Ready or Not #264: Use It All Up – Later

I’m back.

Just like you, I am very busy.  I work full-time, I am attending school full-time and my son just got married to the most wonderful young woman (they are currently on their honeymoon).  Isn’t that just the way – you think that you are busy because you work and then you take something else on, like school.  After you think that you can’t handle one more thing, then one more thing happens – a wedding and two receptions.  Something had to give and it was my writing articles about food storage and being prepared

Don’t think that for a minute that I forgot about preparedness or food storage; no, I was constantly thinking about it.  One thing that I kept thinking about was the abundant local gardens, my neighbor’s abundant gardens.  The word zucchini comes to mind.

Thankfully other people thought of us when they could no longer use everything in their gardens.  A garden was something that I just couldn’t do this year (refer to work and school; the wedding was an extra) and so these random acts of vegetable drop-and-runs have been very much appreciated.

My daughter also has some wonderful neighbors that enjoy sharing their gardens and she and her family have been eating zucchini and other squashes to their hearts desire – and then some.  But it can get to the point where it can be a bit too much.  She asked me what she should do because she didn’t want to waste one tasty morsel, but too much of a good thing sometimes isn’t good.  I told her to freeze the squash in all the different ways that she would eventually want to use it later on.

What I have done in the past, and plan to do this year, is to grate the zucchini and measure it out into the amount needed for zucchini bread (my recipe uses 2 cups), put it in a Ziploc bag and freeze it.  If you do this make sure to write on the bag with a permanent marker how much is in the bag for the future.  If you don’t, you will question the measurement when you want to use it later (I’m sharing another personal learning curve).

Another way that I freeze my squash is to cube them into the size that I like to put into my soups.  Cube them and place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer to freeze as individual pieces.  After they have frozen you can put them all together in a Ziploc bag and put them back in the freezer.  By freezing them individually it helps the squash to stay firm, not get stuck together or get mushed up.  Freezing them this way also makes it easier to take out individual servings, just like commercially prepared vegetables.

You can also slice your zucchini into slices and then reassemble the pieces to look like a whole zucchini and then freeze.  When you thaw it out later you can pull the pieces apart and dip them in flour, then dip them in egg and then again in flour, then fry them up.  So yummy.  (FYI: If you put a light coating of flour on any food product first and then dip it into the egg, the egg will stick better and then you can re-dredge it again in the flour.)

Freezing your fruits and vegetables are also a good way to put off today which can be better handled tomorrow – or next month.  My mom gave my daughter a freezer and she also gave her the frozen peaches and frozen grapes that were in the freezer.  Mom had frozen the fruit because my dad loved eating frozen peaches and he ate frozen grapes like they were candy.  My mom intended to make jam out of some of the peaches, but she didn’t have time to process them and now she doesn’t need to.

Because of my mom’s generosity, my daughter can use the frozen peaches to eat with cream or canned milk poured over the half thawed peaches, or throw them in the blender with some yogurt for a tasty frozen drink or, while the kids are in school, she can whip up some peach jam – when she has the time.  This is also good for strawberries and other tasty produce that you just don’t have the time to process, when they need to be processed.

Don’t think that you have to do everything all at once. Remember – we are all very busy.  Enough said.  Now go freeze that zucchini that was dropped off on your doorstep last night.

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