Fresh frozen meals fo­cus of up­com­ing cook­ing class

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Sean Wil­liams SJ Cor­re­spon­dent

Win­ter is com­ing, and the po­ten­tially cold weather of De­cem­ber, Jan­uary, and Fe­bru­ary poses the threat of lim­it­ing Polk County’s sup­ply of fresh veg­eta­bles.

Those hot­house win­ter toma­toes fall short of their sum­mer coun­ter­parts, and get­ting one’s fill of fresh greens like spinach, let­tuce, kale, Brus­sels sprouts, and broc­coli from a lo­cal source is a tough task dur­ing the cold sea­son.

For­tu­nately for the her­bi­vores of the county, Farm­ers Market Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Shonna Kirk­patrick has plans to demon­strate how the cold can help to en­sure every­one’s fa­vorite veg­gies can be en­joyed all year long.

“Cook­ing for Your Freezer” is the new­est cook­ing se­ries Kirk­patrick has lined up in­side the Sil­ver Comet Trail­head’s com­mu­nity kitchen on Rock­mart’s Church St.

On Sept. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. and Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon, cus­tomers will be shown how to blanch (scald­ing veg­eta­bles in boil­ing wa­ter or steam) and freeze var­i­ous veg­eta­bles from the farm­ers market which can be thawed through­out the year for “con­ve­nient, healthy, and time sav­ing meals that are avail­able at any time,” says Kirk­patrick.

Each stu­dent will be pro­vided with a year’s worth of recipes dur­ing the class.

The core idea is that once a dish is thawed and eaten, there will al­ready be an­other meal on standby wait­ing in the freezer.

Cus­tomers can skip cook­ing af­ter a hard day of work by sim­ply heat­ing up a meal that’s been wait­ing in the freezer, and the fact most recipes in­volve pro­duce means these freezer meals are a health­ier, more con­ve­nient al­ter­na­tive to fast food.

In the words of Kirk­patrick, “what would win­ter be with­out frozen greens?”

The freezer-themed classes are ori­ented to­wards adults, but chil­dren are en­cour­aged to en­roll in some of the other cook­ing cour­ses such as the shish ke­bab and desert ke­bab cour­ses on Sept. 28 and Sept. 30 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Both the adult and kids cour­ses cost $5.50 each.

Space in­side the com­mu­nity kitchen is very lim­ited, and those want­ing to learn the ways of cook­ing from Kirk­patrick are urged to se­cure their spot be­cause ap­pli­cants are ac­cepted on a first come first serve ba­sis.

Cus­tomers who find them­selves un­able to at­tend should can­cel so other po­ten­tial chefs have the op­por­tu­nity to join the classes.

Most pro­duce used in market classes is ac­quired from the weekly farm­ers market.

Those in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing fall pro­duce be­fore the win­ter can visit Rock­mart’s Wa­ter Street on Thurs­day where var­i­ous farm­ers will be sell­ing their goods from 2 to 6 p.m.

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