Buried in a tiny news item today (Monday) about December's cold weather was the fact that it had devastated Florida's crops of green beans and sweet corn. An estimated $273 million's worth of Florida produce was lost in in the freezes, thru Dec. 20. Admitting that this would raise consumer prices, the news brief did not offer any practical advice.
Well, I will.
Stock up on canned or frozen veggies NOW.
Bad crop news always sent mom and dad to the grocery store or warehouse club to buy cases of canned veggies. Some stores may have anticipated higher prices already, but there is sure to be at least one grocer that has older stocks of canned or frozen produce at November prices.
Stock up and rest easy thru the winter months as you use up these stocks for beef stew, chowder, minestrone, casseroles, and many other dishes.
Here's my recipe for a simple beef stew cooked in a slow cooker.
Minnie's Slow-Cooker Beef Stew
A quarter lb. Chunks of stew meat (or ground meat)
A cup of frozen or canned chopped tomatoes,
which you stocked up on in August or so
A half to 3/4 cup frozen or canned corn
A half cup or so of frozen or canned green beans, cut in inch-long segments
Cut up a quarter bell pepper in small squares, if you have it.
Chop a quarter of a large onion, or half a small one.
Chop at least a quarter cup of celery for extra flavor.
Dust the beef with ground sage and ground bay leaf, about a quarter teaspoon of each.
Sprinkle stew with pepper, plus salt if you wish.
Dump all ingredients into slow cooker, add water to cover, and set on Medium
if you have most of the afternoon to cook it;
otherwise set it on High if you have to thaw the meat,
or only have maybe 2 hours to cook it. In that case turn it down to Simmer
after everything is well on its way to being cooked, in both instances.
You may substitute a cup of kidney beans for the green beans if you
prefer to make something more like a chili, and add
cumin or pepper flakes or a touch of Tabasco.
The slow cooking will produce a tender beef, so it is better to set aside
plenty of time for it to cook and let the flavors blend together.