Kale and Potato Soup with Parmesan and Olive Oil. From the Kitchen of Blackwell Smith

This truly savory soup is great for those cold winter days and nights. This dish does contain bacon and anchovies. If these ingredients don’t fit your diet, don’t fret. Just substitute mushrooms, a little more salt and some more garlic. Not all bacon is the same. Some is very smokey. Some is very salty. So taste as you season and always have ingredients prepped before you start cooking.

1 bunch of kale cut into 1/4 inch ribbons leaves and stems (any variety will do)
1 medium russet potato cut into 4 wedges then slice each wedge into 1/4 inch sliced
1 medium sweet potato, prepare same as russet potato
1 tablespoon anchovies chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large shallot julienne sliced
3oz favorite bacon sliced into 1/4 inch bits
6 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese and olive oil for garnish
Preheat 6 quart stock pot over medium high heat
Render bacon (cook over low to medium heat) or substitute mushroom and olive oil
Add garlic, shallot and anchovies, stir into pan and brown (this step will create one of my favorite smells in the world)
Add sweet and russet potatoes, saute for a minute
Add veggie stock and bring to boil then reduce to simmer until potatoes are tender
Add kale and simmer until tender, about ten minutes
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Remember all bacon and anchovies have different salt content so taste before you season.
Garnish with Parmesan and olive oil.
Serve with a grilled cheese or toasted bread. You could add grains, red pepper flakes or fresh sage if you like. I sometimes add a squeeze of fresh lemon. Enjoy!!

Green Coconut Soup Base


If you like Thai inspired food, you are going to love this soup base. I simply puree sauteed greens, 1 can of coconut milk and 1 can of water together to create a healthy base that you can add just about anything to. Thai food is traditionally a balance between spicy, sweet, savory and sour so your options are endless if you add a little of each element (I have plenty of suggestions below). The other element of Thai cooking I love is that certain items, such as garlic, ginger and hot peppers, aren’t necessarily cooked before they are added to the final dish. This results in lots of bright, fresh flavor.

We hope you experiment and find a combination that you love!

Green Coconut Soup Base
makes about 4 servings

Recipe note: the additional ingredients listed below are just what I used – you can alter them in any way to suit your tastes.

Green Soup Base Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces (or one bunch) Summerfest Asian greens (or other greens of choice), stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can water (just fill up the coconut milk can with water)

Additional Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 pound sweet potatoes or winter squash (I love using the red Kuri squash from The Healthy Kitchen because you can eat the skin!), seeded and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or substitute soy sauce if vegetarian)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Juice from one lime
  • Thinly sliced hot peppers
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Green Soup Base Directions:

  • In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium until shimmering. Add the greens and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender along with the coconut milk and water. Blend on high speed until the greens are fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Transfer the liquid back into the Dutch oven.
  • To the coconut soup base, add the sweet potatoes or winter squash and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Mustard Greens Soup with Poblanos and Almonds


The combination of mustard greens, poblanos and almonds may seem like a strange mix at first but I urge you to give it a try. The toasty, roasty almonds and poblanos provide depth whereas the greens compliment with a bright, fresh flavor.

This recipe is lightly adapted from this one by Rick Bayless. He doesn’t puree all of the soup as I recommend below, but instead leaves about half of the ingredients roughly chopped and mixed into the rest. I like to puree all of the soup for simplicity and then get some textural contrast from the garnishes.


Mustard Greens Soup with Poblano and Almonds
makes about 6 cups / 4-6 servings

Recipe note: you can use other greens in place of mustard greens – arugula, kale, collards, Swiss chard or even chickweed, dead nettle or henbit.


  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, plus a few extra for garnish if you wish
  • medium fresh poblano chiles
  • medium (about 1/2 pound) Yukon Gold potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • bunch (about 8 ounces) mustard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups vegetable stock or water, plus a little more if needed
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Garnishes: I suggest a mix of something fatty (diced hard-boiled eggs, avocado) plus something crunchy (tortilla chips, extra almonds) but you could also use diced tofu, mushrooms, chicken or shrimp.


