Sunday, January 26, 2014

Country Produce: Fresh or Frozen

Most of us like fresh fruit and veggies; because of faster and more efficient shipping methods than even 20 years ago, out-of-season produce is often available, but at what cost? Taste is a big issue for me, especially tomatoes. Blehk!!  Hot-house-grown tomatoes leave a lot to be desired. You really don’t have to have tomatoes to make a good salad.

One of my favorite supper salads includes diced apples, chopped nuts, diced cucumbers, finely chopped sweet onion, diced bell pepper and shredded carrots.  Add an Asian Sesame Dressing, or a simple oil and vinegar and dinner is ready.

Frozen fruit and vegetables are a good alternative to over-priced and hot-house “plastic” varieties.  These cold winter months are a great time to purchase frozen produce.  Generally speaking, fruits and veggies are packed at their peak, so the selection will be good.

Be very careful to rotate and exchange foods in your refrigerator-freezer on a regular basis.  The ‘frost free’ feature in your appliance will play havoc with food left for any length of time.  Don’t purchase an abundance of any frozen food product unless you have an upright or chest-style freezer in which to store your cache as you are risking losing some food.  If you just have to purchase a huge amount because you just can’t pass up a good bargain and have no extra freezer, plan on using that food within 2 to 3 weeks.

Check with your local County Extension office to find out what is fresh during these cold months, and year-round.  A county agent can be your best friend.  That agent can identify bugs and other vermin, wild varmints, soil condition, water safety and much more.

“White sales” used to be very popular ‘back in the day’’ and linens usually are on sale at this time of the year. Other good buys in this off-season include carpeting, motorcycles, cell phones, furniture and luggage.  You probably should wait until mid February to purchase new televisions and home theaters.

I hope your week is filled with Country blessings.
© 2014 Cat Brennan