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Green peppers are now at their peak season in the garden and at Farmer’s Markets at a great bargain. In the cold winter months they can be astronomically expensive. Now is the time to freeze peppers for later use. The freezing process causes the peppers to lose some of their crispness, but none of their flavor and are excellent in cooked dishes such as Swiss steak, Gumbo, or Chicken Parmesan. One word of advice, use double freezer bags or freeze in small glass jars for the peppers will fill the freezer with “pepper smell” otherwise. To freeze, simply wash peppers, remove seeds and all membrane and chop into medium sized cubes and pack into containers, leaving about one half inch head space. Place in coldest spot of freezer. Several batches of stuffed peppers can be made and frozen for later use. The completed dish, except for the baking, freezes well and is great to have on hand for the times you need something quick and easy for dinner after a busy day. STUFFED PEPPERS 4 large green peppers 1 lb. ground beef 1 medium onion, chopped fine 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon Worches-tershire sauce 1 cup cooked white rice 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes 1 medium can of tomato sauce 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Wash and seed peppers, remove all membrane. Cook in boiling water for five minutes. Remove from water and drain. In medium skillet, brown beef, with onion and garlic; stirring and breaking up with fork. Add all the other ingredients, except the tomato sauce and mix well. Place the pepper shells into a casserole dish with high sides, and fill with the meat mixture. Pour tomato sauce over, covering each pepper. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil cover, sprinkle cheese over tops of peppers and bake for 10 minutes until cheese melts. Any leftovers freeze well, or can be frozen before baking for later use. It is surprising and very rewarding how many tomatoes can be harvested from just a few plants. Tomatoes also can be frozen for use in soups, and sauces. Simply peel and core the tomatoes, cut into small pieces and pack in freezer cartons or bags, leaving one half inch head space and place in freezer. Marinara sauce is easy to make and is another way to use up any surplus tomatoes. It can be canned or frozen and keeps well either way. MARINARA SAUCE TO CAN 1/2 cup olive oil 3 large green peppers 3 large onions 6 large cloves of garlic 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil salt and pepper to taste 10 lb. fresh tomatoes Finely chop onion and green peppers, crush garlic cloves. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook, stirring until onions are opaque. Add the seasonings and cook, stirring one minute longer. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring often until sauce is thick, this could take several hours. Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal with sterilized lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Can be frozen if preferred. Pour into freezer cartons, leaving one half inch head space. Seal and allow to cool before placing in coldest area of freezer. CHILI SAUCE This sauce is very good when served with pinto or white dried beans; also good on hot dogs. I don’t know why it is called “chili sauce” for it contains no chili peppers or dried chili powder. 4 quarts peeled, cored and chopped ripe tomatoes 2 cup peeled and chopped sweet onion 2 cups chopped sweet red pepper 1 small hot red pepper, finely minced 1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons pickling salt 3 tablespoons mixed pickling spices 1 tablespoon celery seed 1 tablespoon mustard seed 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity) Combine first six ingredients in a large, heavy Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Tie pickling spices, celery and mustard seed in a square of cheesecloth, add to the tomato mixture. Simmer, uncovered for one hour, stirring often, until thickened. Stir in the vinegar and simmer another hour or so, until sauce reaches desired thickness. Remove spice bag. Spoon sauce into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal immediately with hot sterilized lids, screwing metal rings tight. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. This makes about 4 pints.

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