By Doug Walton
Fresh at the Market
This Saturday will be the last day of the 2013 season for the Muskogee Farmers’ Market, from 8 a.m. until noon in front of the Civic Center.
Two nights this week with sub-freezing temperatures near 20 degrees put a sudden end to the production of many late-season crops. Fortunately, some of the market’s growers were able to harvest a variety of items before the arctic blast.
Produce available at the market Saturday will include pears; apples; winter squash; sweet potatoes; green and ripe tomatoes; summer squash and zucchini; bell peppers; cayenne and other hot peppers; lettuce; mustard greens; red, yellow and white onions; potatoes; turnips; micro greens; dried herbs; a few pumpkins; and more.
This last market day will provide a good opportunity to stock up on root crops and other staple items for the winter. More perishable items such as bell peppers can easily be put up for storage in the freezer, as in the recipe below.
SNAP benefits (food stamps) are accepted at the market. To buy food with an Oklahoma Access card, visit the farmers’ market tent, swipe the card in exchange for tokens, and use the tokens to pay vendors who offer eligible items.
Vendors will also have honey, sorghum molasses, potted mums, painted pumpkins and decorative gourds, candles, incense, soaps, natural body care products and more.
Other food items expected at the market include breakfast burritos, tamales, beef and bean burritos, handmade tortillas and other tasty baked items.
Freezing Bell or other Sweet Peppers
(Green, Red, Yellow, Orange, Purple)
Select crisp, tender peppers.
Cut out stems and cut peppers in half.
Remove seeds and membrane — save time by using the tip of a spoon to scrape out seeds and membrane.
Cut peppers into strips, dice or chop, depending on how you plan to use them.
Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen. This method is often referred to as “tray freezing.”
When the peppers are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag, excluding as much air as possible from the bag. The peppers will remain separated for ease of use in measuring for recipes.
When peppers are needed, pour out the amount required, reseal the bag and return it to the freezer.
From the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Home Food Preservation website, http://food.unl.edu/web/preservation/home
Reach Doug Walton at (918) 360-2012 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.