Do You Have Leftover Fruits and Vegetables?

By Brianna Bowlan, Seacoast Eat Local intern

Do you have an abundance of fruits and vegetables left from the Farmer’s Markets, or your own garden and don’t know how to keep them for the fall? Have you ever considered freezing them? Freezing fruits and vegetables is a great way to retain their freshness, nutrient content and they won’t go to waste.

raspberries

You can freeze peas, asparagus, green beans, strawberries, cherries, peaches, etc. The best way to freeze your vegetables is to blanch them first (generally, fruit does not need to be blanched). Blanching is the process of cooking the vegetable and then placing it in ice water to terminate the cooking. This process slows the loss of nutrients and keeps the vegetables more vibrant in color. Next, prep the food and place into a freezer-safe container; Make sure they are not touching each other. After completely frozen, place them into a heavy-duty freezer bag and get as much air out of it as you can. Put them back into the freezer, until you are ready to use them. More details on this process >

When the harsh New England winter hits us, you can still have fresh fruit and vegetables that are full of nutrients and flavor. It’s a nice way to have a little piece of summer while you buried deep in snow.

640px-Kale-Bundle

 

Sources:

Johnson, Abigail. “How to Freeze 20 Fruits and Vegetables.” Fine Cooking. Seacoast Eat Local, n.d. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

Photos: Kale, Ali Express

Savor the Season: A Food Preservation Weekend, October 2 – 4

2014_08-Garden-and-orchard-at-Blueberry-CoveMountains of produce at the end of the gardening season? Learn to preserve it at Savor the Season – A Food Preservation Weekend at Blueberry Cove Camp, a fun-filled fall weekend learning traditional home food preservation methods hosted by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, October 2 – 4, 2015:

Savor the Season: A Food Preservation Weekend
UMaine Cooperative Extension and Master Food Preserver volunteers
Location: Blueberry Cove 4-H Camp & Learning Center, 22 Blueberry Cove Road, Tenants Harbor, ME
Dates: Friday, October 2 – Sunday, October 4, 2015
Cost: $325 (includes lodging and meals)

Savor the Season is a weekend event devoted to learning the latest, USDA-recommended methods and techniques of home food preservation. The focus will be on using local, seasonal ingredients and produce from the gardens and orchard at Blueberry Cove Camp and other local purveyors. The weekend features three educational programs, two on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. These programs will include topics and demonstrations which range from making jam to drying fruits for leathers to canning salsas. Handouts will be included.

There is a social hour to meet and gather with other members of the group before dinner on Friday night and Saturday night. Meals include breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. A highlight of the weekend, these homemade meals will feature locally grown, raised, and produced fruits and veggies, meats, cheeses, breads, and other seasonal delights.

For more information: http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/savortheseason/

Preserving Your Produce

By Caitlin Porter, Seacoast Eat Local Intern

With summer upon us, and temperatures rising, local produce is as abundant as ever. Tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, greens, beets, radishes, and many more fruits and vegetables are available at the markets and farm stands. However, it is easy to get carried away when shopping (or berry picking!) and end up with more produce than you know what to do with. Preserving your produce is a great way to be cost-effective and save money by not throwing away spoiled produce.

Produce is not shelf stable and will go bad relatively quickly. There are many ways to preserve fruits and vegetables so that you can enjoy them during their off season, or when you begin to run low. Preserving food through canning, freezing, and dehydrating can make it last much longer while preserving the amazing flavors and nutrients.

Here are the basics:

Canning includes making jams, preserves, jellies and pickling. There tends to be a concern for food safety with canning but there is no reason to worry if you follow a recipe and take the necessary steps. Start with the Home Canning Guide and find plenty of tested recipes at the National Center for Home Food Preservation

canning

Freezing is, in my opinion, the easiest method of preservation. However, not all things can just be placed in the freezer. For example, many greens need to be blanched before freezing. Following this guide will show you how to freeze and then thaw your fresh produce. Frozen berries are a great addition to yogurt and smoothies!

