Quick Saves

This primer brings together ways I quickly save the last rounds of in-season veg. Read more about quick-save vegetables. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
As the growing season winds down, I get plenty of questions about what to do with the last weeks of homegrown harvests and the last crops from farmer’s markets. By now, you’ve likely eaten your fill of your favorite fresh dishes and processed your favorite canned and frozen goods. If you’re like me, you’re torn between wanting to be done with the labor of weeding and harvesting and wanting to capture those last few tomatoes, those last few broccoli stalks, to enjoy after snowfall.

I’ve already shared many of my favorite ways to save excess and end-of-season produce. This month, I’ll continue to share some of my favorite fall canning recipes. But this week, I wanted to bring together in one post some of the ways I quickly save the last rounds of in-season veg.
Read more about quickly saving vegetables

Alcohol Infusions

Start with vanilla extract, and then expand your repertoire to drinkable liqueurs. Get alcohol infusion recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
It seems that almost every baking recipe, and many other sweet treats, call for vanilla extract. Although the price of full beans and their extract may tempt you to substitute imitation vanilla, the cooks in my family were firm believers of using the real deal long before Jamie Oliver told the world that the fake version comes from the beaver anal gland. He didn’t have that quite right, but other sources of synthetic vanillin include coal tar, paper waste, and cow poop, which don’t sound any more appealing. Since companies are only required to use the label “artificial vanilla” or “imitation vanilla,” you’ll never really know what you’re eating.

When a 2017 cyclone wiped out a large chunk of Madagascar’s vanilla crop, prices for beans skyrocketed. So in splurging for the real stuff, you can get the most bang for your buck by making your own extract from vanilla beans: Scrape out the seeds needed for your recipe, and then use the pods for your extract, like you would for vanilla-infused sugar. Once you realize how easy it is to infuse this vanilla flavor, you’ll be on your way to making alcoholic infusions you intend to drink—liqueurs like triple sec.
Learn to make Homemade Vanilla Extract and Homemade Orange Liqueur

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is easier to make than you might think: you just need some basic ingredients, a few tricks, and time. Get gnocchi recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Italy ruined gnocchi for me, much in the way Morocco ruined couscous: After tasting the real thing, I’m no longer impressed with the convenience-food versions that dominate in America. Although potato dumplings and steamed semolina seem vastly different, they have a surprising number of things in common. Both have reputations as difficult yet delicious delicacies. This has led companies to manufacture replacements you can grab off a shelf in a box. Neither vacuum-packed gnocchi nor instant couscous comes close to its freshly made counterpart.

Fortunately, both are easier to make from scratch than you might think. They take time, and some special tools help give the best results, but you really only need some basic ingredients and a few tricks to create the real deal.
Learn to make Homemade Potato Gnocchi and Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi

Bean Snacks

Homemade bean snacks shine as both party treats and everyday munchies. Get healthy snack recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
We often think of beans in two stages: rock-hard dried beans and soft cooked or canned legumes. But there’s a third stage that will have you reaching for beans instead of potato chips or cheese puffs: the crunchy stage. If you’re a fan of healthy snack substitutes, you’ve probably bought bags of chips, crisps, crackers, or other snacks made from legumes. But there are plenty of advantages to making your own.

Commercial brands likely have more salt, sugar, and other additives than you expect, and some versions rely on deep-frying for crispness. By making your own, you control all of those factors; and let’s face it—if you’re eating a snack because you think it’s healthier, it really should be healthier. Even the healthiest commercial bean snacks tend to come in single-use packaging that’s unhealthy for our planet. You’ll pay a pretty penny for them too.

I started experimenting with homemade bean snacks for Twice as Tasty Live events, and they’ve become favorite everyday munchies. Larger beans, like chickpeas, we eat out of hand, but smaller ones, like lentils, are best spooned onto other dishes.
Learn to make Baked Chickpea Snacks and Crunchy Baked Lentils