02/20/2016 TimberGardener 0Comment

Hoarding food is a fun new activity we’ve gotten into. It started last summer when we took turns obsessively canning, freezing, or drying everything we harvested from the garden. I am embarrassed to say I had never canned anything before the summer of 2015! I had helped family in the past, but Toby was the canner/pressure cooker expert. We decided early on that we should try to can everything, since we only had one standing freezer out in the garage. It fills up quickly with the elk, deer, turkeys, and fish Toby usually brings home.

Some things just store better frozen though, namely greens and broccoli. I love broccoli so I didn’t risk it…I just blanched and froze my crop of broccoli and broccolini. I froze SOME of the kale, spinach, purple orach, and mustard greens. But we also pressure-canned a lot of it…and by a lot I mean over 30 jars of various sad-looking greens. You can pack an incredible amount into a pint. They don’t stand a chance in the jar, they have too many strikes against them. First you blanch them in boiling water (to deactivate any enzymes that would break down the greens in storage) and stuff them into the jar. Then at 5000′ we have to pressure cook greens for 70 MINUTES to process them safely, which gives them enough time to turn grayish green and fuse to the sides of the jars in an appealing way. It’s important to label them because they all look exactly the same by the time you are finished. (Then again, everything becomes ‘spinach’ once it is processed, at least as far as recipes are concerned.) Lastly we have very hard water, so it’s hard to avoid that faint white residue that shows up on pans, toilets, etc. In the shower it looks like I don’t care about cleaning, but in the jar it looks slightly like mold. Their shelf appeal is almost zero.

Thirty jars of moldy, gray, rubbery greens, waiting on the shelf like the kids who get picked last for dodgeball. I think the salsa feels bad for them as it flies off the shelf. My advice to you and to my 2016 self is don’t do it. Just freeze them.

IMG_0443

 

Occasionally I steel myself (deep breath) and pop one open, and they are fine added to soup or heavily sautéed and used for cooking. There is nothing wrong with them really. But your lips will involuntarily curl as you pull (a surprising amount! of) tangled rubbery greenery out of the jar.

Two pros of canning greens: they supposedly retain some nutrients, and I can send you a jar in the mail. Please leave your information below if you are interested in a jar of greens as I have described them in this post.

In November we bought a chest freezer. Next year I am going to fill that thing with frozen greens, and their spot on the shelf will be taken up by thirty jars of whatever new canning mistake we make. We could go through that much horseradish in a winter, right?