I spent this weekend doing a lot of computer work (let’s not talk about how excel almost made me cry by FREEZING UP every time I asked it to do math) But when I wasn’t threatening the computer I was in the kitchen.
I did end up having to harvest that one chicken early:
And by the time he looked like any other grocery store bird he weighed in at 2.75lbs. That’s a lot lighter then a cornish cross would be at 2 months, but also heavier then the speckled sussex roosters I put in the freezer at 6 months. Also he wasn’t one of the biggest birds in my yard, I’d guess about half are bigger then him anyway. So come September when the rest of them are scheduled to meet the freezer I have high hopes for birds of good weight.
Along with the chicken I froze those three massive heads of broccoli (two gallons total) and two head of cabbage (another gallon in the freezer) Before freezing veggies it’s important to blanch them. This is just the process of partially cooking whatever it is to halt enzymes that might break down flavor and vitamins while frozen. But that’s not the only helpful thing blanching does. It also turns those broccoli worms BRIGHT yellow, making them easy to pick off:
I really tried to get a “before” picture of the worms, but I couldn’t find any. I inspected every floret before blanching (and boy does that add time to the overall process) and I couldn’t find any worms. That means I overlooked that bad boy up above… It should be noted that if you want to eat your broccoli raw and worm free that’s easy enough, just soak them in salt water before eating to loosen the worms. Swish them around in that water and the worms should float away. Then rinse the salt water off, or not, I suppose if you like it for seasoning.
For both broccoli and the wedges of cabbage I steam blanched them for 3-4 minutes per batch. Then I lay them out on cookie sheets and tuck them into the freezer. Once frozen solid I’ll put them in plastic freezer bags for long term storage. Freezing first keeps the chunks of veggies separate so I can pull out and use just what I need at each meal.
If you’re looking for information on preserving veggies, like blanching times, I highly recommend the pages of Pick your Own.