Friday, May 18, 2012

What to do with Leftover Fruit from School

So at our school everyday our students don't eat about a case of fruit everyday.  The district tells our school to get rid of all unused food (throw it away), but our intrepid custodian/lunch attendant puts the fruit in the teacher's lounge for teachers to much on.  Sometimes there's a lot of fruit, sometimes not much, but most times the fruit sits in the lounge until it starts to go bad. 

When I see that fruit just going to waste my heart just about breaks.  Earlier in the year I dehydrated some kiwi fruit (yummy but left a weird residue on the back of my throat) and I have taken oranges to juice.  At the end of the week today there were about 20 oranges, 40 kiwis, 30 bananas and 50 gala apples.  I couldn't let them go to waste.

These fruits aren't organic and don't have a ton of flavor, but I don't want to waste them either.  So here's my plan for the fruit, if you have other ideas, I would love to hear them.

1.  Freeze the bananas-I have a smoothie every day for breakfast and bananas give just the right hint of sweetness.
2.  Juice the oranges-last weekend we also got some Meyer lemons and grapefruit that I can juice as well.  Depending on the yield, I will either freeze the juice or leave it in the fridge.
3.  Make apple sauce-the apples don't have a ton of flavor so I will add some of the lemon juice and some spices to make it more tasty.  Depending on the yield I will either keep it in the fridge or can some of it.
4.  I am not sure what to do with the kiwis.  They tasted good dehydrated, so I may go there again.  I am not sure if they can be preserved in other ways.

What do you do with a bumper crop of sub-par fruit? 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Weekend with Friends

So much has happened since last summer when I posted last.  Jason and I got married.  I got immersed in a new teaching job.  And although I still have been gardening, preserving, brewing cider and mead, I haven't had time to take pictures and write about it.

This weekend our good friends Kim and Don came down from the Los Angeles area for a visit.  They have had a bumper crop of chard so they brought us some, along with some grapefruits and Meyer lemons, YUM!  We put the chard to good use by making chard stem pickles following this recipe here.  Although it seemed like we had a TON of chard, we only yielded 5 pints of pickles-we doubled the brine in the recipe and had a bit left over.

Don and Kim filling jars of chard stems

Filling the water bath canner-I love our outdoor burner!

Outdoor burner set up

On Saturday we also bottled some mead that had been fermenting since February (in a secondary fermentation bucket).

We used the rest of the chard as a topping for pizza (Saturday night) and in a fritata (Sunday morning).  Chard is yummy!
Paleo pizza crust (almond and coconut flour)

Pizza with lots of chard and other vegetable goodness!

On Sunday we decided to brew some beer since our carboy was empty.  We went to Homebrew Mart where the EXTREMELY helpful staff helped me picked out the grains and malts to make an American Amber ale.  We really need to get a wort chiller because it took about 4 hours for our beer to cool down enough to put into the carboy and we're still waiting for it to be 70 degrees so we can pitch the yeast.
Steeping the grain for the beer!

It's nice to have friends around who like to can and brew and eat good food.  Thanks Kim and Don!