Wednesday, 6 October 2010

From the Market in October

Beans
There are a few types of beans on the market at the moment.  Green beans (french beans) and dwarf beans are always good to buy and freeze to add to soups and casseroles during winter.  I always top and tail them, slice off the stringy edges of the dwarf beans and cut them into 2 cm lengths.  I only have a small freezer so I am never freezing more than a couple of kilos of beans so I don't blanch them, I just pop them in a freezer bag and freeze.  You can also store some in a freezer bag in the fridge for several days as well.
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Borlotte beans are always good to have in the freezer, they do need to be part cooked first (see http://janice-mytakeonfood.blogspot.com/2009/10/recipe-borlottiecranberry-beans.html) so that they don't take too much longer to cook when added to soups and stews or made into a pate.
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Okra (ladies fingers) 
These come from the mallow family and the part you eat are actually the seed pods and originate from Western Africa.  The juice of the seed pods is quite gooey and therefore they are often added to soups and stews to help thicken the dish.  In preparation I washed and allowed the okra to dry on kitchen roll.  I then trimmed off the woody edges near the stem, where you will also find some remains of the petals, I did this a bit like sharpening a pencil with a knife.  You will then see quite a clear line between the light green of the stem and the white of the okra, this is where I trim of the stem.  They can either be used straight away or popped into freezer bags and frozen for later.
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Peanuts
We are quite lucky in Turkey that you can buy peanuts throughout the year, either pre-packed or lose, and mostly roasted and salted.  But I really look forward to the fresh peanuts in their shells as they have a really fresh taste.  I keep some in their shells but most I shell and store in an airtight jar as they are easier and a lot less messy to eat.
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Plums
I like to buy some of these, peel them and store in the freezer to be used later in the winter for fruit pies and crumbles http://janice-mytakeonfood.blogspot.com/2010/06/recipe-plum-crumble.html .  I have small, 2 serving dishes, that I use for both of these dishes so I try to bag up the fruit into servings that will fill the relevant dishes.  You don't have to skin the plums, but I find that the skins can be a bit tough, so the extra effort is worth the time and trouble.

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