Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flavor Stretcher

I have to just face it. I just too lazy to can anything ever. I did can green beans one year and they were yummy but I knew then and there that it was way much more effort than I wanted to put in. I told you i'm lazy. Ive been freezing our food ever since then.
As most of you know I am a huge fan of Marks NW Fresh Produce.Did I mention how much I love Marks? I could go on and on about it.   I'm usually there about once a week taking advantage of their cheap produce. This last time I went pretty early so I was able to see what they just got in from the farms. They just received beautiful pumpkins of all kinds. Best part was that they were only $1 for large and 50 cents for small. I grabbed the largest pumpkins I could find and made a B line to the cash register. I snagged 7 beautiful pumpkins that will give me pumpkin puree for a year. Just look at them!
My favorite thing to do is freeze flavor stretchers. Flavor stretchers are produce that make a huge flavor impact with just a small amount. Bell peppers and jalapeños are a favorite flavor of ours so when they go on sale, I stock up. This week at Marks NW Fresh Produce bell peppers are 2 for $1 and Jalapeños were only 99 cents per pound.  I bought out all their jalapeños and snagged 6 very large bell peppers. This should last us all winter. When I freeze these for later use it not only gives us the option to add a fresh flavor to our food all winter but it also saves us a ton of money. Buying any produce out of season and you will be paying two to three times the price.

Freezing flavor stretchers

 Bell Peppers are the easiest thing to freeze. Simply take out the seeds and stem. Cut into tiny pieces so its easier to use them when your cooking later on.  Then lay onto a cookie sheet that has a sheet of wax paper on it. They will freeze to the pan if you don't put the wax paper down. Go ahead and add as much as you want because they break up pretty easy when frozen.
Look how beautiful these are. My children do not like the green peppers as much as the red and yellow so I mix them up. Plus they are so pretty this way. As you can see I have a pretty thick layer of these but don't worry.

Now into the freezer they go. Let them freeze for an hour or so. Once frozen take them out and put them into any freezer safe container you want. They will break up really easy and you will be able to just toss them into any container. And your done! These added into any dish will make it taste so fresh and yummy.


I might have outdone myself with this one. They were only 99 cents a pound so I took everything they had which was about 5 pounds. Uggg. Rinse your peppers well and get prepared to handle these.

Remember those household gloves I told you about? Pull those suckers out! Trust me you will need these. You will need a knife, gloves, melon baller and cutting board for this one.
Slice off the top of each pepper and then slice down the middle. Take your melon baller and scoop out the seeds. Once all seeds are out go ahead and start slicing your peppers into small pieces.  Be careful to watch out for .............too late. Pepper juice in the eye. Let me go cry for a moment. Okay i'm back. Lets start this over.

Okay same rules apply when preparing them to cut up. This time pull out anything that will cut your peppers into pieces. Whatever you have , use it. Trust me. Ask my eye how it feels right now. Ugg. I'm using my Pampered Chef Food Chopper and my eye thanked me. Once they are chopped up toss them into your favorite freezer friendly container.

I'm using some old Tupperware containers that attach to each other. Anytime I need some jalapeños I just pull off the bottom container. I hand wash these Tupperware containers in warm water and never microwave them.  Jalapeños add an extra kick to any meal.   So as you can see I didn't cut up as much as I bought. These peppers are super hot and juice is squirted everywhere in the air. I was in tears from squirting juice in my eye and my nose was starting to run. I think I will just have to cut up one pound at a time each day.

This simple DIY of flavor stretchers can be used for anything you want.  Take advantage of seasonal sales and freeze what you can.  Your wallet will thank you.

No comments: