Enjoying farmer’s market bounty all year long

by on August 25th, 2015

I often say the thing that makes our winters worth it is our summers. One thing that contributes is our terrific farmer’s market. In the weeks leading up to the first market of the year I tend to get annoyingly giddy with anticipation. I start daydreaming of fresh produce and happy Iowans finally emerging from their winter habitats. I needn’t suffer all winter from a lack of good local food, however. This year I have been stockpiling fresh produce for my family in various ways.

There are lots of options for this, and ICPL has resources to help you get started. If it’s canning and freezing you’re into, we have a program on safe practices from the Johnson County Extension that you may be interested in:

ICPL has a huge selection of books on canning and preserving. You can find many of these materials under call number 641.4.

Here are just a few selections:
You Can CanBetter Homes and Gardens You Can Can (A Guide to Canning, Preserving, and Pickling)

Home PreservingBall’s Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today

I have a young one at home who will be ready to start eating solids right about the time that getting fresh local produce is impossible. I’m planning ahead by freezing some pureed fruits and veggies (and it’s also so much less expensive than purchasing jarred baby food!)cherries
“Some lovely cherries getting ready to be pureed”

I happened to use the book Realsmart Baby Food, although we have a large selection of books on making homemade baby food.

If you’re interested in batch cooking to store ready made meals in your freezer, we have a lot of options. Last fall I did a batch cook from the book “Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook” The great thing about this book is that it gives you a complete plan for your batch cook, complete with a grocery shopping list and detailed instructions about what order to prep and cook things. However, this means you’re limited to the menu plans that they outline, and if you want to alter any of the recipes you would have to factor that in. We have many more books about make-ahead cooking available in our collection.

So stop by the farmer’s market this weekend and stock up on fresh, local produce that you can enjoy all miserable tolerable Iowa winter long.

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