Mar 27

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Home Grown Helpers

Prepping your kitchen for a new commitment to eat healthy?  Whether you are planning to grow your own organic vegetables, shop at your neighborhood farmers market, or participate in a CSA, there are a few items you can add to your kitchen to help you enjoy locally grown foods throughout the growing season and beyond.  When we joined a CSA this year these items quickly came out of storage or went on our “wish list” for items to help us in our commitment to eat real all year long.


1 – Vacuum sealer

When some friends of ours heard we were participating in a CSA this season they blessed us with one of these as a Christmas present.  If you have ever wondered if there is a better way to store foods in the freezer than those self-locking bags that don’t seem to keep out freezer burn, rest assured the answer is – YES.  Vacuum sealing makes frozen foods last longer and taste better when used.  Vacuum sealing is also a good way to preserve dehydrated foods such as homemade jerky.  The sealing process locks in the flavor and keeps the foods fresher for later use.


2 – Dehydrator

Ours was already an often used item in our house because once we started making our own jerky we quickly developed a small following with our friends.  Every so often someone will drop the hint about how they haven’t had good jerky in a while, and the dehydrator comes out of hiding.  Recently my brother taught me a few things about using the dehydrator to make dried fruit and vegetable snacks, and now I am hooked.  Trying to eat real and healthy snacks can be a challenge, and I can’t wait to learn more about making my own home-processed snacks and maybe even some camping foods.


3 – Hand blender

This was also a well used item in our house for its ability to puree soups and make mashed cauliflower with ease.

When our old faithful broke after 10 years we decided to upgrade to a version that doubles as a chopper.  This added feature makes Nutty Fruit Cups a cinch to make.


4 – From Asparagus to Zucchini

I love this book!  It served as my winter research material and will certainly become my go-to guide when the harvesting begins.  The publication goes through a long list of common CSA fare and presents their history, recipes for use, and preservation tips.  It’s like having a cheat sheet ready when you open your box of goodies and think “how on earth do I cook that?”

5 – Do It Yourself Composter

Ok, this one is still on the wish list (and doesn’t really go well in the kitchen!)  Real food results in food scraps you can recycle into fresh, organic compost.  I’ve always wanted to try this at home – anyone our there with composting tips to share?



Permanent link to this article: http://eatingreal.com/blog/2012/03/home-grown-helpers/

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