  • Toast almonds in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly brown, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Adjust oven rack to the upper third of the oven and heat the broiler on high. Remove the stem end and seeds from the poblanos and cut into quarters lengthwise (you may need to cut them into smaller pieces to ensure they lay flat). Place on a foil lined sheet pan and broil until the skin is black and blistered, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool and peel skin from the peppers. Add to a blender jar and set aside.
  • Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the almonds, potatoes, and garlic and boil for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the mustard greens and cook until wilted but still bright green, about 1-2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, scoop almonds, potatoes, garlic and greens into a blender jar and set aside.
  • Add 2-1/2 cups of stock or water, salt and lime juice to the blender and puree on high until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add more stock or water to reach desire consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • If you plan to serve immediately, transfer to an empty saucepan and heat gently over medium-low until warm. Top with garnish of choice and serve.


Weekly Farm Notes :: Dec 2nd, 2015


This is the last week of our “Falling into Greens” CSA session. We are offering three separate pickups this week – 1st at market tomorrow, 2nd at Brainard Market on Saturday and 3rd on Main Street on Saturday. Please make sure you have prearranged your pickup with Mark & Gina.

In case you missed it, we have a new preservation post this week on Stem Jam. We get a lot of greens and a lot of stems! Stash them away in the freezer and make this jam at the end of the week.


December 2nd Produce

Here are the items you can expect at Market (denoted by M) and/or in the CSA (denoted by CSA):

  • Tender Collards {M/CSA}: I have been interested in making West African Peanut Soup for a while, but it is definitely on my list now that I found a recipe with collard greens added in!
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard {M/CSA}: although the cold and rain makes us crave cooked, hearty food, don’t neglect getting a daily dose of raw greens! This article will give you lot of tips to make a Swiss chard smoothie taste great.
  • Red Russian & Toscano Kale {M/CSA}: noodles of any kind make for quick weeknight meals. Check out this Garlic Soba Noodles recipe and toss in any number of the greens suggested.
  • Spicy Large Leaf Arugula {M/CSA}: the spiciness of these greens is a great counterpoint to richer dishes. Add some to egg salad, pizza or mac’n’cheese!
  • Red & Green Mild Mustard {CSA}: check out our new Indian Inspired Green Sauce with Potatoes for a tasty way to use your mustard greens!
  • Beets {CSA}: have you tried beet kvass yet? I tried it for the first time a month ago and loved the results! I fermented mine a few days longer than is recommended in the link above so mine was probably a bit funkier. I used most of the juice and beets in smoothies but the juice is great straight, mixed with syrups or sparkling water or in a cocktail.
  • Daikon Radish {CSA}: although this Sweet Pickled Daikon Radish recipe was designed for canning, just store in the refrigerator to keep it easy.
  • Kohlrabi {CSA}: our Kohlrabi Hash Browns recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal or a lazy Sunday brunch.
  • Green Butterhead & Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce {CSA}: looking for some salad inspiration? Take a look at The Essential Elements to a Satisfying Salad post and make a salad you’ll love.
  • Spicy Asian Mustard Greens {M}: check out our new Indian Inspired Green Sauce with Potatoes for a tasty way to use your mustard greens!
  • Jerusalem Artichokes {M}: have you tried these fried yet? I have made “chips” where they were thinly sliced and then fried but I haven’t tried them battered and fried. This recipe sounds great if you want to try your hand at it!
  • Awesome Asian Salad Mix {M}: sometimes, you just need to hard boil or fry and egg and call it dinner. Spice that idea up a bit and make this Mixed Green Salad with Egg, Avocado and Creamy Lemon-Dill Dressing.
  • Cilantro {M}: we all need quick, flavorful, make-ahead sauces that taste great on just about anything. Add this vegan Spicy Cilantro Sauce recipe to the list.


