I just love this time of year. Feeling full of energy and creativity is always a great way to live.
Not sure if it is the change in weather or perhaps millions of colours the leafs are starting to turn into, which make the world so much more beautiful. Or maybe because there is so much fresh, local produce at the markets (with my absolutely favourite fresh walnuts just round the corner).
It is probably all the above.
This week I was stuck trying to figure out one of the major dilemmas of life: what’s for dinner? As I contemplated options, I noticed we have been missing a good soup on our menu for a while. So I decided to make one with whatever ingredients I had in the fridge and out in the backyard. I have to say – experiment of adding a hint of homegrown tomatoes and herbs to a cabbage soup was a success. However, as I was dicing my veggies and potatoes (which I hate doing just as much as Jamie Oliver hates peeling garlic) I came up with an idea, which should save me a lot of trouble next time.
Yes, dicing is still involved (blah!), but I think for some versions shredding or slicing using mommy’s best helper (aka: KitchenAid) may work even better.
So here we go. Freezing veggies.
Most of us know that freezing is the best way to preserve nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables. We usually have a bag or two of those tucked away in the freezer. But my idea is to make blends of veggies that can be used during the cold weeks of winter as quick and healthy fixes. Most veggies freeze really well. If you need some tips on how to prepare produce for freezing, check out this site.
Soups for example. If you dice your carrots, celery, onions, peas and other ingredients for the soup of your choice, you can freeze them as a set labelling it as “vegetable soup base” for example. Put your herbs for seasoning in another small bag and freeze it all together. Vacuum sealing is an awesome way to keep it fresh for months, as it prevents freezer burns. It was one of the best investments I’ve made for my kitchen, for sure. Not only you save the nutrients, you also save the money by buying and freezing veggies at the peak of their seasonal ripeness. Later on, just bring a pot of stock to a boil, throw in the content of your “soup d’jour bag” in, ad some pasta or potatoes (hey, I am not judging ya!) and you have family dinner ready in less than 20 minutes.
Yes, I am aware that there are tons of frozen bags for steaming, cooking or baking, but those bags you’ll make will be unique and best part is (at least for me that is the key) – you will know exactly what went into them.
Play with ingredients. Here is just one idea of a soup that should freeze well as ingredients (from Family Fresh Cooking):
Other meals, like a stir-fry, can also be a perfect marriage with your frozen veggies. Simply make a bag with veggies you’d normally put in your stir-fry, label it, freeze it and voila!
I won’t even mention decadent smoothies filled with beautiful fruits you preserve that will instantly light up your winter day with all the goodness of sunshine that made them ripe and juicy!
Broccoli, Cauliflower and Avocado Soup >>