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Freeze some corn! Now!
Glorious cobs of corn will still be around at the farmers' markets for a couple of weeks.  Sweet, meltingly tender, golden or pearly white, they are never better (or cheaper) than right now.  We eat it with dinner nearly every night for the month when it is at it's best, just barely cooking it, as it doesn't need much more, and then say farewell for another eleven months. However, we also religiously freeze corn to use in meals in the months ahead.  Pulling out and defrosting a bag of farmer's market kernels feels so luxurious in the depths of winter--not to mention a tremendous vitamin-packed time and money saver.  Great for chowders, soups and chili, I'll also combine the corn with my frozen peppers for a tex-mex-y topper for eggs, or a perfect start for fajitas and burritos.  Slowly saute some onions along with them, and add a little cumin, chili powder, ground corriander, and epazote for a colorful, sweet, base for a meal.

How to Freeze Corn

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Chew on this.
"Since traditional pesto genovese consists of nothing more than basil, garlic, nuts, olive oil, salt, and cheese, the quality and variety of the ingredients you choose really matter.  When it comes to basil, shop for the youngest herbs you can find, with the smallest, palest leaves.  The smell should be aromatic, not licorice-like.  If you can't find young basil, soften the bitterness of deep green mature leaves by blanching them in almost boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge them in an ice bath."

- Elements of Pesto, by Laura Schenone, Saveur magazine, August/September 2011


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Quick Tip: How to freeze peaches


Peaches and other stone fruit are perfect and plentiful (and pretty cheap!) at the markets right now.  Taking an hour or so and freezing a bunch will be total treasure in your freezer come winter.  And...far extend your season for making David Lebovitz's ridiculously good peach ice cream (it contains sour cream, people!  Sour cream!!).

Here are a couple of quick, and a little easier, tips for puttin' up the peach.

Blanching (to remove the skin).

Nothing new or revolutionary, but the quickest way to remove the skin, and really idiot-proof.  You'll be thankful later on that the skins are gone, so you can just pop those frozen slices of sunshine virtually from the freezer to your blender for a smoothie or to a pie shell (give or take a little thawing.)

Method:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Wash whole peaches.  Don't bother to dry.

2.  Cut a small "X" in the bottom of the peach with a sharp knife, just cutting through the skin.  This will give the skin a place to start to slip-off when blanched.

3.  Slowly lower peaches, several at a time depending on the size of your pot, into the boiling water.

4.  Remove peaches from the boiling water after one minute with a slotted spoon. Immediately transfer the peaches to either a large bowl of ice water, or a colander and run under very cold water.

5.  Starting where you made the "X" on the bottom, just literally slip the skin off the peach with your hands.  It will come off very very easily.

Freezing

To extend the life of your frozen peaches, and ward off freezer burn, you want as little air in the container with the frozen fruit (and vegetables too) as possible.  Sucking air out of a freezer bag with a straw, and then trying to zip-lock-it as quickly as possible was my method of choice for years.  But this method below, using water to displace the air, has worked much better, and much quicker, for me in recent seasons.

1.  Fill a large bowl with water, leaving some room at the top.

2.  Lower a freezer-safe bag, filled with whatever you are freezing, into the bowl, with the top of the bag still partially open, with room for air to escape.



 

3.  As you lower the bag further into the bowl, the water will surround the shape of the bag, and press out a good amount of air.  Continue to lower the bag, until the level of the water is as close to the top of the bag as you can go, without risking getting water in with the fruit.  Seal bag immediately and remove from bowl.

4.  Gently press on the fruit in the bag to redistribute and make it flatter for storage in the freezer.  Label and freeze.

Peaches will keep for about six months in the freezer.  Peach pie in February anyone?

To preserve the color a little better, you can add a little citric acid or Fruit Fresh, both available by canning supplies, to the raw fruit before bagging it.  Add 1/4 teaspoon to every quart of fruit.



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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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