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Green Freezing - Visionaries

 Green Freezing - Visionaries

The Laboratory

I still find myself surprised by the warmth and cleanliness of our kitchen when I round the corner each morning. The pain of washing dishes in the bathtub was worth it to have a kitchen that was custom designed to function and hold all of our cooking treasures. It's a place we gather with friends and eat supper almost every night. We had a multitude of family and friends help demolish the old kitchen components and install the new cabinets, counter, sink, and floor.




An eat-in kitchen was a must for me. Our thrifted kitchen table and chairs are used constantly for dining, reading, computing, or sipping a hot cup of tea. The table holds hors d'oeuvres when friends visit and is covered with a hearty breakfast every Sunday morning.


The window seat is actually a trunk from my great grandmother's home. It holds all of the large kitchen appliances: crock pot, electric griddle, bamboo steamer, dehydrator, stand mixer accessories, and a baseball glove.  It holds the extra sets of wedding china and normally has a dog or cat sitting on top. They adore basking in the morning sunlight. The dog also uses it as an easy way to steal her favorite vegetables from the counter as we make supper.


It's very gratifying to know that I laid the flooring with my uncles and The Vegetarian and I learned to hang cabinets, caulk, and touch up drywall. Home improvement is a lot like cooking for me. It's working with your hands and turning a simple material into something beautiful.


What has been your most gratifying home improvement ?


Visionaries

It's been nearly 5 years since we bought our home. It was lovingly referred to as our "rat hole" as it under went numerous cleanings and face lifts to remove years of neglect and poor remodel attempts. The location, kitchen, porch, and yard were our top four features. Probably in that order too! The kitchen is huge for a house of this size (1300 sf). The closets are not so huge but I definitely spend more time in the kitchen than in the closets.



Can you spot the one item that is in our current kitchen? That's right, the only thing new and not filthy or damaged in the kitchen was the dishwasher. It was even ENERGY STAR labeled. Yay! It works like a champ.



Words cannot describe the black goo that wouldn't come out of the cabinets or the grease that covered the wall behind the stove. Or the giant hole to the outdoors above the stove. I love direct vent range hoods but this was a little too direct and drafty.



We suspect that this is a blind corner cabinet picked up at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Not sure why he felt that a useless cabinet in front of a window was a good idea. And boy was the previous owner in love with tile. Thankfully, he wasn't in love with proper installation of tile so the tile countertop, tile floor, and tile pass through were torn out very easily.



Here's our temporary kitchen station in the pass through window to the dining room. I never counted the days we lived like this. I don't want to know. It probably was a few months due to lead time for special order cabinets and countertops. There were many weeks that we entertained and washed dishes in the bath tub. How many appliances do you see in the picture above?



Our finished kitchen is like night and day. The tile floor was replaced only a year ago. I still surprise myself when I round the corner into a kitchen with a sparkling clean floor, brightly colored walls, and functional (& clean) storage space. Hallelujah!


Green Freezing




One of my favorite foods now that my diet is mostly veg, is greenery. Not crunchy water greenery but GREENS. In October I was gifted with two boxes full of turnip greens. The Vegetarian was very worried about the ambitious undertaking of preserving and storing this many turnip greens. It turned out to be substantially less work than canning. This is a one person job with lots of big bowls, large pot, steamer/pasta basket, timer, and a sharp knife. Thank heavens the farmer washed the greens thoroughly. That saved me a tremendous amount of time.

1 - Chop greens into strips. The best way is to stack a handful of greens on top of each other. Then roll them together to chop.

2 - Bring water to low boil in large pot with steamer basket. Keep the water below the bottom of the steamer basket.

3 - Steam the greens. It's ok to pack them into the pot. Cover. Take note of the time.

4 - Occasionally, turn the greens with tongs to make sure they evenly cook to your desired consistency.

5 - When they reach your desired consistency, take note of the time and carry on by setting a timer for each new batch. My desired consistency is barely wilted and still vibrant green. If they cook longer, no worries. They'll just have a slightly stronger flavor and less body. Still totally freezable and edible in the months to come. 

6 - Chop greens as greens steam to use your time efficiently.

7 - Store. After they have cooled to room temperature (or been refrigerated overnight because I was too tired to carry on), pack into freezer ziploc bags to desired serving size. Remove all the air when sealing shut. Freeze.

I ate a bag of these yummy greens this week with yellow lentil curry and rice. Now we just have to eat one bag each week until next summer. I might have brought too many home.

Other greens you can freeze include mustard greens, collards, and spinach. How do you preserve and eat your greens?



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