I wrote a similar article in 2009 focusing on familiar carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans. In this edition of recipes using canned and frozen home produce, I’ll include some less common vegetables and fruits.
Hibiscus esculentus is an acquired taste, in my opinion. The ﬂavor is nutty and pairs nicely with onions, eggplant, and tomatoes, but the slimy texture is quite a put-off for many people. Okra is quite popular in African and Middle Eastern countries, and India. The plant came to North America with the African slaves where it was quickly adopted by the native Indians. Okra is mostly popular in the South and ﬁnds its way into many soups and stews. Crispy fried okra is delicious!
Okra and Corn Stew
3 Tbs. butter or margarine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
14 oz. canned tomatoes (or 2 med fresh tomatoes, chopped)
1/2 pound canned or frozen okra, 1/2 inch slices
2 cups frozen or canned corn
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper, or to taste
Sauté the onion in butter or margarine until transparent. Add green pepper, sauté until soft.
Add tomatoes and okra, cover, and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes.
Add the corn and seasonings, stir well.
Cover and simmer 5 minutes longer.
A good stock of frozen rhubarb is a must for anyone who loves its tart, distinctive taste. Though originally considered to be a vegetable, in 1947 for the purpose of regulation and duties, a New York court reclassiﬁed rhubarb as a fruit. Rheum rhabarbarum has ﬁgured heavily in Chinese medicine (as a laxative) for thousands of years, appears in medieval Arabic and European prescriptions, and came to the United States in 1820.1 Best known for its pairing with strawberries in pie, rhubarb is also wonderful in this cake.
Serves 12 to 18
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose ﬂour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 cup soured milk
1-1/2 cups rhubarb, diced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and ﬂour a 9 x 13 inch pan.
Cream shortening and sugar; add egg and vanilla.
Sift ﬂour with salt and baking soda.
Add half of the ﬂour, then half of the milk, mixing well after each addition. Add remaining ﬂour and milk the same way.
Beat until smooth. Fold in rhubarb.
Turn the batter into the pan.
Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
Bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.
A popular winter vegetable, cauliﬂower is one of the vegetables that freezes quite well. This member of the Brassicaceae family is related to broccoli, cabbage, Kale, and many others. Used fresh, it has a nutty ﬂavor when eaten raw and is delicious fried (as in the Middle Eastern dish, Zahra Mekleyah) or paired with other vegetables and spices (as in the Indian dish, Aloo gobi, a combination of cauliﬂower, potatoes, tomatoes, and classic spices). For the less adventuresome, here’s an old time recipe.
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
4 cups frozen cauliﬂower
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup enriched ﬂour
2 Tbsp. diced pimiento
6 slices American or Cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F
Cook cauliﬂower according to package directions; drain.
Meanwhile, brown the mushrooms and green pepper in the margarine; remove from heat.
Add ﬂour and salt, and stir well to coat vegetables.
Gradually add the milk, stirring to blend; return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
Stir in pimientos.
Place half the cauliﬂower in a 1-1/2 quart casserole. Add 3 slices of cheese, then pour over half the sauce. Repeat with remaining cauliﬂower, cheese and sauce.
Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake until heated through and lightly browned on top.
Canned or frozen, nothing is a better staple in the cupboard or freezer than home-grown tomatoes. Like rhubarb, the tomato came under scrutiny by the United States Supreme Court which determined that it be considered as a vegetable rather than the true botanical classiﬁcation as a fruit. Regardless, Solanum lycopersicum is native to South America, but spread throughout the world after Spanish colonization of the Americas.2 The tomato is a member of the nightshade family, related to potatoes, eggplant, and tobacco as well as many toxic ﬂowering plants such as Belladonna. Try this delicious variation on tomato soup.
Tomato Basil Bisque
2 10-oz cans tomato soup
2 cups frozen or canned tomatoes, diced
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbsp. dried
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Empty tomato soup into a large pot and stir in diced tomatoes.
Add buttermilk and stir well.
Heat on low heat until steam rolls off surface. Do not allow to boil!
Stir in basil and pepper.
Our favorite yellow vegetable, corn crops account for 332 million metric tons annually (U.S.)! Of that staggering number, 40% is used for corn ethanol.3 Field corn is fed to livestock, and sweet corn is in our freezers and in our pantries. This sweet, delicious vegetable is so versatile it can be used in both savory and sweet dishes; it can be eaten raw, cooked, grilled, boiled, steamed, or roasted; and, in farm country, the late summer kitchens are a ﬂurry of canning and freezing. The following recipe comes from my grandmother’s little tin recipe box, probably written down in the early 1940’s.
1/4 cup cornmeal
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3/4 cup scalded milk
1 egg, well beaten
4 cups frozen or canned corn (drained)
1/4 cup minced pimiento
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease a 1 quart casserole.
Combine the cornmeal, salt and sugar.
Add the butter to the hot milk, stirring to melt.
Pour the milk slowly over the cornmeal, stirring to blend.
Add egg, pimiento, green pepper, and corn.
Pour into prepared casserole and bake for 1 hour. Stir frequently during the ﬁrst 20 minutes.
1 “Rhubarb”, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhubarb
2 “Tomato”, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato
3 “Maize”, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize
Soup Thumbnail: Stock Xchng, by Gabriella Fabbri
Okra: Public domain on Wikimedia, by Bill Tarpenning, USDA
Rhubarb: Public domain on Wikimedia, by GearedBull
Cauliﬂower: Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0, by Etbe
Tomato Soup: Wikimedia Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, by Eksimaru
Scalloped Corn: ©2010 Toni Leland