spaghetti sauce, I simply chop the tops off, de-seed, cut them into fourths, and give them a whirl in the food processor.
I chopped three peppers this time around, so I'm dividing it into thirds and freezing them in individual containers. When a recipe calls for a minced bell pepper, I grab one of these guys from the freezer and plop it in the pot, already nicely minced and harvested in-season.
After making several batches of salsa verde, there are still serranos and jalapeños that need to be rescued from going bad, so I followed the first part of the same procedure as the bell peppers. You can de-seed these smaller guys but you don't have to. I just chopped the tops off and called it good.
I keep track of how many chilies (or peppers) I'm mincing, then they are divided into however many were just processed, gently pressed down into an ice cube tray, and frozen in one-chili-sized cubes.
Once they are frozen, they're put into an air-tight container (this is what I use and love) and stored in the freezer for whenever I'd like to add a bit of summer's heat to a dish.
I also freeze pesto in ice cube trays and use them for turkey pesto pasta, as pizza sauce, in soups, or anything I want tasting pesto-ish.
Have you done any preserving this year, or tried any new methods? I'd love to hear about your success stories and save them to pull out for next year. Happy harvesting and preserving, friends! Before we know it, we'll be sipping hot tea by the wood stove again. Bliss!