I have learned to become more resourceful since moving to Moldova. I’ve talked about making laundry detergent, wet ones, etc. I have also been learning to use foods in different ways. Food is very, very seasonal here. During the winter, you will typically be able to buy apples, bananas and citrus at a decent price. The bananas and citrus are imported and the apples are stored like onions and potatoes and carrots (so they will be pretty mushy by the spring). That is just a little picture of life here in Moldova.
Anyway, I don’t have a lot of time lately but I wanted to do a quick post on what we have made and preserved this summer!
1. We canned. We canned pickles in the form of really spicy, kind of spicy and no spice at all. We made salsa and canned that too. Mostly because cilantro and hot peppers are very difficult to find during the winter.
2. We froze fruit. Seasonal fruit is amazing right now. So far we have frozen peaches, apricots, raspberries, cherries and strawberries. I have learned a lot. Next summer I will probably freeze all berries. We enjoy them in smoothies or homemade “ice cream.” We have also frozen some veggies, including zucchini and bell peppers sliced for stir fry and zucchini grated for zucchini bread.
3. We are also leaning to make things that are hard to find. Fresh salsa is a must during the summer – – it is pretty much the same as the canned salsa only uncooked. It is easier than pico because I throw everything in my food processor. I think this batch has 3-4 huge heirloom type tomatoes, 3-4 small green bell peppers, 2 hot peppers, 2 onions, 4-6 cloves of garlic, a handful of cilantro, lime juice, salt, cumin and pepper.
4. We make our own raw nut butter now. Crazy, huh?! It really is so simple and so much more healthier. You simply need one really good food processor and an “S” blade. I use 1/2 peanuts, 1/4 walnuts, 1/4 almonds for Christian and Addy and only walnuts/almonds for Mercy and I. Simply dump all the raw (don’t roast them) nuts in the food processor and blend for about 10-15 minutes. It will go from whole to powder to paste-y to creamy. If it still seems in the powder or paste stage, stick the whole thing in the fridge overnight to let the oils release. In the morning, turn it on and blend for another 10-15 minutes. It should be fairly creamy/runny but if it isn’t you can always add a little grapeseed or walnut oil. I keep mine refrigerated and it is still very creamy and spreadable.
5. Lastly, like I mentioned about frozen fruit – – we have perfected the smoothie. This is my “go to” mothod (for one person) – – blend one (pickle size) peeled cucumber + 1/2 banana + kefir until smooth/creamy. Don’t be turned off by the cucumber. You can’t taste it at all but it really helps make it creamy. Then I add personal favorites. For mine, I add spinach, fresh mint leaves and a handful of frozen berries. For the girls, I add frozen berries, ground flax seed, ground almonds, etc. For Christian, I add peaches, berries, nut butter, etc. Here is a picture of my very green spinach smoothie. When I make “ice cream” I simply blend 1 banana + kefir and then add frozen berries until it is as thick as soft serve.