Tag: Fresh Preserving

Freeze Fresh Book Review

Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

Freeze Fresh: The Ultimate Guide to Preserving 55 Fruits and Vegetables by Crystal Schmidt stood out on the new release rack at the public library. Almost two hundred pages of tips for freezing fresh produce. And recipes for the frozen products.

I love learning new things and Freeze Fresh provides a multitude. Did you know avocados can be frozen? Or that flash freezing keeps smoothie ingredients from forming hard to handle frozen blocks? But the idea I already put into play involves the freezer itself.

An Organized Freezer

Interior page in the book Freeze Fresh showing an organized chest freezer utilizing heavy duty boxes.Home organization has been a key in 2022. But I overlooked my chest freezer. Schmidt recommends using heavy duty cardboard boxes like the ones copy paper comes in as organizers. Since I don’t have any boxes of that type, I substituted a banker’s box and a heavy-duty smaller box formerly housing my new modem.

The smaller box holds various types of nuts. I buy walnuts, pecans and almonds in quantity when they go on sale during the holidays and use then throughout the year. The larger box contains meats from the locker. In rural America, small independent butchers still operate and give grocery stores some competition.

After organizing my freezer in this fashion, I gained unrealized space, much needed since it is harvest time for peaches. So, I tried the flash freeze process.

Freeze Fresh Peaches

The flash freezing technique works great on my freshly picked peaches. And it is so simple! Parchment paper and a lipped baking sheet which fits into the freezer is all that is needed. The slices freeze fresh and remain separate once they are moved to a freezer bag. From now on, all the smoothie ingredients will be flash frozen.


The author offers two types of recipes. First are recipes for freezing. Think pesto cubes and B-B-Q sauces. The avocado falls into this category as well, although I have not tried this one myself. Along these lines are pie fillings and marinara type sauces. Schmidt’s suggestion of using stackable containers has much merit. My experience with spaghetti sauce frozen in baggies has been messy at times.

Freeze Fresh also contains recipes for the frozen produce once it has been thawed out. These recipes follow each section of the 55 fruits and vegetables. They are categorized as “For the Table.” So, if you are thawing out blueberries look in the section on blueberries for a few recipes.


I love Freeze Fresh so much that I have ordered a copy for myself. Crystal Schmidt also has a YouTube channel you might be interested in. Click on this tab for the link. If you have a big garden this year, consider freezing some of the produce and find a copy of Freeze Fresh to guide you.

Econogal’s Homemade Granola

Econogal's Homemade Granola Recipe

Homemade Granola

We like granola. I adapted this recipe from one shared on a blog I follow. This recipe takes a bit more time than others I have tried because of a three step process. The extra time and effort is worth it! Variations are easy since the types of nuts and dried fruits used can be determined by what you have on hand. I buy my oats in bulk from Heartland Mill but you can use Quaker Oats or other store bought brands as well.


Step 1                                                                   Step 2                                                                 Step 3

6 cups Rolled Oats                                                    1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts                                 1 to 1 1/2 chopped dried fruits
3 TBS Brown Sugar
1 TBS Cinnamon
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1/3 cup Honey
1 Tsp Almond OR Vanilla Extract



Step 1 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix the rolled oats with the brown sugar and the cinnamon. Over low heat, melt the coconut oil and honey, stir in your choice of extract. When liquefied, stir into the oat mixture and spread evenly in pans or baking sheets with edges. I use Pampered Chef stoneware. If using metal pans, reduce cooking time. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in oven.

Step 2 

Chop nuts. You can use all one kind or a mixture. Stir into oat mixture after the first baking. Return and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Step 3 

Chop dried fruit if needed and add to the oatmeal nut mixture. If you plan to store in glass jars, can while still warm. If storing in plastic containers let cool completely and then fill.

At our house, the granola is consumed quickly and so I have not worried about processing for long term storage. But you may want longer storing so check Fresh Preserving for canning directions.

Important Difference

A key difference in this recipe is adding the dried fruit after baking. I tried several recipes which called for including the fruit in the second step. This makes the fruit very hard. My favorite nut combinations are almond slivers, chopped pecans and chopped walnuts. Dried fruit favorites are cranberries, raisins and apricots. Be sure to let me know your favorite combinations in the comment section.

Granola Ingredients

Canned Granola

Econogal's Homemade Granola

Econogal’s Homemade Granola


This is a family favorite that I can’t keep stocked up. Makes about 2 ½ quarts.


6 cups Rolled Oats
3 TBS Brown Sugar
1 TBS Cinnamon
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
1/3 cup Honey
1 Tsp Almond OR Vanilla Extract
1 to1 ½ cups Assorted Chopped Nuts
1 to1 ½ cups Assorted Dried Fruits, chopped if desired


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In large bowl mix oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Over low heat combine honey, coconut oil and extract until liquid. Stir hot liquid mixture into oat mixture and spread into baking pans or baking sheets with edges. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in nuts. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Stir in dried fruit and store in sealed containers.