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August, 2013

Save Now and Enjoy Later
By Mark Mulcahy

Well, before you start enjoying today’s abundance you may want to start thinking about winter.

WatermelonsIf you find yourself sitting at the kitchen table grinning at the cornucopia of summer bounty that is filling your fruit bowl, you're probably not alone as it’s hard not to appreciate this gift of Melissa’s Organic summer goodness. You more that likely are trying to decide: do I eat fresh the Melissa’s organic cantaloupe or the watermelon for breakfast today? Or do I make another amazing tomato sandwich for lunch. You know the ones where tomato is the featured flavor cut into a ½ inch slice on your favorite bread with just a spread of mayo or hummus.

Well, before you start enjoying today’s abundance you may want to start thinking about winter. What? Winter? Why? Sorry for throwing a wrench into your late summer daydream but consider this. There is nothing like that Melissa’s organic summer tomato, berries, melon, or green bean taste to cure the wintertime blues.

And with the abundance come the best prices of the summer so doing some work now could bring very pleasant results in December.

No, you don’t have to take a canning or pickling class you can use your freezer to save some summer and it’s not as hard as you think.

TomatoesWhy not freeze some Melissa’s organic tomatoes for sauce. Try this technique I found at http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/freezing-tom... it’s easy and yields great results.

Freezing Tomatoes
Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed. Additionally, you can freeze them raw or cooked, as juice or sauce, or prepared in the recipe of your choice. Thawed raw tomatoes may be used in any cooked-tomato recipe. Do not try to substitute them for fresh tomatoes, however, since freezing causes their texture to become mushy. Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving rather than before freezing; freezing may either strengthen or weaken seasonings such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Preparation: Select firm, ripe tomatoes for freezing. Sort the tomatoes, discarding any that may have spoiled. Wash them in clean water. Dry them by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels: Prepare tomatoes as described above. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Honeydew MelonsNow that we have the main ingredient for our sauce covered how about some melons? Choose a favorite like Melissa’s Organic Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, Galia, and Orange Flesh Honeydew. And then use this freezing method I found at http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/freezing-tom...

Preparation – Select firm-fleshed, well-colored, ripe melons. Wash, then outer skin then cut in half, removes seeds and rind. Cut melons into slices, cubes or balls.

Freezer Pack – Pack into freezer stable containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

That taste of fresh summer will be a delight as autumn sorbet or even in smoothies.

And of course you’ll want some Melissa’s organic green beans this winter!

To freeze green beans - steam the green beans for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let them cool thoroughly before placing them in freezer bags and storing them in your freezer.

And Melissa’s Organic Blueberries for pancakes are a must!
  • To freeze blueberries, place fresh berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze them right from the container—be sure to not wash before freezing. If you find it hard to not wash your berries before you freeze then try this easy washing tip. Place in a colander and submerge two or three times in a sink full of cold water. Drain well.

  • Place them on an absorbent terry cloth towel and pat dry (very gently) before freezing.

  • Once frozen, transfer to a reseal able plastic bag and store.

Organic BananasWhile not a summer staple bananas will often turn quickly in the summer heat. Don’t fret they can be frozen for later use as well. It’s easy when you use these instructions from http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/freezing-tom...

Just pop them in the freezer, peel and all; or peel them, and then freeze them. Either way will work. If you decide to freeze your bananas in their peel, the peel will turn black; but it won't affect the bananas in the least.

With all this food saved wintertime is looking pretty good.

Now back to the decision about which Melissa’s organic summer fruit to eat for breakfast.