Seal it Up

With all the veggies my husband and I produce each summer in our garden, it’s hard to keep up and eat them all ourselves. When our friends and neighbors stopped saying hi (and started locking their cars) for fear of being saddled with a bag of assorted garden veggies, we decided that we should start saving our extra bounty for the colder months. In the past we just used freezer bags to keep the veggies sort of free of freezer burn for a little while. While the ice crystals on freezer burned green beans could be considred beautiful in the correct light, they are far from appetizing.

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Here is what green beans look like after spending the winter vacationing in the freezer in a ziplock bag…

So, to fix this problem, my husband purchased a fancy vacuum sealer food saver. I’m sure you’ve seen these on infomercials or even in some retail stores. We thought it would be a whole lot easier to save veggies, fish, etc. without it going bad and having to throw it out. Plus the veggies we would accumulate would also come in handy for homemade healthy baby food!

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Crook necks/zucchini

So far we have been able to vacuum seal a lot of chard, kale, zucchini, crookneck and even a couple of blue grouse (not from the garden) for this winter. It isn’t difficult to use – reading the manual and internet searching are a good way to get started, but here a couple of hard earned tips if you are inclined to try saving summer excess with a vacuum sealer:
First, before throwing a whole squash into a vacuum sealer bag, cut it up and blanch (had to look that one up, but it is basically boiling for a couple minutes) the veggies before sealing (this goes for leafy veggies too). Second, put the blanched veggies on a cookie sheet in the freezer until they are well frozen – this way the bags will seal without excess juice getting sucked up by the vacuum and interfering with the seal.

I won’t say what brand/model sealer we are using (seems like a personal choice, and I don’t want to interfere, but it is pretty obvious from the picture below), but I will say that using a sealer is easy and highly recommended – almost as fast as using a ziplock, but way better than pretending freezer burned veggies taste almost like fresh.
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Have you ever used a vacuum sealer for food?

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