The sunshine’s nice and all, but if we had to pick one thing to bottle up and save each summer, it’d be the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that pop up at farmers markets all season long.
For food writer Jamie DeMent, it’s a total must-do. Her grandmother had a special kitchen dedicated just to canning! Parts of each summer weekend during DeMent’s childhood were spent in that kitchen, helping her grandmother can and freeze berries, butter beans, corn, peas, and apples. Always apples.
When DeMent searches through her upright freezer at home today, she sees those same foods — plus okra, zucchini, roasted tomatoes, and compound butter and pestos that preserve fresh herbs. “I get worried the apocalypse is coming,” she says with a laugh. “I’ve never managed to use everything in my freezer.”
DeMent’s forthcoming cookbook, The Farmhouse Chef, starts with summer and moves through the year to spring. “That’s because my cooking life starts in the summer every year. It’s when I’m canning tomato sauce and freezing butter beans, preparing for the rest of the year.”
Just about anything can be frozen — except potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are best left in their skins in a cool, dark place, she says. So how does she freeze all this goodness? Here’s a little cheat sheet.