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Store Food for Winter - without canning!

Summer and Fall harvests are the time to store food for Winter. Whether you want to preserve fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, or prepared foods, it can be time consuming during what are usually busy seasons. 

I am sharing 3 easy ways to store food for winter that doesn't involve canning. These recipes are easy, require little preparation, and yield delicious results. 

This time of year, tomatoes, onions, and garlic are in abundance. These are 3 foods that are affordable when you buy local, super nutritious, and easy to store. I do all of these at once, saving time and energy. But you could scale up and do larger batches if you wish. I might do a few batches over the next month or so, so that we have enough stored for the Winter months.

As much as I love canning, freezing is actually my favourite way to store food. It is simple, safe, and preserves the nutrition in food perfectly. Canning tomatoes is nice, but with glass shortages, and the time and equipment involved, I usually freeze tomatoes first and will do some canning in November.

The tomatoes are coming on strong in the greenhouse right now so I wanted to get them processed. Below is my sequence for ROASTED TOMATOES, ROASTED GARLIC, and CARAMELIZED ONIONS. I prepare these at the same time and let my oven and stove do the rest of the work.

One more note about cooking, in terms of temperatures, I think of how food would cook over fire. Either low and slow, or high heat. Trust me, if you start cooking with higher heat (for most things) you will get amazing results. Also, if you embrace low and slow, either on the stove or in the oven, it will also yield great results. 

ROASTED TOMATOES:

yields approx 1 litre (which I store in 2 500 mL freezer safe containers)

INGREDIENTS:

tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

Adjust the quantities as you wish, based on your taste and what you have available.

-preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center of oven

-chop 2 dozen large Roma tomatoes or equivalent, into quarters

-slice 1 onion

-chop 3 cloves garlic

-add vegetables to a sheet pan or roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, you may add fresh herbs such as rosemary or oregano (if you want to add basil, add it towards the end of cooking)

-roast for 20 minutes, stir, continue roasting for 20 minute intervals and stirring until well cooked, it should take about an hour

-you can double this and do 2 pans at the same time or roast a pan of garlic at the same time as I do (recipe below)

ROASTED GARLIC:

INGREDIENTS:

whole garlic bulbs, olive oil, sea salt

-prepare whole garlic bulbs by slicing off top to expose the tops of the garlic

-place in baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt

-cover with a loose piece of tinfoil or parchment paper

-roast for 30 minutes or until garlic is tender, allow to cool

-store in a jar with a lid in the fridge, or in a container with olive oil in the freezer

Notes: Roast as many bulbs as you wish. We add roasted garlic to butter, mayo, vinaigrette, cream sauces, and more. It stays fresh in the fridge for 1 month. I simply roast another batch when we need more. 

CARAMELIZED ONIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

onions, olive oil, butter, balsamic vinegar

-1 large onion will yield approximately a half pint jar of carmelized onion. You can store this in the fridge for 1 month or freeze for longer. I recommend storing in half-pint jars so that when you defrost you only have a small amount. A little goes a long way!

-slice onions and place in large pot or pan with a drizzle of olive oil

-start sauteeing on high heat to bring out some moisture, once onions are softened, reduce heat to medium-low

-stir occasionally, onions will cook down, do no allow to brown at this stage, so you may have to lower heat

-continue to cook down onions, stirring, until reduced, it will take about an hour

-once onions are very soft, with a jammy texture, add a bit of butter and raise heat slightly to saute

-the bottom of the pan will start to have some brown bits, deglaze with a splash of balsamic vinegar, stir onions, and remove from heat (salt to taste if you like)

-allow to cool and place in jars or container

Notes: You can use caramelized onions to top salads, curries, pastas, or to start a sauce or soup, they are great on grilled cheese and other sandwiches, or mix into a frittata or gravy. You will love having this on hand in the fridge.