Alice O’Dea Article

Have you read Alice O’Dea’s recent article? This week, she explores the wonders of making a pan sauce…if you haven’t made one before, you need this information!

Carrot & Turmeric Soup


Making this soup is a lesson in balancing fresh and cooked flavor and seasoning based on taste. The base of the soup – onion, turmeric, carrots, coconut milk – would make a nice soup by itself, but it is definitely kicked up a notch by adding fresh flavors at the end. I like to incorporate fresh versions of ingredients cooked in the soup, like the carrots and turmeric. It helps to intensify both of those flavors and brightens up the dish. I then added two additional ingredients that I think almost every dish needs at the end – a little acidity and a little sweetness (a lot of dishes need extra salt too but I added plenty in the beginning). I chose apple cider vinegar and honey as I think they pair nicely with the other flavors but you can play around and try what you like (lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup or sorghum in place of the honey might be nice). Whichever route you decide to take, just taste, make small adjustments, and taste again. Enjoy!

Carrot & Turmeric Soup
makes about 4 servings for a main dish, 6 for a side dish

Recipe notes: 1) I found fresh turmeric at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago so have been using that over dried. If you don’t have access to fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead and add it all in the beginning with the garlic; 2) I preferred this soup the day after making it as the flavors had time to really blend and smooth out, but it was still very good the day of.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1-1/8 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • To serve: croutons and/or chives


  • Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and garlic and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add 1 pound of carrots, water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining turmeric and carrots, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and honey and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Barley and Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard


I found the soup below here, and although I made a few small tweaks, it’s pretty close to the original. I considered swapping out or adding to the only spice used, cumin, but I am so glad I didn’t. Cumin and Swiss chard is now one of my favorite flavor combinations! It might not sound like they go together well but you really should try it.

I love the combination here of barley and lentils as it provides substance and protein. It’s really a one pot meal. If you don’t have any of the vegetables listed below, try it with whatever you have on hand. This is a soup that can be altered in so many ways. Check out our Essential Steps to Vegetable Based Soups for inspiration!

Barley and Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard
makes about 6 servings

Recipes notes: the amount of time it takes to cook both the barley and lentils is close to the same but it really depends on the age of the lentils. Older beans take longer to cook. Start with fresh lentils for best results.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 small carrots, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 12 large Swiss chard leaves, leaves and stems separated with the leaves cut into rough 1″ pieces and the stems sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup pearled barley
  • 2/3 cup French lentils or other lentils that hold their shape
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 cup roughly chopped drained whole canned tomatoes (substitute canned diced tomatoes)


  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots, and Swiss chard stems. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute. Add broth, barley, lentils, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley and lentils are tender, about 40 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes). Add the Swiss chard leaves and tomatoes and cook until the greens have wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or cool and store in an air-tight container for up to 7 days.

Charred Vegetable Stock


The “Fall into Greens” CSA session starts next week and we couldn’t be more excited! We look forward to providing you and your loved ones with healthy, nutrient dense food. Contact us if you haven’t signed up yet!

We plan on making a lot more soup now that the weather will be cooling down a bit. One may think of ingredients first when building a soup but we suggest starting with the stock. A great stock is one of the most important (if not THE most important) elements to a great soup. Many think that a great stock means hours and hours of simmering on the stove but you can get great flavor with minimal ingredients in just over 30 minutes.

I made this stock for an egg drop soup but it can be altered in so many ways – use different vegetables (onion, leeks, carrots, fennel, etc), add whole spices (cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, star anise, cumin seeds, whole cloves, etc), or char the vegetables on the grill instead of under the broiler (which would also give the stock a nice smoky flavor). Play around with it but I think you will agree that the small amount of time it takes will give you a big payoff in flavor.

