The outbreak of COVID-19 and sudden lockdown around has restricted our movement to places.
During this period, storing the non-perishable items is way easier, but the concern is about storing the perishable food items like fruits and vegetables. Travelling often outdoors may lead to the risk of virus attack whereas, staying indoors may lead to lack of vegetables after certain duration. Though frozen vegetables are easily available at some stores, during the lockdown period this option is ruled out.
So, to avoid such situations, I will sharing a few ways in which certain vegetables can be stored.
1. Green Peas - Green peas is a highly fibrous vegetable which is also high in vegetarian protein and loaded with Vitamins and Minerals. So, a very good method to store them for longer is, peal and collect the pods, make sure that no rotten pods are in. Immediately transfer them into a ziplock bag or air - tight container and freeze. These last good at least for 6 months.
2. Spinach - Clean the spinach and then blanch (add in hot water for about 30 seconds) and then immediately into cold water. Leave the spinach in cold water for about 2 minutes. Next, strain the leaves completely, and then blend them into a month paste and juice half a lemon into it and blend again. Transfer this puree into an air-tight plastic or glass jar. This puree will last in the refrigerator for about a week and in the freezer for about 3-4 weeks.
3. Corn - take the peeled corn kernels and add them into an air-tight container or zip lock bag immediately and store in the freezer. In the freezer, these will last for about 4 months. Apart from adding to the vegetables, these can also served as a snack by boiling up and spicing them as per requirements.
4. Tomato - Tomato is a very essential ingredient in Indian cooking but also comes with a shorter shelf life. They can be easily stored for months by using the method below. Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and make a criss-cross pattern cut using a knife at the top portion. Boil water in pan and add the tomatoes in it and boil for about 10 minutes. Now, peel the skin of the tomatoes and upon cooling, blend them into a puree. Transfer this puree into a air-tight glass or plastic jar and freeze store it. This puree will last for about 4 weeks.
5. Green beans - Clean the green beans by cutting their stem from both ends. Wash the beans thoroughly and then spread them on a sheet or cloth and dry them completely. They need to be dries to make sure no water droplets or moisture is left. Now, cut them into small pieces and add them into a zip lock bag and freeze immediately. These beans can be stored for about 4 weeks. While cooking them, take out the desired amount of beans, add them into hot water for about 2 minutes and they are ready to use.
6. Green leaves - clean the leaves by cutting the end part of their stem. Make sure no moist or rotten rotten leaves are present in it. Take a kitchen tissue towel and roll these leaves in the towel. Now place these leaves into a refrigeration container and store in the refrigerator. These will last for about 2 weeks minimum depending upon the amount of moisture present. This way, coriander leaves, curry leaves, fenugreek leaves and other green leaves can also be stored.
7. Cauliflower - There are two ways in which cauliflower can be stored. The rice form and the florets form. Both have their own convenient ways of being used.
Cauliflower rice method - Chop the cauliflower well and rinse them under running water and drain. Now, add these florets into a food processor or mixer grinder and grind them until rice grain like consistency. Add this into a zip lock bag and freeze. These last for about 6 months. While cooking, take the required amount into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or pan cook in a tsp of oil for 1 minute.
Cauliflower florets method - Cut the cauliflower into florets and wash thoroughly under running water. Dry them completely and spread on a plate or tray and freeze the plate for about an hour. Now, collect the frozen florets, add them into a zip lock bag and store in the freezer.
8. Potatoes - Though have a longer shelf life, they also loose their texture and moisten in sometime due to the starch present in them. To preserve them for longer, wash the potatoes, peel them, and cut them into desired shape and size. Now, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minutes. The time depends upon the size and shape of the potatoes. Now, add them into ice cold water, and then drain the water completely by spreading on a sheet or tray.Pat dry them to make sure no moisture is left. Ones they are dried, freeze the tray for 1 hour, and then collect the frozen potato pieces and freeze them into a zip lock bag.
9. Pumpkin - Pumpkin is a very nutritious and high in fibre vegetable. To store it for longer, cut the pumpkin and peel the skin. De-seed and cut the slices into cubes. Now, add the cubes into a zip lock bag and freeze. These can be stored for upto 3 months.
10. Okra or bhindi - wash the okra thoroughly under running water and then in a pot filled with water and 2 tbsp vinegar and leave for about 15 minutes. This process will make sure all the chemicals and pesticides are washed off. Now, dry the okra thoroughly by spreading on a sheet or tray. Ones dried, cut them into small pieces to assure no insects are left behind. Now, spread these on a tray and freeze the tray for an hour. Then, collect the frozen okra pieces, add into a zip lock bag and freeze. These last for about 3 months depending upon the amount of moisture left out.
Though there are ways to store vegetables, rationale in usage needs to be maintained to ensure no wastage is done.
STAY HOME TO STAY SAFE!!!