I don't know about you, but my favorite food is in season during the spring and the summer. Fruits and vegetables are super fresh, the legumes and beans are scrumptious and the herbs make everything taste so much better.
Unfortunately, because weather changes and the seasons change, you can't buy spring and summer produce all year long. But be thankful for your freezer; you can preserve a majority of fruits, vegetables and beans and enjoy them during the fall and winter.
Here are five farmers' market products that hold up well in the freezer, so you can enjoy them all year long.
Peaches are growing rapidly in Texas during April, so now is the time to grab a bunch of them and stick them in the freezer. Pick ripe sweet peaches, which are the ones that easily split from the pit -- if you would eat it at that moment, then it is perfect for freezing. In order to keep the peaches fresh, freeze them with a sugar-and-water mixture or with fruit juice. This helps preserve the color of peaches and keeps them firm and sweet. Use about one cup of a sugar-water solution per quart of peaches. Keep them in the freezer to enjoy peach cobblers, peach ice cream and simple peaches-and-cream desserts throughout the fall and winter.
4. Snap Beans
Throughout the summer, my family and I almost always have green beans, or snap beans, with every dinner. They are so fresh, crunchy and delicious that we can't say no to a side dish of green beans. To freeze green beans, wash them, cut the ends off, then blanch and cool them before stuffing them into a bag to freeze. Enjoy fresh spring snap beans after the summer season is over.
After you wash and drain your blackberries, you're ready to freeze them to use throughout the fall and winter in cobblers or jams or rolled up into sweet rolls. Keep them in a vacuum-sealed Ziploc bag after you freeze them flat overnight in a tub. There's nothing better than juicy, fresh blackberries, so you should be able to enjoy them all year.
2. Creamer Peas
Whenever my mom and I visit the farmers' market during the summer, we always buy an extra bag or two of creamer peas, which are shelled field peas that taste wonderful when cooked with ham or bacon and are a great accompaniment with barbecue or any other Southern meal. Wash the creamer peas, then discard the ones that float to the top or are obviously discolored, then lay them in a single layer on a dry dish towel until completely dried, then put them in a vacuum-sealed Ziploc bag to freeze.
I have vivid memories of sitting on the kitchen counter with my mom and eating through a whole box of fresh cherries during the summer when I was little. This is definitely one of the best parts of the summer to me. To freeze cherries, rinse and dry ripe cherries, pit them (save the juice), then lay them flat on a baking sheet with their juice to freeze overnight, then put them in a plastic blag to freeze completely. Make delicious smoothies, cobblers, pies or just eat them as they are during the fall and winter.
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