Charred Vegetable Stock
makes 1 quart


  • 3-1/4 ounces scallions (white and light green parts only), from about 8 scallions
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4-1/2 cups water (to account for water that evaporates so you are left with a quart of stock)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt to taste


  • Place oven rack in the middle-upper position and heat the broiler to high.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and evenly space scallions, ginger and garlic around the sheet. Place in oven and cook until first side is blackened, about 5 minutes (check every couple of minutes as broilers vary greatly). Remove from oven and flip everything over. Return to oven and cook until second side is blackened, about another 5 minutes.
  • Transfer cooked vegetables to a medium saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes. Strain the vegetables, pressing on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Once cool enough, taste and adjust seasoning as needed (I added soy sauce and some additional salt).

The Essential Steps to Vegetable Based Soup


It’s September already! That means the “Fall into Greens” CSA session is just around the corner! If you haven’t signed up yet and still have questions, stop by and talk to Mark and Gina tomorrow at market. They will have eggs for sale along with Lemon Balm & Mint infused water to help beat the heat!


The upcoming CSA will provide lots of veggies that are perfect for soup. I love soup for many reasons: it’s easy to prepare, easy to make in big batches, it freezes well and can be a catch all for items that need to be used up before going bad. As much as I don’t think anyone needs a recipe for soup, I also recognize that it is hard to build flavor and substance in a vegetable based soup.

Below is an overview without any specific recipes included. I would encourage you to use this as a starting point and to experiment yourself. I plan to include recipes on the blog and will frequently refer back to the this post. Have fun and eat well!

Essential Steps:

  • Fat: heating fat in a large stockpot is the first step to making a soup. Fat carries flavor so don’t skimp on this step. You can use butter, clarified butter (which has a higher smoke point), vegetable oil or animal fat (if you aren’t a vegetarian).
  • Aromatics: once your fat of choice is shimmering, add one or more aromatics. These ingredients can be cooked for a short period of time over low heat for a more delicate flavor or they can be sauteed for a long time over higher heat for a deep, rich flavor. Different cuisines use different mixtures of aromatics:
    • French – mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery)
    • Cajun – holy trinity (onion, celery, green bell pepper)
    • Latin and Spanish – sofrito (onion, garlic, tomato)
    • Chinese – green onion, garlic and ginger
    • Thai – basil, lemongrass and ginger
    • Indian – onion, garlic and hot chiles
  • Spices: if you are using any spices in your soup, be sure to bloom them in the fat with the aromatics (the flavor in most spices is fat soluble, meaning you won’t taste them as well if they are added to water). The options are endless – let us know what spice combinations you love in soup!
  • Vegetables: vegetables need to be added at different times depending on how long they take to cook.
    • Add root / dense vegetables with aromatics – carrots, squash, beets, turnips, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, asparagus, fennel, parsnips, peppers. Also, I like to saute some vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts or eggplant, first to get more flavor from them.
    • Add hearty greens and a few others mid way through the cooking process – kale, collards, mustard, chard, turnip greens, green beans, cabbage, fresh peas, fresh corn, tomatoes
    • Add delicate items off heat – spinach, frozen peas, herbs
  • Grains: most grains can be cooked directly in the soup. You need to consider 1) how long the grains will take to cook and 2) the volume change from the dried to cooked grains – for example, 1 cup of rice yields 3 cups of cooked rice. If you need a good reference for grain yields, check out this site. Here is a list of my favorite grains to add to soups:
    • Rice, quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, barley, buckwheat, farro.
  • Beans/Lentils: beans and lentils are a great way to add protein and body to a soup.
    • Dried beans should be cooked separately as they take much longer to cook than most vegetables. You can incorporate the bean cooking water into the soup and then add the cooked beans off heat after the soup is done.
    • Most lentils can be cooked directly in soup and only take 20-30 minutes. French lentils will hold their shape after cooking whereas red and yellow lentils will become mushy. Both are great in different types of soup.
  • Stock: next add enough liquid to create what you think looks like a soup (knowing you can always add more later). You can use water to make a soup but I think it is really worth the extra time and effort to make a vegetarian stock. There are many types to choose from and many can be made in advance and frozen if needed.
    • Vegetable stock:
      • Very basic vegetable stocks usually include some combination of onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, garlic, parsley stems and/or whole spices.
      • To oomph up the flavor, brown the vegetables in oil before adding water and the other ingredients.
    • Mushroom stock:
      • You can take take the basic vegetable stock recipe above and add dried mushroom or fresh sauteed mushrooms.
    • Kombu stock:
      • Dashi is the traditional Japanese stock made from kombu and bonito (tuna) flakes and makes a great base for many types of soup. If you want an entirely vegetarian version, you will need to remove the bonito flakes and add another type of seaweed, such as wakame, along with some mirin, soy sauce and sugar.
    • Red stock:
      • Red stocks include tomato paste in addition to other ingredients, usually similar to those in a vegetable stock. The tomato paste can be browned in fat to deepen the color and flavor.
  • Cook: bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Check vegetables and/or grains frequently for doneness as to not overcook.
  • Cool Slightly, then Taste: this step is perhaps the most important of all. You can elevate a decent soup to a wonderful soup if you season it correctly. This takes practice – add a little, taste, and adjust again if needed. Here are the basic flavor components you need to consider and adjust if necessary:
    • Salt: salt, soy sauce, fish sauce
    • Acid: citrus juice or zest, vinegar, wine/liquor
    • Fat: butter, oil, yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche
    • Sweetness: granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup, sorghum
  • Garnish:
    • Delicate fresh herbs: really great to add to dense, rich soups that need a boost of freshness. Basil, parsley, cilantro are all great additions.
    • Cooked pasta: unless you are certain that all of the soup will be eaten immediately, I would recommend cooking pasta separately and adding it at the end. Otherwise, it will get mushy.
    • Croutons or bread
    • Cheese
    • Toasted nuts or seeds

