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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Refrigerator Tetris Time!

I wrote recently about central Asian melons, but really, at this time of year, there is quite a bit of all sorts of produce available.  We went to the Yevrasia bazaar with some friends yesterday, and ever since we got back, I have been playing Tetris in my refrigerator, trying desperately to maximize on space until we can either eat or freeze our bounty.

Yesterday's haul included tomatoes (4 kg. of tomatoes, to be precise!), basil, cilantro, plums, peaches, nectarines, eggplant, strawberries, raspberries, walnuts, cashews, dried apricots, and a few types of Korean-style salads.

A couple of our friends hosted a tomato sauce cooking party, and we now have three ziplock bags of tomato sauce in our freezer.  I tried loosely basing the sauce I cooked off a recipe that suggested cutting the tomatoes in half, scooping out the seeds, and grating them.  I tried a spoonful of the sauce, and am happy with the result, but I think roughly chopping the tomatoes and then blending the sauce in the end would give a similar texture with a fraction of the work involved.  I'll have to try that next time, and there almost certainly will be a next time because ideally, I would like to have more than three dinners worth of tomato sauce in my freezer.  It's amazing how the 4 kg. bag of tomatoes that made my shoulder hurt all day yesterday cooked down so much.  I don't think I'll ever take for granted the ready availability of canned tomatoes back home again.

We've also cooked down the mushy berries (in the case of the raspberries, almost all of them were mushy or broken apart by the time we got home!).  The cooked berries are good for stirring into yogurt, putting on top of pancakes or French toast, or--my favorite from last year--making upside-down cakes.

I know realistically there is no way I'll have either the time or the energy to fill our entire freezer with yummy summer produce.  But having some of it will both boost our spirits when the only tomatoes available are crunchy and cardboard-y (which is probably not even all that long from now) and salvage dinner time on at least a few hectic days later in the semester.

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