Preserving Orange peels

There’s a slight nip in the early morning air these days; For me, this holds the anticipation of the winter garden – carrots, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, oranges, apples, guavas, strawberries, tomatoes and much much more – either from your own little patch of green or from the nearest organic store. This season, not only am I keen to try out various recipes that use these different vegetables, I am also happy to rediscover the joy of preserving and drying many of these winter fruits and vegetables so as to savour them through some part of next year too!

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It all started with making candied orange peels for a fruit cake…And then the fragrance of the peels reminded me of a very tasty orange peel chutney eaten at a friend’s place in Sirsi. Before I knew it, I was saving the peel of every orange eaten at home! And when I had made enough chutney and candied peels (for now at least), I used the peels to make a few more bottles of the citrus peel enzyme for the garden and home. I also used them for cakes and cookies.

And so it has been with tomatoes. Actually a winter crop, most of us nowadays use tomatoes so much in our everyday cooking that we hardly pause to give it a second look. But this time I made sure the abundant harvest of tomatoes from my garden was put to good use. So the house now has tomato in various avatars – regular tomato puree to sauce for pasta/pizza to sun-dried tomatoes.

Finding peas selling in City Market at Rs 40 a kg, I have been blanching and freezing them for use over the next few months. Lest the shelling of peas deters you from doing the same, make sure you put your little ones (and big ones!) on the job – they do enjoy it! If you are growing local varieties of corn in your garden or your local organic shop has them, you could blanch and freeze it too. The recent kadalekai parishe at Basavangudi was also a treat. And this means there’s lots of peanut butter/chutney/ podi at home now. Apart from enjoying fresh carrots as salad, soup, vegetable or halwa, you could grate and freeze them. The Hithakbele/ Avarekalu season is just beginning too, should you want to get your hands on some.

Remember to buy root vegetables (carrots, radish, beetroot etc) and others like cauliflower with the leaves on so you can use it not just to prepare a curry but also for making some tasty nutritious soup stock.

And if you think you have more than you need, share it with friends and family – after all it is the season of sharing and gifting.

About Vinita 31 Articles
Vinita shares tips and experiences about all things related to growing an organic garden.

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