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Forage and Storage – Hello Fall

November 22nd, 2012 · No Comments

By Susan Oppenheim

I am a freezer girl and a packrat gourmand. I love the “hunt and gather “ and I live with a 24 hours Sobeys up the lane at Shaw and Dupont, a Loblaws three  blocks away at Christie and Dupont and a Fiesta Farms about 20 doors from my house.This week alone I have taken advantage of their in store specials buying ½ price butter, 2 for 1 berry boxes and $4 off litres of maple syrup.

I use those saved yogurt and margarine containers to neatly stack my berries, fruits, herbs and veggies in my freezer for the long winter ahead. Here are some shopping tips I use to buy up great stuff at really good prices.

I can now easily spot those supermarket discounted pink or yellow stickers -pink is 50 per cent off and yellow is 30 per cent .This can apply  to poultry, fish , meats, packaged and prepared foods,  and baked goods. If it is meat, check the dates (give it at least two days before expiry date marked) and  the colour and condition of the meat-it should be pinkish. Get some good sealing baggies and portion your freezer items to suit your family. And never be shy  to open anything and have a good look or a sniff before paying!

Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries get put “as is” directly into my containers – except for strawberries that I halve and coat with a syrup of a few pureed strawberries as they have a natural pectin. Cherries I pit, halve and coat with a bit of lemon juice and sugar. Peaches, apricots, nectarines etc are dropped into boiling water for about 10 seconds removed quickly then peeled and  cut into wedges. These are tossed also with a bit of lemon juice, sugar and their natural juices and frozen.

Herbs – fresh basil, dill, and parsley are rolled up by hand into “golf balls” then wrapped in tin foil, and frozen. As you use them you slice or shave a bit off and use freely just as you would fresh. Veggies like corn (shaved from the cobs), green beans, broccoli, cauliflowers etc are portioned, placed into boiling water, and quickly drained and frozen. Blanched is the term used. The only two things I find do not freeze well at all are cooked potatoes and mushrooms.

Fiesta has a clearance produce rack and discounted ground beef every night at around 9 p.m. I once got exotic mushrooms and strung them up and dried them for future use in sauces and soups. There are usually ripe bananas for smoothies or baking and sweet peppers and tomatoes that I only have to pop into bags and store. This becomes the foundation of my spaghetti sauces through the winter.

Loblaws nightly clears out all baked goods: muffins, breads, croissants, buns and bagels 2 for 1 at 9 p.m. Many of their whole fancy cakes at the back often have a 50 per cent off pink sticker on them and easily freeze.The best real finds are on holiday long weekends.This is when a lot of the prepared foods also get cleared out. Try Sunday around 9 before the mandatory Monday closing. The meat person puts on the 50 per cent off stickers around 9 at night.The policy at both Sobeys and Loblaws is that if an item advertised on sale in the flyer is not available they must give you a printed rain check and if the cash register rings it up at a different price it is yours for free!

Freezer find fruit cobbler – 375 degree oven for 1 hour

Pam or grease a deep baking dish. I like using pyrex myself but anything will work. Place your fruit into the dish – I used up a bag of three cups of frozen blueberries and added two raw apples – macintosh or spy – (peeled seeded and cut into chunks).You can just use all fresh or all frozen. Have fun with your combinations.

In a cuisinart or using a pastry knife cut or process one cup butter, one cup any flour and one cup brown sugar. Keep it crummy not smooth.You can add a tsp of cinnamon or ginger or allspice if you want. Toss together with one cup of granola or raw oats. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and bake in the center of the oven for an hour. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Tags: Food · Columns