Photo courtesy flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/joe57spike/5707168747/
Photo by Joe Lodge

Dehydrating (drying) is the process of removing water from a food. This is a great method because dehydrated foods require no refrigeration. This guide has great info on how to prep foods for dehydrating, as well as 3 methods: natural sunlight, oven, and electric dehydrator. Kale chips are a great snack for the whole family!

kale

Sources:

https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/348/348-597/348-597.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/canning.aspx

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_freeze_veg.pdf

MOFGA’s Farm & Homestead Day, June 13

F&H-Day-CollageMOFGA’s Farm & Homestead Day: A Hands-on Skill Sharing Event
Location: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Unity, ME
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Time: 9am – 3pm, rain or shine
Fee: Free and open to the public

Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA is a free, volunteer-driven event offering hands-on workshops based on re-skilling for resiliency. If you’re thinking of trying to raise goats for the first time or just want to learn how to make a fence, this is the place to be. The ever-popular fiber-arts area will feature spinning, weaving, carding, and felting, as well as treadle sewing machines. Other workshops this year include splicing rope, tying knots, making round poles, scarfing wood joints, riveting, goat-milking, cheese-making, blacksmithing, knife sharpening, and much more! Please bring a dish to share for the Potluck Picnic Lunch– and something to add to the Stone Soup Kettle (fresh or dry ingredients).

Come dressed to participate and ready to get your hands dirty! 

Bring family and friends! Many activities are kid-friendly or specifically for kids. Learn skills that will allow you to throw off the shackles of consumer dependency and be more self-reliant. Gates open at 7 a.m. for sunrise mowing.
 No pre-registration necessary.

For more information: www.mofga.org

Planting a Preserving Garden, April 28

thumbnailPlanting a Preserving Garden
UMaine Cooperative Extension
Location: Kittery Adult Education, Traip Academy, 12 Williams Ave., Kittery, ME
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Time: 6–8pm
Fee: $15, pre-registration

Early spring is the perfect time to plan your garden with growing food for preserving in mind. Come learn from University of Maine Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers and Master Gardeners how to plant a preserving garden. Participants will learn the best produce varieties for canning, how much to plant for your household size, and other tips to maximize yield and overall garden health.

For more information: https://maineadulted.coursestorm.com/kittery/course/planting-a-preserving-garden

From Scratch: Herbal Seasonings, April 18

From Scratch: Herbal Seasonings
Betz Golon, Herbalist and UMaine Master Food Preserver
Location: University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County 75 Clearwater Dr, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME
Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015
Time: 10am – 1pm
Fee: $40

Betz Golon is the herbalist at Common Folk Farm, where she creates herbal blends and seasonings. Betz has served as the herbalist for Shaker Village in New Gloucester for over twenty years. Betz will show how to “salt” herbs, create herb pastes, dehydrate vegetable/herb blends and produce beverages all from the home garden. Everyone will participate in demonstrations and leave with recipes and samples.

For more information: http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/from-scratch-your-maine-kitchen/

Master Food Preserver Program — Now Accepting Applications

remsberg_11081030753-250x166Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver! The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is now accepting 2015 Master Food Preserver Application. Any Maine resident 21 years or older is eligible to take the Master Food Preserver course. The application deadline is May 1, 2015. All applicants will be informed of selection status by May 22, 2015.

Master Food Preserver Volunteers serve to extend UMaine Extension’s education programs in food preservation to adults and youth. This program includes 10 three-hour kitchen lab sessions throughout the growing season from June – September held in Falmouth and Gorham focusing on food preservation techniques including canning, drying, freezing, fermenting and winter storage techniques. After successful completion of the program, graduates serve at least 20 hours as Master Food Preserver volunteer resources in the community to provide the public with research-based information from UMaine Extension and USDA.

