Category Archives: Prudent Pantry

I love zucchini and I always plant more than I need in my garden. As a result I am always looking for new ways to use it up! This is a new recipe for me this year! Serve this delicious salsa with tortilla chips or try it on top of grilled chicken breasts or fish. It’s got just the right amount of zip!Corn Zucchini Salsa

Ingredients:
3 medium zucchini, cleaned, trimmed and diced
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ears of yellow corn, husked and silk removed
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
¼ cup finely chopped scallions
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Ingredients for Corn Zucchini Salsa

Ingredients for Corn Zucchini Salsa

Toss the zucchini with the salt and sweat them for three minutes in a colander. Rinse and dry on paper towels.

Ingredients prepped and ready!

Ingredients prepped and ready!

Coat the corn with 2 tsp olive oil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Cool. Cut off the kernels and scrape the cobs.

Corn ready for the oven.

Corn ready for the oven.

Combine the zucchini, corn, remaining oil, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar, jalapenos, scallions, garlic and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Ladle into hot, sterile jars, cap and seal. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Corn Zucchini Salsa

Corn Zucchini Salsa

 

Last week I talked about drying herbs. Another way to preserve herbs is to freeze them. Herbs that have been frozen actually taste fresher than dried herbs, but only for the first four months or so after freezing. After that the flavor declines rapidly. Freezing herbs should be done in addition to drying herbs not as a substitute for it.

There are two methods of freezing herbs. For lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage or tarragon use whole leaves, discarding the stems. To freeze dill, fennel or thyme, use tender sprigs. Basil discolors when it is frozen; to keep it green, dip the branches in boiling water, just for a second or two. Then discard the stems and gently dry the leaves.

Basil, ready to dip in boiling water.

Basil, ready to dip in boiling water.

Anything you’re freezing should be completely dry. Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.

Sage ready for the freezer.

Sage ready for the freezer.

As soon as the herbs are frozen pack them into heavy plastic freezer bags. Place the bags in freezer safe containers for storage in your freezer.

For herbs that tend to fade rapidly when frozen, such as cilantro or chervil; combine 1 cup of chopped herbs with 1/3 to 1.2 cup water in a blender.  Freeze in ice cube trays. As soon as the cubes are frozen place in plastic freezer bags. Use the cubes where you would the herb. Each cube equals about 2 Tbsp of freshly chopped herbs.

Freezing herbs in an ice cube tray.

Freezing herbs in an ice cube tray.

It’s always sad to see the end of the gardening season. With these methods hopefully you can enjoy your fresh herbs all winter!


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If you are like me you have an abundance of fresh herbs in your garden, perhaps more than you can use. What do you do with the surplus? I do what gardeners and cooks have been doing for years – dry the surplus!

Oregano

Oregano

By drying my herbs now I can store them and use them later on. The process of drying herbs is very simple; you can just toss the cuttings on a paper towel and leave them there to dry out. Just remember to check on them.

Herbs just need the slightest rinsing, unless they are covered with dirt or have been sprayed with something.

Find a spot indoors, that is warm and dry and has good air circulation to dry your herbs. I use a closet in our laundry room.

For larger quantities of herbs, bundle the sprigs together and tie with twine. Then hang them upside down to dry.

Tie the stems together.

Tie the stems together.

Leave everything undisturbed until the herbs are dry, which may only take a few days or may take longer. Once the herbs are dry strip the leaves from the stems. You can leave them whole or crush them. Left whole they retain their flavor better but crushed they take up less space. Your choice.

Drying the herbs in a dark, dry place.

Drying the herbs in a dark, dry place.

Store in a glass container with a tight fitting lid and keep away from heat and direct sunlight. Be sure to label your jars. Now you have a fresh supply of dried herbs to get you through the winter!

Label your jars!

Label your jars!

Are you tired of hearing about all of our blueberries yet?

berries, pie

Blueberries

It’s been an abundant year for our blueberries. I have made Blueberry Lime Jam.

preserves, blueberries

Blueberry Lime Jam

The freezer is full of Blueberry Muffins.

muffins, gardening

Blueberry Muffins

I also have numerous loaves of Blueberry Lemon Bread packed away in the freezer.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I’ve also canned Blueberry Pie Filling.

berries, prudent pantry, prudent living

Blueberry Pie Filling

We’ve enjoyed Blueberry Crisp.

Blueberry Crisp with ice cream!

Blueberry Crisp with ice cream!

and I still plan to make a Blueberry Crunch.

Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Crumble

But what do we do when we still have blueberries? We freeze them!

Blueberries are so easy to freeze, much like freezing strawberries. You just fill a rimmed cookie sheet with blueberries and carefully place them in the freezer.freezing blueberries Allow the blueberries to freeze solid. When they are completely frozen place the blueberries in a freezer bag or container and place back in the freezer.Place the frozen berries into a freezer container. That’s it. You will be able to enjoy them this winter.Frozen blueberries. It’s always nice to enjoy a yummy Blueberry Cobbler in the middle of winter!

Enjoy!

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

I’ve used vodka to make certain things like vanilla extract but did you know you can use it to make a disinfectant as well? This mixture can be used on bathroom surfaces, countertops, tables, appliances, light switches and doorknobs.

The white vinegar and vodka inhibit the growth of germs. The lavender and lemon essential oils are antibacterial and antiseptic.

Ingredients for disinfectant

Ingredients for disinfectant

Vinegar and Vodka Disinfectant

½ cup white vinegar
½ cup vodka
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
1 ½ cups water

Pour all the ingredients in to a 24oz spray bottle and shake well. Spray your surfaces and let sit for 10 minutes. Wipe clean.

That’s it, so simple and the smell of the lavender helps relive stress and boost moods so you might actually enjoy cleaning!

Vineagar Vodka Disinfectant

Vineagar Vodka Disinfectant

It works pretty well as a cleaner although I may have to add a little more essential oil, and the hint of vodka is strong so I feel like I’m cleaning my counters with a vodka tonic!

We have a bumper crop of blueberries this year!

Abundant Blueberries!

Abundant Blueberries!

Seems like I can go out and pick berries every other day and come in with a bucket full. Not only do we enjoy eating them but nothing beats the taste of blueberry jam on homemade toast in the middle of winter. Brings back memories of picking those wonderful blueberries on a sunny, warm summer day.Blueberries

This recipe is a slight variation of regular blueberry jam; it has a hint of lime in it. The lime makes the jam taste so refreshing. This recipe makes about six 8-ounce jars. Perfect for stocking your pantry or for gift giving!

Blueberry Lime Jam

4 ½ cups crushed blueberries
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lime
1 package of regular powdered fruit pectin (1.75oz)
5 cups of granulated sugar

Before you start prepare your canner, jars and lids.

In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine berries, lime zest and lime juice.

jam, prudent pantry, prudent living

Blueberries, lime zest and lime juice.

Whisk in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam.

jam, prudent pantry

Cooking Jam

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary by adding hot jam. Wipe rim. Center the lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

preserves, blueberries

Blueberry Lime Jam

 

 

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