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Weekly Menu & Preserving Summer's Bounty


As much as it pains me to think about it... the end of summer is near.  Don't get me wrong, I love autumn with the crisp air, the beautiful colors in the trees, the bonfires, hiking and camping... so many great things.  But.  I love summer more!  It also means summer harvests are coming to an end as well.  That can often mean there is more produce on our counters and gardens than we can eat.  There are several ways to easily preserve these fruits and vegetables so you can bring them out again during the dead of winter to unlock some of those memories of summer in the soul warming meal.

This is the easiest way to save fruits and vegetables for a later date.  You can cook them first or freeze them as they are.  I love to freeze fruit!  You can easily use them in smoothies or bake a dessert or add them to muffins or pancakes.  I always freeze some berries and peaches from the summer... just peel and cut up your peaches and spread evenly on a baking sheet, freeze, then transfer to a freezer ziploc bag.  Same goes for berries, although you can skip the peeling and chopping part!  

I also like to freeze corn, both cooked and uncooked.  I cut some ears in half and toss them into a freezer bag.  I'll boil or steam those later as a quick side.  Then I'll roast several ears on the grill, cut off the kernels, freeze them on a baking sheet, and then into the freezer bag they go.  Those kernels will end up in soups and stews.  I also freeze uncooked peas and green beans.

This method saves room in your freezer and can really be store anywhere in your house giving you flexibility and the ability to store a LOT of food.  Ever since I learned how to do water bath canning (which requires a high acidity), I have been "putting up" enough tomatoes to make home made sauces and soups all winter long (I have eight jars so far and my tomato plants are still going strong).  I'll share the steps to can tomatoes later this week.

I also pickle cucumbers and peppers in water baths.  The vinegar makes it possible to can these without using a pressure cooker.  

Now that were stocked and ready for fall vegetables, lets move on to this week's menu...

mexican stuffed shells
zucchini soup
asian meatballs with rice and edemame
enchiladas of some sort
ordering food in while canning a lot more tomatoes! Yum

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