For more information: http://umaine.edu/food-health/food-preservation/master-food-preservers/

Growing & Preserving, February 26

thumbnailGrowing & Preserving
with Michelle McCarthy, Sanford Community Adult Education
Venue: 21 Bradeen Street, Suite 201, Springvale, ME
Date: Thursdays, February 26, March 5 & 12, 2015
Time: 6:30-8pm
Fee: $39, pre-register

It’s not rocket science! So you’ve been thinking of growing some of your own vegetables… or you have signed up for a CSA share… or you’ve been eyeing those gorgeous veggies at the local farmers’ market and you want to take advantage of stocking up on them when they are IN SEASON. Now what? However you get your veggies, you can’t eat them all at once, so you need to come up with a plan to preserve them for later or give them away, or worst case… you’ll eventually compost them ;-( If you’re afraid you won’t know what to do with your harvest, and truly HATE wasting those beautiful, delicious, nutritious veggies… join me for an overview of lessons learned. My husband and I started outwith a CSA share and now we grow a very large number of vegetables on a very very small plot of land. We’ve learned a lot about square foot gardening, trellising, blanching/freezing, dehydrating, canning, lacto fermenting, and good old fashioned root cellaring. We’ve learned a lot about bugs, organic pesticides, soil, composting – and much more. You’ll be inspired! Join me for this 3 session class and I’ll share what we’ve learned so you can get started.

For more information: https://maineadulted.coursestorm.com/sanford/course/growing-preserving

Seacoast Food Swap at Joinery, February 16

10351681_1545517469018612_575454578768916139_nThe next Seacoast Food Swap takes place at Joinery Restaurant on Monday, February 16th (President’s day) at 7pm — come swap, talk, and drink some fine drinks:

Seacoast Food Swap
Venue: Joinery Restaurant, Newmarket, NH
Date: Monday, February 16, 2015
Time: 7–8pm
Fee: Free

A food swap is part silent auction/part village marketplace/part fun-loving open house where your homemade edible creations (breads, preserves, special concoctions, canned goods, etc.) become your own personal currency for use in swapping with other participants. We welcome everyone, as long as you bring something edible that you made, grew, or foraged yourself.

On the day of the swap, please bring your hand crafted goods and arrive promptly at the start time. The first half-hour of the event is dedicated to swapper sign-in and set-up, and we’ll begin swapping once everyone’s settled in. If you have any questions whatsoever, please send a private message or an email to seacoastfoodswap@gmail.com.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/446105802211905/

From Scratch: From the Maine Wild

Moose-100x100University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County announces a new series called “From Scratch: Your Maine Kitchen” offered on Saturdays, 10 am to 1 pm monthly between November 2014 to October 2015. A unique taste of Maine from a variety of local food sources to excite your appetite, the series will kick off with “From the Maine Wild” on Saturday, November 15th:

From Scratch: From the Maine Wild
University of Maine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Dr, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME
Saturday, November 15, 2014
10am – 1pm

What spices to use and how much to enhance the natural flavor of the game meats? Come find out. Black Fly Stew cookbook author, Kate Gooding will lead the workshop on cooking venison, moose, beaver and goose. Kate will prepare “Burgundian Beaver Stew” and participants will sample the recipe for lunch.

Kate Gooding has vast experience in the hospitality industry and has done cooking demonstrations of Maine inspired dishes on WCSH 207 “In the Kitchen”, the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern”, and many others. Gooding has written several cookbooks: Black Fly Stew: Wild Maine Recipes, Simple Gourmet Lamb with Side Dishes and Wine Pairings, 50 Ways to Eat a Beaver, and Free-Range Fish & Lobster. Her next cookbook in the Black Fly Stew series, Cook Local-Spice Global, will carry a local and international flavor.

UMaine Extension Master Food Preserver, Karyn Small from Butcher Boys Deer Cutting in Bowdoin Center will give tips on best food preservation practices for game.

Instructors: Kate Gooding, Author of Black Fly Stew cookbook, and Karyn Small, UMaine Extension Master Food Preserver and Butcher Boys Deer Cutting in Bowdoin Center.

For more information: http://umaine.edu/cumberland/programs/from-scratch-your-maine-kitchen/