Eat Local Challenge

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Eat Local Challenge – Minnesota

Here in Minnesota, the “Eat Local Challenge” takes place in August during peak harvest time. The local co-ops have challenged folks to eat at least 80% of their food during this month from local sources. As you can see from the photo above, my family has no problem accomplishing that goal! When I need to pick up other ingredients from the co-op, they make it really easy by posting these big green “Local” stickers next to the item on the shelf, so I can be thoughtful about what I want to buy and to whom I will give my money. Since the co-op started doing this a few years ago, I am sure more of my food dollar stays in Minnesota. Fruit and coffee are really the only things we buy that travel long distances.

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The bounty on the counter above is our week eleven CSA share from Foxtail Farm. For eleven weeks now I’ve been cooking, feeding, entertaining and creating. You might be thinking that I must be feeling a little fatigued by now, but no, actually not fatigued, just sad. Yesterday I looked at this gigantic pile of produce and the first thing I thought was, I need to have a BIG party. There is no possible way that I could cook all these veggies and have the food consumed by the time next Thursday’s box arrived. Unfortunately, our schedule will not permit a big party this week, so I go back to sad. I prefer to use fresh ingredients in my recipes, but am now facing the fact that some of this will need to be preserved for later use.

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So, last night I took on the “What can I put in the freezer?” challenge. Here’s what I accomplished.

  • Beet Stems and Leaves- removed stems and leaves. After washing them, I cut the stem from the leaf and chopped them into one-inch pieces. They went into a quick blanch pot followed by an ice water submersion and then into a freezer container. The leaves were then chopped and sent through the same process and packed separately.
  • Beets – these were roasted, peeled, diced and packed.
  • Mizuna or Vitamin Green – quick blanch, cold dunk and packed.
  • Flat Leaf Parsley – This got washed, dried, chopped and packed.
  • Corn on the cob – two minute blanch in boiling water, cold water submersion, cut corn from the cob and pack.
  • Tomatoes – These got turned into a freezable soup – recipe to follow.
  • Carrots – I have simply been washing the carrots the last few weeks and leaving them in the fridge for Max to munch on, but these got peeled, a 30 second blanch, a cold water dunk and packed for the freezer.

Still headed for the freezer are the tomatillos that will be roasted into salsa and tomatoes sauced with garlic, onions and basil. Fresh from the CSA I am left with yellow squash, cucumbers, some interesting melons, and a couple of onions. We’ll see what that turns into!

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