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Winter recipes using canned or frozen produce from the garden

By Toni Leland (tonilelandFebruary 8, 2012
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Freezing and canning our garden produce is a sound economic investment, one that helps spare our budget during the dead of winter when fresh produce is expensive. Using our home-grown vegetables and fruits in delicious comfort foods through the cold months also provides us with a nutritious and pleasant experience.

Gardening picture

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.

 

Okra

 

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

Serves 4okra

 

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.

 

Rhubarbrhubarb

 

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.

 

Rhubarb Cake

Serves 12 to 18

 

1/2 cup shortening

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

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

 

Topping

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.

 

Cauliflowercauliflower

 

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.

 

Creamy Cauliflower 

Serves 4

 

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

dash paprika

 

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.

 

Tomatoes

 tomato soup

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

Serves 7

 

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.

 

Corncorn

 

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.

 

Scalloped Corn

Serves 4

 

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.

 

~~~

Resources

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

 

Image Credits

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



  About Toni Leland  
Toni LelandToni Leland has been writing for over 20 years. As a spokesman for the Ohio State University Master Gardener program, she has written a biweekly newspaper column and is the editor of the Muskingum County MG newsletter, Connections; she currently writes for GRIT, Over the Back Fence, and Country Living magazines. She has been a gardener all her life, working soil all over the world. In her day job, she scripts and produces educational DVDs about caring for Miniature Horses, writes and edits books about them, and has published five novels.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Grow okra in the north gardengirl86 2 9 Feb 25, 2012 11:11 AM
Scalloped Corn looks good! wind 1 6 Feb 25, 2012 11:09 AM
Great looking recipes Cville_Gardener 1 7 Feb 8, 2012 2:08 PM
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