Friday, October 21, 2011

Freezing & Drying Workshop and our Canning Workshop

On Saturday, October 15, CT NOFA had two workshops at Common Ground High School! The workshops are meant to teach consumers and farmers about preserving foods to last through the winter and how to use some of the hardier winter crops grown in Connecticut.  The first workshop, held in the morning, was "Freezing and Drying."
 CT NOFA's Office Manager, Deb Legge, was the freezing and drying instructor, along with a CT NOFA Board member and food enthusiast, Janet Heller. Deb is showing her variety of fruit leathers in this photo, made from a variety of fruits includng: apple, pear, rubharb, strawberry and crabapple.  
Some healthy fruit rollup! 
 Deb demonstrating the use of garden sheers to cut fruit leather (she promised to have never used them outside)
We all approved of her work.  For a portion of the workshop we were in Common Ground's kitchen where Deb demonstrated how she prepares fruit for drying and also demonstrated how to blanch kale (you basically submerge kale in boiling water for one minute and then transfer it to ice water so it retains most of its physical properties and its taste, but kills the enzymes that cause it to decompose).

The next workshop "Preserving the Harvest: Canning" was held in the afternoon.  Wyatt Whiteman, who owns a one acre farm in Fairfield and lives in a farmhouse that dates back to 1760, shared a delicious salsa recipe with the participants, who got to work vegetable chopping:

Then Wyatt showed the participants how to mix their chopped vegetables, and transfer them to cans for safe consumption.  Everyone got to bring home a can of salsa for their home! Preparing some foods for canning is more complex while others (like salsa) are a process of cutting and mixing the right ingredients.  There are hundreds of canning sites out there - but this one explains the basics nicely and has an instructional video:

Stay tuned for more ideas on how to eat local even when Connecticut's farms are under frost and snow in the coming months!

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