How to Freeze Fruits and Veggies

Freezing Fruits

Wash fruits and sort for damaged fruit before freezing. Some fruits do best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.
Here’s a trick for freezing delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.

For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines, and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit.
An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices in an acidulated water bath — about one-quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice — before drying and freezing.

If you are freezing fruits for smoothies, there is no need to make an ascorbic acid wash.

Banana Ice Cream Recipe

Summer Day Coffee Smoothie

Dark Cherry Smoothie

Strawberry Rhubarb Sage Empanadas (Rhubard freezes super well! Cut into the size you want in your future pies before freezing!)

Freezing Veggies

The best vegetables for freezing are low-acid veggies. When freezing vegetables, first blanch them briefly in boiling water. Then quickly submerge the veggies in ice water to prevent them from cooking. Dry thoroughly on paper towel-lined sheet pans.
Why blanch? Blanching prevents enzymes from damaging color, flavor, and nutrients. Blanching also destroys unkind microorganisms that might be lingering on the surface of vegetables. Pack vegetables snuggly to avoid air contact.
If you are freezing vegetables for stock, there is no need to blanch.

Veggie Stock Recipe

Garren Vegetable Bake (Zucchini and Pea save very well in the freezer!)

Veggie Scrap Snacks

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Composting Guide

Compost can be used as a fertilizer for your plants and garden with no risk of burning like with synthetic fertilizers. It also contains many beneficial microorganisms that keep away plant disease.

There are two types of home composting, Hot Composting and Cold Composting. Cold composting takes very little effort but will take much more time to produce compost. Hot composting requires more effort but will produce compost much quicker. Here is guide for the two:

Cold Composting

What you will need:
  • A large bin or hole in your yard
  • Worms (if you are digging a hole in your yard you wont need to buy many)
  • Dried yard trimmings (leaves, small pieces of wood)
  • Paper or egg cartons (and egg shells!)
  • A little healthy nutrient dense soil
  • Food Waste (can be added as you produce)

Food Waste:

Stick to leafy greens and produce with low acidity:

  • Banana peels
  • Chard, Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Spinach, etc
  • Carrots, beets, and other roots

Avoid high acidic produce:

  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks

Instructions:
  1. Prep your bin or dig your hole. 
  2. Add yard trimmings and paper to the bottom on the bin.
  3. Then add your nutrient dense soil and worms. 
  4. Add food scraps as you acquire them.
  5. Mix the compost pile whenever or never. 
  6. It will take 6 months to a year to get completed compost

Hot Composting

What you will need:
  • A large bin or hole in your yard
  • Worms
  • Dried yard trimmings (leaves, small pieces of wood)
  • Paper or egg cartons (and egg shells!)
  • A little healthy nutrient dense soil
  • Food Waste (can be added as you produce)
  • Water

Food Waste:

Stick to leafy greens and produce with low acidity:

  • Banana peels
  • Chard, Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Spinach, etc
  • Carrots, beets, and other roots

Avoid high acidic produce:

  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks

Your pile should maintain 1 part food waste and 2 parts dried yard trimmings. A healthy pile will 141F to 155F. This temperature will kill all weed seeds and disease pathogens.

Instructions:
  1. Prep your bin or dig your hole. 
  2. Add yard trimmings and paper to the bottom on the bin.
  3. Then add your nutrient dense soil and worms. 
  4. Add food scraps as you acquire them.
  5. Mix the compost pile 2-4 times a week. Check the temperature during each mix.
  6. It should stay damp, add water if needed.  
  7. It will take at least a few weeks to make compost.
  8. Use it in your garden and mix it in with soil when repotting indoor plants!

Written By Madison Suoja, Education and Outreach Specialist

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Layered Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge

Stuck at home and looking for a fun and delicious recipe that the whole family will love? We have just what you need, easy layered peanut butter freezer fudge! This simple yet hands-on recipe makes for the perfect sweet treat while also being dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan!

This recipe is also an opportunity to try out some of the Fair Trade products that we have in our store! Coconut Oil and Chocolate are products that traditionally have not always fairly compensated the farmers that produce them. Buying Fair Trade versions of these products makes a positive impact on the lives of these farmers and makes the cultivation of these products more sustainable as well. For this recipe, we suggest using Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil and Equal Exchange chocolate chips, but we have many more Fair Trade options in our store for you to choose from! You can find some of our staff’s favorite Fair Trade items in another of our blog posts.

