Why freezing extra produce from your garden is a good idea

Hospital's experts tout the virtues of freezing and experimenting

  • Fresh vegetables and herbs were used to make salsa for Wednesday's cooking demonstration at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington. The event was held to educate employees about recipes that help reduce inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

      Fresh vegetables and herbs were used to make salsa for Wednesday's cooking demonstration at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington. The event was held to educate employees about recipes that help reduce inflammation, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital social worker Sharon Jensen, right, talks about the food samples offered during a healthy cooking demonstration Wednesday.

      Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital social worker Sharon Jensen, right, talks about the food samples offered during a healthy cooking demonstration Wednesday. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital nurse practitioner Debbie Stamm hands out samples of mocktails Wednesday.

      Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital nurse practitioner Debbie Stamm hands out samples of mocktails Wednesday. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Baked goods made with items from the community garden at Advocate Good Shepherd were sampled Wednesday.

      Baked goods made with items from the community garden at Advocate Good Shepherd were sampled Wednesday. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. Lori Walsh, left, the medical director of the Center for Integrative Health and Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, makes hemp milk with neuroscience and oncology director Charlotte Dioguardi.

      Dr. Lori Walsh, left, the medical director of the Center for Integrative Health and Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, makes hemp milk with neuroscience and oncology director Charlotte Dioguardi. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Many of the items used in Wednesday's healthy cooking demonstration were grown at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital's community garden.

      Many of the items used in Wednesday's healthy cooking demonstration were grown at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital's community garden. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted9/8/2022 5:00 AM

As summer draws to a close, amateur produce growers across the suburbs may be wondering what to do with their bounties of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

Well, the folks at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital's Center for Health and Integrative Medicine shared some wonderfully tasty -- and healthy -- ideas Wednesday.

 

Salsa, pesto and caprese skewers were just a few of the dishes employees whipped up using produce grown at their homes or at the Barrington-area facility's community garden.

Dr. Lori Walsh, the center's medical director, said growers should develop plans for what to do with their produce now that it's harvest time. Canning or freezing fresh fruits or vegetables, or dishes made with them, are perfectly acceptable, she said.

Freezing produce doesn't reduce its nutritional value -- and the process might keep the food fresher than what you buy at the grocery store, Walsh said.

Turning tomatoes into tomato sauce and then putting containers into the icebox until they're needed is a great option, she said. So is freezing pesto in ice cube trays.

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"If I have a soup that doesn't have that oomph, I just add some pesto," Walsh said.

For Wednesday's event, Good Shepherd social worker Sharon Jensen made caprese skewers using basil and grape tomatoes from her home garden, along with small balls of mozzarella cheese and splashes of balsamic vinegar.

Jensen said it's therapeutic to "work in the dirt, work with your hands."

"And it's also a nice creative outlet," she said.

The demonstration was held outside the West Pavilion beneath a shade screen. Employees dropped in and out to pick up small plates of snacks and cups of homemade beverages -- although they had to compete with yellowjackets drawn by the strong scents.

Walsh said home growers shouldn't be afraid to try new recipes with their produce.

"If it doesn't work, try it again," she said.

She also suggested people turn to YouTube for tips.

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