Sunday, June 28, 2009

Blanching....

This is actually new to me. I have only started canning and freezing things..since the birth of Lilly. I am very blessed to have those in my life that have lots of knowledge on how to do both and I have a love of reading..which also helps fill in the gaps. When I put my mind to something and really want to do it...I will jump head first in. I like to find out all the info I can by searching on the web, finding forums, devouring every book about it in the library, or asking questions from those I know that are good at it. So my blanching lesson has come from my father in law. This is his way of doing it.

Now the reason I prefer to blanch Vs. just freezing them in the bag is taste. To me, with peas, when you take them straight from the field and then just freeze them..they have a overwhelming "green" taste to me. Blanching them actually takes some of that "green" taste out of them.

First, you will want to wash them and then put them on a boil in a big pot.

Second, wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, roughly, and they will start to foam. Once they foam and turn a sort of bright green color..they are ready for the cooling process.

I use a regular noodle strainer. You may also fill your sink up with just cold water or cold water and ice cubes. That's one way you can shock them. That freezes their cooking state at that point and helps in keeping their bright color. I like to put them in the strainer and run cold water over them with the spray gun..I turn occasionally. This will also cool them down so you can put them in freezer bags and not have to worry about them melting.

Third, I fill up one quart freezer bags...just over the date label. My father in law gave us one bushel which roughly comes out to an eight pound bag(here a eight pd bag of peas will run you about 25.00. Due to seed, laborers to pick them, and such going up this year my father in law had go from 22.00 a bag to 25.00.) It took only two boils to get them finish...so that is about an hour. Once filled in the freezer bags..you should have about six of them. These are white peas or I guess similar(maybe they are? Sorry I do not know my peas..lol) to field peas. These had no snaps..I am going to buy a bag from his next crop and get snaps in those. Father in law was nice enough to bless us with this bushel for free since Barry sold some at work for him and that's just the way my father in law is:) So you can have them as a side or even a whole meal. If you have them as a whole meal...we have them with ham hocks, jiffy corn bread muffins(this is a sweet corn bread and super cheap to buy/easy to make), and sliced tomatoes from the farmer's market....maybe even fry up a squash to go on the side. If you like squash and have never friend it..then here's a good recipe: Just take flour, salt, pepper, and paprika(just a smidgen...it's only if you want it..this is just something I came up with.)..mix together. Then in a separate bowl you can use milk or water as the glue to hold the flour. Just dunk the sliced squash into it and then fry in vegetable oil.
Now look what I found!! I noticed that all my salt was gone in the kitchen and couldn't figure it out. Well, I have a play kitchen set up in there for Doots. So when I cook she can pretend to cook too. I accidentally knocked over the kitchen and look what fell out....all my missing salt!! So that is definitely a mess to clean. Maybe her little oven caught fire and she was trying to outen it..lol. You have to love the Doots.

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