What You’ll Need:
  • 8×8 inch Baking Dish
  • Parchment Paper
  • Small Saucepan
  • Small Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Spoons/Cups
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Baking Sheet
  • Ziplock Bag (optional)

Ingredients:
  • 1 + ½ cup Peanut Butter
  • 6-8 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 ½ cup Oat Flour (Divided)
  • ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk (Divided)
  • 2-3 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Chocolate Chips

Makes 12+ servings!

Instructions:
  1. Begin by heating the small saucepan over low heat and adding in 1 cup of the peanut butter and all of the maple syrup.
  2. Mix together the peanut butter and maple syrup, stirring constantly for about one minute or until smooth.
  3. Remove the peanut butter mixture from the heat and evenly divide into two mixing bowls.
  4. To one of the mixing bowls add in half of the oat flour (¾ cup), half of the coconut milk (½ cup), and all of the cocoa powder. Mix until smooth and thick to form the chocolate layer.
  5. To the other mixing bowl add in the remaining oat flour (¾ cup), remaining coconut milk (½ cup), and remaining peanut butter (½ cup). Mix until smooth and creamy to form the peanut butter layer.
  6. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and using clean hands or a rubber spatula press the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer.
  7. Scoop the peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate layer and press into an even layer on top.
  8.  Place in the freezer overnight or for at least 3 hours to set.
  9. Once fully set remove the layered freezer fudge from the parchment and cut into 2-inch cubes.
  10.  Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a small saucepan or double boiler over medium-low heat until smooth and creamy, being careful to not burn the chocolate by stirring constantly. 
  11.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12.  Using a fork or slotted spoon, dip each fudge chunk into the melted chocolate sauce, drain off extra chocolate by gently tapping the side of the bowl and then set on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  13.  Place into the freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the chocolate sauce to harden.
  14.  *Optional – For an extra touch scoop a tablespoon or two of peanut butter into a small ziplock bag. Using scissors cut off the tip of one of the bottom corners of the bag and use it as a frosting piper to drizzle peanut butter on top of each fudge chunk!

Store in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for up to a month.

*Recipe Adjustments:
  • Peanut butter can be substituted with almond or cashew butter.
  • Coconut milk can be substituted with any plant-based milk.

Tips:
  • If your peanut butter is extra thick add a splash of extra coconut milk to help with mixing and if your peanut butter is thin and drippy add an extra ½ tbsp of oat flour to thicken it up.
  • To make your own oat flour simply pour whole rolled oats into a food processor, high-powered blender, or clean coffee grinder.

Recipe developed by our staff member, Rheanna Smith. Rheanna has a background in nutrition and food science, and along with working in many departments here at the Davis Food Co-op she actively runs a food blog containing healthy recipes and nutrition tips. Keep an eye on our Co-op blog to see some of her recipes and give her Instagram account a follow for additional health tips and ideas, @rheannnabanana.

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Sowing Seeds to Start Your Vegetable Garden

Cherry Tomato Sprouts!
The roots are breaking through the bottom of the carton! Time to repot!
  1. First, pick your favorite seeds out at the Co-op. Make sure to read the instructions on the back as all plants like to start growing at different times!

2. Cut up some old egg cartons and fill each section with soil. Place 2-3 seeds in each section.

3. Mist the seeds and soil thoroughly every day until the sprouts are 2-3 inches. When they reach this size it is time to repot and you can leave them in the egg cartons! If you look closely some of the roots may already be tearing through the carton! Repot the sprouts in quart-sized pots, remember to water them regularly.

To encourage lots of growth, keep the soil moist but do not leave your plant in puddles. Allow them to grow about 1 to 1.5 feet, then move to a 5 gal pot or pot in the ground. For the first few weeks, you want to water them every day, once they reach maturity you want to start watering them less. Let the soil dry out completely before watering them again. The decrease in water will make convince the plant that it is time to start producing! 

Once it is 1 to 1.5 feet, transfer to a large 5-gallon pot or in the ground!
Repot the sprout (still in the egg carton!) into a slightly larger pot until it reaches 1-1.5 feet.

4. Cutting back your plant will encourage more growth, especially with tomatoes and peppers! Cut off the very tips of the plants once they are about 2 feet and the plant will form more stems, which means more fruit!

Written by Madison Suoja, Education and Outreach Specialist

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