Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday Link~up

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday link~up party!
Today I will be discussing the wisdom in growing and storing your own food.  I am not a prepper by nature.  Though I am not against it by any means!  If you know anything about me you probably know I am not a keeper.  I just can't do it.  Maybe it was all those years moving every few years because of my dad being in the Army.  I do have a slight storage of food but I can not keep things stocked.  I use what I have stocked and then I delight in planning and buying to stock it up again.  I can't help but savor making jam for the upcoming winter and delighting in every single jar down to the last one.  If I never got to the last one because I had a storage for the next 5 years I think I would go mad!  If that sounds crazy welcome to my brain.
I do enjoy gardening.  I also enjoy harvesting and storing for the winter. I love soups and stews in the winter and there is no better way to add the healthy benefits of greens then to freeze them in the summer and add them straight to the pot.
Swiss chard is FULL of antioxidants.  However to help your body absorb antioxidants and minerals you should blanch them. Leafy greens contain oxalic acid. Oxalic acid interferes with the absorption of minerals so by blanching swiss chard you are reducing the effect.  Which is what you need to do to freezer swiss chard anyways!  You can also treat spinach and beet greens this way. 

I like to let mine grow big leaves.  The stalks get longer and I think I get two different ways to use them this way.  Then when I harvest I just make it a day by pulling up the whole plant cutting the leaves from the stalk and keeping them separate. 

Bring a big pot of water to a boil.

Run a sink full of cold water and wash the greens after the stalks have been cut off.

Keep the stalks for recipe below.

 Add greens to pot of boiling water.  Boil the greens for 3 minutes.  While you are waiting fill the sink back up again with clean cold water.  After the 3 minutes place the greens in the sink of water.  I like to keep the greens whole so that this part is easier to fish out of the boiling water.  If they were cut before hand you would have tiny pieces to drain and then wait to fill the sink.
After they are cooled off drain them and cut them.

Place them in a freezer bag according to whatever portions your family will use.

Leave a little bit open on the side and squeeze out excess water.  I suggest not taking a picture because as you look away you will continue to squeeze leaving a water mess all over the counter. 

Mark your bag with contents and the date.  That way if you decide to do a fall planting you will know what bags to use first.  And who can tell the difference between spinach and swiss chard in the freezer?

Now what to do with all of those stalks?  Compost?  Maybe but first try this and see if you like it.  Heat the oven to 400 and cut the bigger stalks in half.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  We stuffed our tacos with them along with some beef and peppers. 

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