I am loving learning how to preserve more of our herbs, berries, tomatoes and making homemade vanilla this year. Since I am limited on energy, I have not done any canning per say, but I am managing to get lots of things preserved for future eating. It is no secret that our entire family loves to eat and to try new things so this is the year that I am getting creative in both my preserving and in my gift giving.
In a previous post, I shared how I was making homemade vanilla with the beans from my sister's garden in Tahiti. I have a HUGE glass jar going and it smells amazing. I want to get another large jar going to that I can give some away as gifts this Christmas. I think I will order small bottles from Amazon.com to fill the precious liquid up with.
Berries this year have been made into liquors, sauces and some just frozen plain to use in other recipes. I love being able to make fresh berry muffins during the colder months and share with others. It is in those drab gray days of winter that we all need a taste of fresh food and berries, so this is one of my favorite things to do. I also love a good cocktail and the liquors make it all that much more special. I almost forgot, I dehydrated a bunch of sliced strawberries that can be added to muffin batter, cereals and oatmeal. Won't that taste amazing in the depth of the winter months?
Tomatoes...oh those lovely bites of sunshine! I freeze some of them whole (they are great thrown into a pasta sauce), dehydrate some and make tomato powder that I add to soups, stews and casseroles, and am going to try preserving some in oil this year. It just sounds so amazing!
Herbs...glorious herbs! In the past I have just dried them and used them that way. This year I am branching off into making herb salts and compound butters. I made the Tuscan herb salt that I shared the link to in a previous post and also tried my hand at making compound lemon thyme herb butter. I'm thinking fish and chicken would be delicious with this on it. I think I will try my hand at making garlic and parsley herb butter too. That would be so good on steak or to make garlic bread with. I have everything on hand in my pantry, garden and freezer to make all of this already and quite frankly, I need a project to do to keep me from going insane with all the Covid-19 spikes in cases around here.
Any of these things would make lovely gifts. For our Chris and Heather, who love to BBQ and have birthdays close together, I gave them the gift of compound lemon thyme butter and some of the Tuscan herb salts. They can be used now or use it to season meals later. Our entire family LOVES to get gifts of food, so I thought this would be perfect for them. I do want to make more of the salts too for future gift giving and still have lots on hand for us to use.
I would love to hear any ideas you all have on how you preserve the harvest this time of year and may even use some of those things for gift giving. Be blessed and enjoy these last days of Summer.