Posts Tagged Swiss Chard

What Vegetables are Good for Freezing? Handling and Storage Ideas

The plan this growing season for me is to can, freeze, preserve, and dehydrate fruits and vegetables we do not consume and have an abundance of (i.e. peak of tomato season where we have lots of tomatoes). This is a big endeavor for me since it will be my first time preserving what I grow. I have gotten a lot of books detailing how to  preserve vegetables from your garden. I have been busily reading and noting what techniques to use. A great reference book I would recommend is Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. It details every vegetable you can grow and how to preserve them. It’s an invaluable resource to any gardener who wants to pursue this adventure.

I have read a lot about preserving vegetables by blanching and freezing. Freezing is a great way to lock in nutrients. Blanching is the process of dropping your desired vegetable in boiling water for a set time (typically for 30 seconds to 3 minutes). After blanching, you will take the veggies out and place them in an ice bath consisting of water and ice cubes. After they have cooled, you can freeze them flat on a tray in the freezer before packaging. Since, you’re not completely cooking the vegetables you keep the nutrients and texture of the vegetables. Happy gardening everyone!

What you’ll need to freeze vegetables is simple:

-desired vegetable you want to preserve
-pot
-water
-bowl
-ice water
-bags (sandwhich or freezer) and/or small containers (1 quart)
-freezer

Here’s a chart of vegetables that will do well freezing, when to freeze, and how to handle and store them:

What to Freeze

Time to Freeze

How to Freeze

Berries Spring to Fall Wash your produce, air dry and freeze
Broccoli Spring and Fall Cut into bite-size pieces, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Chard Spring, Summer, and Fall Blanch until wilted (several minutes) It will look like wilted spinach. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches
Edamame (soybeans) Summer to Fall Simmer pods in salted water for approximately 5 minutes. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain, and freeze
Peas Spring to Fall Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Peppers Summer to Fall Slice, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Snap beans Summer to Fall Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze
Spinach Spring to Fall Blanch until wilted (several minutes) Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches
Sweet corn Summer Cut kernels from cobs, simmer in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches

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A Veggie Garden Update 05-21-08

I know I haven’t updated in awhile but we’ve been completely busy. We actually have some good news: we’re going to be home owners. We’re in escrow and so excited about the possibilities of being a homeowner. we can’t believe it!!! Here’s a picture of our new garden area:

Garden View A

Garden View B

So, my garden has experienced a lot of thinning due to us moving in only a short 20 days. I am just hoping I can get some ripe tomatoes by then so I can save seeds. This year, I am growing a variety of tomatoes that I wanted to collect seeds. Tomatoes that I’m not taking with me include: black cherry, red and gold, and fireball tomato. Those already have little green fruits on them so I can hopefully get them to ripe so I can get seeds from them. Luckily, I had a feeling that we would buy a house before summer’s end so I put most of my plants in pots. I still have tons of Swiss chard plants ready to be harvested and cooked. I cook my swiss chard simply with some olive oil, lemon, and garlic.

Swiss Chard 118 days 04-17-08

Let’s see…it looks like everything is growing nicely except when we had a couple of days that were in the 100s. During this time, a lot of my plants got completely sunburnt. My mint had burnt leaves and so did my tomatoes. Poor things didn’t know it was going to be so hot. I’ve also had some problems with scale. I just spray them with my organic pesticide I made. It only takes a day before they’re dead! All my herbs are coming along. The tomatoes are blooming and fruiting nicely. I also noticed I have some peppers that are blooming. I’m keeping them in individual pots so I can plant them in our new place.

The hydrangeas are blooming. They’re blooming a gorgeous pale pink. When I first got this plant from my husband, it was purple and now it’s pink. I guess the fertilizer I use changed the blooms to pink. I’ve heard acidity levels can affect blooms. Well, I guess that’s all for now. I promise to to try to update more. Happy gardening everyone.

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Growing Swiss Chard: the Colorful Spinach Substitute

Last year, I started growing swiss chard for the first time. I only grew several plants because I wasn’t for sure if I would like the taste or not. Anywhoo, it grew like crazy and I was able to make one dish with it. I cooked it like spinach, sauteeing it with some olive oil and garlic. After it wilted a little, I added some lemon juice and red pepper flakes. It was a great side dish. Swiss chard is such an easy plant to grow and the varieties are endless. They have a variety called rainbow swiss chard and the colors are amazing. They’re a perfect addition to any vegetable garden or a side plant in the front yard. They’re a vegetable that I can’t live without. What do you guys think about this one?

This year, I was determined to grow continuous crops of swiss chard. The first batch, I started in January. January 1st to be exact. They took a week to sprout and grew like mad. At first they were leggy and spinly but after a couple of weeks, they grew thick stems and strengthened up really well.

Swiss Chard Seedlings at 31 days 02-04-08

I moved them outside in the ground in an area that gets late morning sun, a couple of weeks before my last frost, around February 11th. They looked so puny and defenseless. To protect them from critters like the dreaded slugs and snails, I would cover them with plastic cups for the next two weeks at night and uncover them in the morning before work. It worked. The snails didn’t get too much of them and they grew very well.

Swiss Chard Transplanted 02-11-08

So they grew and they grew without too many problems. Not a pest to be found. I’m still crossing my fingers! Here they are a month and a half later, still growing steadily:

Swiss Chard 59 days 03-23-08

And grew they did. I’ll probably harvest these soon and make some yummy side dishes.

Swiss Chard 90 days 03-23-08

Here are some pics of the other swiss chard plants I have laying around the garden. I plan on planting them in a spot near my fence that gets regular morning sun. They really enjoy full sun but part sun wouldn’t hurt them much.

More Swiss Chard Seedlings 40 days

Swiss Chard Seedlings Transplanted 45 days

Well that’s all for now folks. Happy gardening everyone!

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