Pick a Peck of Peppers

With fall (supposedly) on its way, I’ve been noticing a lot more articles about pickling, canning and “putting up” stuff for the winter.

It would seem it’s much different from “putting up” WITH stuff for the winter (like cold, snow, lack of local produce and sunlight to name a few). 

The thought of canning has always been daunting to me. About the only thing I ever saw my mother prepare a batch of, was spaghetti sauce to freeze – and it was just a few containers worth.

I sometimes envy those who grew up with a mom who was a domestic goddess of the home and kitchen. Not that  my mom was hopeless. Everything we ate tasted just fine. I just think housework (including cooking) was more of a chore to her than something she enjoyed, and she certainly did not seem to feel the need to share time doing these things with her daughters. 

Over the years, I have fantasized about having a grandmother who would tie an apron ’round my waist, and take me into the kitchen to teach me her age-old traditions and hand down the family secrets. Alas, it was not to be, and I ended up learning how to cook by scouring cookbooks, trying random recipes that I had ripped out of magazines, and watching corny cooking shows. Thankfully we now have HGTV, the Food Network and more recipe websites than I will ever be able to devour in a lifetime.

I love to try new recipes, and as I get more confident in the kitchen, I am willing to stretch my culinary skills a little further. I admit, in the past, I fell victim to the allure of pre-cooked meals and packaged solutions. It was quick and easy, and often tasted pretty darn good. Now, I am much for conscientious about the cost of things, but especially trying to be more aware of what I am eating. We still enjoy the odd frozen pizza or box of Kraft dinner on occasion, but on a whole, I make an effort to cook from scratch these days.

So, last week my hubby was mentioning these frozen vegetables I bought in the past. They are diced peppers, onions and carrots, meant to add to spaghetti sauce. I personally did not enjoy them as much as him, because they had an abundance of green pepper (one of the vegetables I am not especially fond of). It just so happened that they were having a pretty decent sale on peppers last week. After minimal research, I discovered peppers could be frozen without any special preparation (like blanching), and just stored in freezer Ziploc bag. How easy!!

As the gatherer of the home, I went out and “harvested” a dozen various bell peppers; red, yellow, orange and green (for hubby). They almost looked too nice to eat, so I had to take a few photos.

 

 

I spent a good part of my Saturday (or at least it felt that way), slicing and dicing. Even though the peppers were all different shapes and sizes, my dozen peppers were reduced down to about 12 cups once I was done (so about a cup a piece). I now have a lovely rainbow of diced peppers, ready and waiting in the freezer. Once I (tearfully) tackle the big bag of onions and do the same, we’ll be all set for western sandwiches, omelets, and of course spaghetti sauce!

Oh, for those of you who are extremely detail-oriented and need to know the facts (like me)… a peck of peppers is about 10-14 pounds. 

Thankfully “Peter” did not drop by with that many for me to dice (or pickle).

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