By Carol Mills
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Last August I wrote a column about blanching vegetables in a microwave instead of on the stove in a pot of boiling water. I didn’t know how they would turn out and how long they would last.
That was the first time I used a microwave to blanch and I’m writing to say it worked out great. I froze dozens of ears of corn and my family finished off the last of it at Easter. I still have zucchini, okra, and green beans left and they look as fresh as when I put them in the freezer.
For those who missed reading the blanching column I will explain how I put up the corn: Put one ear of corn with the husk on a paper towel into the microwave for two minutes. Take it out and let it cool enough to handle. Pull husk and silks off at the same time. The corn silks will come off with the husks and there will be no need to remove each one. Put the corn in the freezer until it cools completely and then bag it up and return it to the freezer. Put another husk into the microwave while the first one is cooling and keep repeating the process until all the corn is put up. This is so much faster than boiling the corn and then trying to get out all the water.
The zucchini, okra, and green beans are put up similarly: Wash the vegetables real well. Slice up the zucchini with its peeling on and slice up the okra and green beans. Place one layer on a plate covered with a paper towel. Microwave for one minute. Take the plate out, freeze the vegetables, and then bag them up or put them in plastic freezing containers and return to the freezer.
The other vegetables and herbs I grow, such as tomatoes, gypsy peppers, rhubarb, basil, and parsley don’t have to be blanched. The herbs are frozen in ice cubes and then bagged up individually. I quit growing cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower because I couldn’t keep the worms out of them.
If I have a garden this year, I will be putting peas, green beans, okra, zucchini, and asparagus in a microwave to blanch.
Since I have trouble growing corn, I will buy some from the Mennonites and microwave the ears. I’ll just have to buy dozens more than last year because you can never have too much corn or corn on the cob.
In my three raised beds I have asparagus, rhubarb, peas, onion sets, radishes, and lettuce already coming up. And, the strawberries are blooming. I’m ready for a homemade strawberry pie from Jerry’s recipe that has strawberry gelatin in it. I might even tweak the pie with a little rhubarb.