Plastic Free Berries

Now is the time to take advantage of the low prices on abundant fruit to stock up for winter!

It’s honestly so easy to have berries ready for smoothies for basically the whole winter and into spring. I still have raspberries from last summer because I stretched out their use.  The summer previous was the first time I had frozen my own berries in glass jars so I was being extra cautious to not use them all up before more were available this season.

I’ll show how I do this and how I avoid making any trash in the process.

Start with fresh berries. My first choices are raspberries and blueberries. My mom and I picked the raspberries from her bushes, and I purchased the flat of blueberries for $24. They are local and delicious. I love blueberries fresh, so I’ve been eating more of them than freezing for right now. I’ll probably freeze more later.

I used a large and a small baking tray for the raspberries first. Simply place them in the freezer for a few hours and they should all be frozen. The reason you need to spread them out is so they don’t all just freeze together into one clump and become impossible to separate for smoothies / baking / snacking. I didn’t bother washing these as they would have taken forever to dry and would have become stuck to the tray. I trust the source of these and was not worried but had picked through them a bit before placing them onto the tray.

Blueberries are even easier than raspberries due to their spherical shape without so many crannies.

My freezer is regular size and the large tray fit fine in here. I know it’s very disorganized and needs a cleaning at the moment.

Once frozen, I used a metal spatula to just lift the raspberries from their frozen spots.

It’s easier to use a wide funnel for the regular mouth mason jars, but it’s not necessary.

So I have about 4 1/2 quarts of raspberries here which will last a long time! This took very little effort on my part and was also essentially free. The blueberries are a different story, of course, but will end up being much less expensive than frozen berries in the store, especially local berries.

I have 2 quarts of blueberries frozen from just the large tray and I’m sure I’ll freeze more soon.

I don’t have to use glass jars, but I trust that the lids will keep my berries sealed. I’m careful to not slam the jar down on the counter top and make sure these are placed safely in the freezer.

Peace and love,

Kristan

Garden Pasta

This is an on-the-fly post and a quick snapshot before devoured as I was at my sister’s house visiting her and her newborn and had brought lunch ingredients.

The night before I quickly made a garlic scape pesto which was highly improvised with just garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and some salt. I had it with some sourdough bread and it was super spicy!

This dish has:

Spaghetti noodles: found in bulk at WinCo

Peas: picked from my garden

Garlic scape pesto: from the garden + bulk ingredients

Mint: garden

To make pasta:

Boil water and salt and cook spaghetti, adding in peas (shelled peas or snap peas with shell) in the last minute.

Reserve a couple cups of pasta water.

Drain.

Add in 3/4 cup of pesto into pasta water and stir to combine.

Put pasta back into pot, pan, or bowl then top with the pesto sauce.

Top this off with about 1/4 cup or fresh mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Pasta and Beans with Garlic Butter Sage Sauce

You may know I am enamored with the combination of pasta & beans; many types of pasta, many types of beans. There are special pairs that marry and complement well, but I haven’t yet found a match that didn’t work.

The inspiration for this dish came from a desire to use fewer dishes, hence cooking the beans & pasta together, albeit staggered, and also a trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where my husband and I ate a fantastic meal at an unassuming restaurant. I have tried on a few occasions to replicate the creamy, dreamy, sagey beans I ate there as well as the hibiscus & lavender iced tea. It’s honestly extremely refreshing to have vegetarian options that are not a hummus platter, boring veggie sandwich, or some hobbled together side dishes.

Coincidentally, this week I did use Zero Waste Chef’s recipe for making fermented hibiscus soda and it is AMAZING. It also fermented so fast, I burped it on the second day and the contents shot out all over my ceiling and staircase. Kind of a disaster, but it’s my fault for leaving it in a room that was reaching 88F.

The sauce is simply minced garlic and sage leaves fried in some butter, then added olive oil. Nothing else is needed when ingredients are fresh, local, and high quality.

The sage is from my herb garden. The plant has been going strong for at least four years now! I like how the beans find themselves nestled into the pasta shells. It makes for a fun eating experience!

What you could use to make this dish:

Small white navy beans*

Pasta shells

Butter (or just olive oil)

Salt

Sage leaves

Garlic

*What I have been doing when soaking beans is to add salt to the soaking water so they are soaking in a brine rather than plain water and it increases the flavor of the beans exponentially. Soak overnight, then drain the brine.

Add beans to a pot with plenty of water and some more salt.

Cook until nearly tender, then add the pasta and cook until beans and pasta are both perfect textures. Overdone beans are much more pleasant than overdone pasta. Drain the water, then put back into the pan.

Chop garlic and add to a small sauce or frying pan with a pat of butter and the sage. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes, then add in some olive oil and heat until warm.

Top the bean and pasta mixture with the sage and butter sauce.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Kristan