What else would you add to this list? We would love to hear from you!

Cherry Tomato Gazpacho


I think it is required to eat gazpacho at least once during the summer. It is so fast and refreshing, perfect for dinner on a steamy evening. We hope you enjoy our version!

Cherry Tomato Gazpacho
makes 2 generous servings

Recipe notes: 1) I used Niedlov’s sourdough bread but any white sandwich loaf will do; 2) I didn’t peel the cucumber because the skins on our Diva cucumbers are thin. If you have cucumbers with thick, bitter skin, I would suggest peeling beforehand.


  • 1 large slice (1-1/4 ounces) white bread
  • 1-1/4 pound cherry tomatoes, stems removed
  • 1 medium (6-1/2 ounces) cucumber, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium (1-1/2 ounces) peeled and trimmed shallot
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 2-3 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and thinly sliced basil for serving


  • If you don’t have slightly stale, day-old bread, toast the bread to dry it out a bit. You want it to be just a little golden. Tear into large pieces and add to a blender.
  • Set aside 2-3 ounces (a small handful) of tomatoes for garnish and place the remaining in the blender with the bread.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, starting with 2 teaspoons vinegar, to the blender. Process on high until very smooth, 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer to a bowl and top with remaining tomatoes, halved, olive oil and basil. Serve.

Preserving the Harvest :: Freezing


Of all the ways to preserve food, freezing is probably my favorite. It’s a great way to preserve the nutrients of fresh food for an extended period of time, leaving one with lots of meal ideas. It is relatively quick and you don’t need any fancy equipment, just some extra storage containers. The downside, however, is space. Unless you have a deep freezer, you will be limited on the amount of food you can safely store in the freezer (your freezer won’t work efficiently and keep food as cold as it should be if it is stuffed to the brim).

If you aren’t familiar with freezing food, check out this, this and this website for information on how freezing food works and how to do it safely. Here are the tips I think are most important:

  • Click here for a list of foods that don’t freeze well.
  • Click here for a run down of storage containers.
    • To this, I would add that I prefer freezing items, especially sauces, in ice cube trays. Once frozen through, I transfer the cubes to a ziperlock bag. Others have recommended freezing soups and stews in a similar fashion but in muffin tins.
  • Here is a general guideline on how long foods can be frozen. Note: this depends on if food is stored in the appropriate package and at the correct temperature.
  • No one likes freezer burn – here are some great tips on how to avoid it.

