Fresh Veggies in Your Kitchen All Winter Long

Below are some tips and tricks to keep Connecticut Grown in your kitchen all winter long.

Visit your winter farmers’ markets.

Many farmers’ markets continue through the winter. View the Connecticut 2017/2018 Holiday and Winter markets here.

Store your products.

Hard winter squashes can keep for up to six months in a cool, dry storage space. While canning and freezing are other great options, you can still have fresh squash long into the winter if you stock up now and store it properly, but don’t be tempted to put them in the refrigerator. Check out Oregon State Extension Service’s guide to storing squash at home. Other products that store well include potatoes (make sure you keep them in the dark), radishes (without tops), parsnips, turnips, and many other root vegetables.

Preserve.

Centuries before modern refrigeration, cultures around the world had mastered ways to enjoy produce long after its growing season was over. Many of your favorite fruits and veggies can be stored for later use, as long as you take the time to learn your preservation techniques. Pickling, dehydrating, preserving, and fermenting are all methods you can use to extend the season. Are you a beginner? Start with a simple pickling technique. Cabbage, beets, beans, cucumbers, cauliflower, onion, and carrots are all vegetables that take to pickling very well, or try your hand at making jams, jellies, or relishes to use up the last of the fruits. Stored in mason jars, these are great pre-made options to dress up any crudities platter or charcuterie board. Try one of the techniques on Food Network’s “Canning, Pickling, and Preserves 101”.

Deep freeze.

Many fruits and vegetables store very well in a freezer and do not lose their nutritional value. For example, slice apples, sprinkle with lemon juice, and place in an airtight freezer bag to use in applesauce and baked goods throughout the winter. Beans, broccoli, and berries are also great options for freezing, and don’t lose their vibrant color if stored airtight. Refer to the USDA’s guide to ensure proper food safety when freezing.

Be creative.

Winter is the time for chefs to use more obscure, season-extension options. Introduce your customers to lesser-known and appreciated root vegetables and “old-fashioned” cooking methods. Rutabaga, Celeriac, and Turnips can all be roasted with sweet winter squash for a wonderful side dish. Try techniques such as braising and stewing. Slow cooking methods like these will result in a tender and delicious meal, perfect for a cold winter evening.

Courtesy of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture #ConnecticutGrown

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