Thursday, July 23, 2009

Things You Can Do When You're Bored

With hubs and our son being out of town and visiting relatives in Minnesota, and our daughter staying another night at her grandmother's house, I came to realize that lazying about the house was not going to work. I'd feel way too guilty if I hadn't accomplished diddly squat by the time hubs comes home the first of August.
So tonight I did something that needed to be done anyways, and I had postponed doing for a few days:
Take Care Of That Surplus Garden Stock You've Been Meaning To Take Care Of
We had picked several vegetables from our garden a few days ago, and I picked even more Wednesday night after coming home from work (my first night flying solo). Joshua is always gung-ho to give things away left and right. As for me, I'm more inclined to hold onto it for dear life. I've already chopped and frozen several bell peppers, squash & zucchini. But still had the mentality that it wasn't enough.
I wanted to chop & freeze our most recent harvests, but simply had not found the time in the evenings to do so. Until tonight. I made time.

Our bounty was so much, I couldn't even get it all in one shot. The squash is still pouring out of our ears. It's crazy how much we've got. And the zucchini just keeps exploding in growth. One day we'll see a little baby zucchini. And a few days later, we see it's the size of a newborn baby when we go to harvest it.

The zucchini on the far right of the picture above is the absolute largest I have ever seen, larger than any we've grown thus far. Hard to tell in this picture, but please trust me, it's HUGE!!

Since our summer squash was so big, I decided to remove the seeds before freezing. They're too much like pumpkin seeds for regular cooking. Although, I could have set the seeds to the side and then baked them up like pumpkin seeds, but I decided against it this time. I just had too many veggies to cut up. One easy way to remove the seeds is to slice the squash into large sections. Then run your knife under the seeds. The texture of the squash surrounding the seeds is much different than the actual flesh, so it's fairly easy to cut them out. Just be careful not to let your knife slip.

Also chopped up all the bell pepper. I put about 1 cup of chopped bell pepper into a snack-size baggie, then loaded each baggie into a large freezer bag. That way, whenever I need some bell pepper, I can just pull out a baggie without having to hunt around in my freezer for some bell pepper. It's all there in the large freezer bag.

This is what I managed to chop up in about an hour. About half the summer squash and all the bell pepper. I could have kept on going, but that would have kept me from posting pictures. :)

I still have plenty more to cut up. I put the jalapenos into the fridge. I'll try to make Pepper Poppers tomorrow night, and then freeze those for hubs when he gets back from his road trip. I also harvested our first 2 sweet peppers tonight (lower right corner of above pic). I have no clue what to use them for. Hubs thought he planted bell pepper, but misread the tag on the the transplant. We didn't even know they were sweet peppers until a few nights ago when we took a closer look at them. I think I might saute' them with onion, tomato and garlic to make a homemade salsa, then freeze that. That's a project for tomorrow night, perhaps.
It felt great being productive tonight! I sure hate the thought of letting any of our home-grown veggies go to waste. Thankfully, we have the chest freezer that we can use to store extra goodies, such as freezing our surplus. I like knowing that I have vegetables on-hand for a future day down the road. Eventually, our squash & zucchini will give up...right? Maybe? Please?!! :)

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