Below are some of my favorite ways to make the most out of my seasonal produce and freezer space.

  • Soups & Stews:
    • Most soups and stews are great for the freezer but here are a few that ARE NOT:
      • Cream or dairy based soup/stews might separate when thawed (although it is possible to whisk to recombine)
      • Soups/stews that include delicate seafood won’t have a great texture when reheated
      • Those thickened with eggs or cornstarch may turn out watery
      • Potatoes change texture and breakdown when thawed, which might be ok depending on the dish, but just something to keep in mind
    • Here are some ideas for soups and stews that work really well in the freezer:
      • Pureed soup: winter squash, tomato, potato, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots all make an excellent base for pureed soup. I haven’t tried this yet, but I doesn’t this pureed Kale and Apple Soup sound like a great way to make a freezer ready meal with your greens?
      • Lentil/bean soup/stew: red lentils are a staple at my house (typically curried red lentils with greens) and they make a fantastic make ahead meal that is perfect for the freezer. This is a pretty straight-forward recipe that can be doctored up anyway you like. But don’t limit yourself to lentils – chickpeas, black beans, white beans and pinto beans are all great.
      • Grain based soup/stew: almost all grains will freeze well except for white rice. It usually turns mushy. Stick with brown or wild rice (like this recipe) and you shouldn’t have any problems.
      • Meaty soup/stew/stew: chilis and other meat based soups and stews freeze really well.
  • Sauces:
    • Most sauces, unless cream based, will freeze really well. Here is just a brief list of options:
      • Tomato based sauces, such as marinara
      • Oil based sauce, such as chimichurri
      • Pureed sauces, such as pesto
      • Peanut sauce
      • Fruit based sauces, such as cranberry sauce
      • BBQ sauce
  • Blanched Veggies:
    • Raw vegetables need to be blanched before freezing in order to stop the enzymatic activity that will degrade the nutrients, flavor and color. This is a great overview on the blanching process and how long to blanch different types of vegetables.
  • Veggie Cubes:
    • This is great for the weeks when you can’t get through all of your greens. Simply add the leaves and any tender stems to a blender with a couple cups of water. Process on high until fully broken down. Add more greens, process again, and continue this process until you have a thick but still flowable puree. Pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze until frozen through, usually about 12 hours. Remove cubes from the tray and place in a zipper lock bag. Use in smoothies, soups or stews.
  • Fruit:
    • Fruit is one of the easiest things to freeze: wash fruit and dry thoroughly. Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag or vacuum sealed bag.
  • Compound Butter:
    • Compound butter is a so easy to put together and can turn a boring meal into something special. It is also a great way to integrate any herbs you haven’t found another use for. I make a batch, freeze it, and then slice off chunks and add it to anything that needs a little flavor boost. You don’t really need a recipe: just add some of your favorite flavors to softened butter until well combined. Then form the butter into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze (here is a step-by-step tutorial). I recently made a compound butter with parsley, green garlic, smoked paprika and sweet paprika and it is a big hit!
  • Herbs:
    • It never occurred to me that you can freeze hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme right on the branches. This blog post reports almost fresh tasting herbs after a year in the freezer!
    • Place chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro or basil, in ice cube trays and cover with olive oil or water. Freeze until frozen then transfer to a plastic bag.
  • Baked Goods:
    • Baked goods, such as quick breads, muffins and snack cakes are great for the freezer. We will all get sick of zucchini by the end of the summer, at which point it’s time for zucchini bread! But don’t limit yourself to zucchini – try sweet potatoes, beets, and squash in your quick breads.

Let us know your tips, tricks and favorite freezer recipes!