Thursday, October 3, 2013

Onions, Carrots and Leeks! Oh my!

Since rain is predicted, by the weatherman AND my asthma, the family helped me last night to harvest the onions, carrots and leeks.  Today I am working on getting them put up.

Onions are pretty easy in that I just wash them, chop them up and freeze them.  Yes, there are tears.  Lots of them.  But I chop them all at once and it's done.  Once they're chopped, I put them in a Ziploc bag, not too many in each bag.  I like to get as much as out as possible and flatten the bag out.  I don't like the bag to be more than 3/4" thick this way because onions clump when the freeze, no way around it that I have found yet.  But by keeping the bag thin, it's pretty easy to break them up frozen to use just want I need.  That way, I don't have to use a ton of bag to freeze small amounts but I can still get out what I need without having to thaw them.  I've also been known to take the smooth side of my meat mallet and taking a few frustrations out on my bag of frozen onions...LOL.

The carrots are easy too.  I clean and slice them all.  I take the ends and pieces that aren't uniform in size and put those aside, we'll talk about those later.  The ones that are somewhat uniform, I will blanch and shock those like I do corn, you can find that blog post here.  I lay them out on a clean towel to dry and then on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to freeze them like I talked about int he blog post on berries here.  Once frozen, put them in Ziplocs and back in the freezer.  This will let you pull out just what carrots you need without having to thaw them all.

I haven't forgotten those ends and pieces.  I trim the carrots up nicely before I slice them but these odd pieces, I just put straight into a Ziploc back and into the freezer.  These are the pieces that I pull out when I am making stock and broth.  I do the same thing with Celery bottoms and leaves and the onion ends.  It's like free flavor into your soups and stocks.  I'd rather put them in broth than in the trash!

Leeks are new for me this year.  They grew very well in the garden this year.  I had to research how to deal with these but it was pretty easy.  They also go into the freezer.  I sliced the root end off and then sliced them up almost to the leafy part.  I put the slices in a LARGE amount of cold water, kind of separating the slices a bit.  Don't worry about getting them all, it will be ok.  I took the upper parts (not all of it but maybe 2" above my slices) and cut them in half lengthwise and soak them in a sink of water.  You soak them to get let the dirt between the layers to fall off.  Once they've soaked, I put them in a colander to drain and then in Ziplocs.  These pieces I use for stocks and broths.  The slices I put on towels to dry and then in Ziplocs once dry.  

Remember to label and date the Ziplocs!  You'll have them to use all year!

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