Sunday, November 8, 2009
Summer Peppers and Onions for Delicious Winter Recipes
For years, I hit the final harvest jackpot with armloads of veggies that exceeded our family's immediate needs so I gave them away - even tossed a few that were forgotten and left to shrivel - only to find myself a few weeks into winter stuck at the supermarket BUYING the same veggies, either fresh or frozen. It was frustrating! Here I was, Little Miss Buy Fresh Buy Local, spending money on peppers flown a thousand miles to get to me - or bagged for an unknown length of time in a freezer section. I was determined to find a change.
http://www.growitalian.com/). At season's end, there are plenty of peppers fully red and also lots of green/orange young peppers still trying to ripen. I chop all of these into quarter inch bits and combine with an equal amount of well-chopped onions. Although our onions keep well through the winter, it is so terrific to have the onion/pepper combo frozen and ready - this was one of those "pre-made" items I used to grab in the grocery store. No blanching is needed. A cup of the pepper/onion mix fits perfectly into a snack-sized, zip&store baggie. Once frozen, a good "whack" on the counter loosens all the pieces so you can grab a pinch or the entire cup easily. We use them on pizza, omeletes, soups, casseroles.... The going price on the one cup containers or pre-chopped peppers/onions in the grocery store is about $2.50 and rising. I save about 45 of these in our freezer in very little space. Savings? About $112.00.
We also slice the peppers into long strips about 1/2" wide. Toss the strips with a little good olive oil and some herbs (rosemary, basil, garlic, oregano) and roast them in a low oven (about 300) for an hour or so until the herbs have baked in. Some cooks like to broil them for a second to get a blackened edge. I don't peel mine, our pepper varieties don't have a very thick skin. These are then frozen in snack-sized bags and saved for recipes that specify roasted peppers. Delicious!
So, what other creative ideas have other gardeners come up with for the last, precious summer veggie harvests?