If you have more vegetables than you can cope with, or access to a good market that sells off fruit and veg cheaply at the end of the day; here are some ideas on how to bottle and freeze, so that you have a home made 'ready meal' to grab in a hurry.
packs of foil containers with lids (or recycled from last indian take away...)
kilner jars with screw lids or large jars with screw lids, washed and put in oven to sterilise
medium sized freezer bags with ties
Apples; Blackberries; any foraged fruit:
I have a particular oven dish that is a perfect size for crumbles so I peel the apples and chop. Put a freezer bag in the dish and fill with as much fruit as you would need for one crumble. Don't blanche. flatten into dish shape and tie off top. Take out of dish (should be flattened dish shape) and stack in the freezer.
For the crumble:
I like mine to be almost like crumbly shortbread. If you have a magimix tip in equal quantities of plain flour and cold butter from the fridge. If not, just rub butter into flour in a large bowl with fingertips. Blitz until like breadcrumbs and stir in sugar to taste. Make as much as you would need to top the packs of frozen apples or fruit and bag in freezer bags in generous portions; each enough to top one crumble. Freeze flat.
To put together:
tip frozen fruit into the oven dish and add 2 or three whole cloves and sugar to take away tartness. Microwave until defrosted. Pour over and pat down portion of crumble and put in a baking oven (I have an aga, so its top right) until top is brown and the fruit is bubbling.
Tomatoes and autumn vegetables:
In my local market it is possible to buy heavily discounted vegetables at the end of the day. unless you can eat them all at once, its more economic to cook them in the following ways and either bottle or freeze. I find bottling retains the taste and texture of courgettes and aubergines better than frozen. If you cant get, or afford kilner jars, just use large glass jars with screw tops that have been used for pickles or sauces.
This is a wonderful way of preserving good vegetables and can be used in many ways; added to minced beef that has been browned and then simmered as a healthy pasta sauce. I also cook pork chops or chicken joints or sausages in the oven and pour over a jar of ratatouille about 15 mins towards the end of cooking. Add grated cheese and grill....
To make: As a rough guide, there should be equal amounts of vegetables. Traditionally tomatoes; onions; Aubergine;courgettes and a couple of cloves of garlic. I always use a base of onion, garlic and tomatoes and bung in equal amounts of any vegetable that is available at the time.
Wash jars and put in low oven.
use equal quantities of veg. ie. 2 onions, 2 courgette, 2 large Red peppers, 2 aubergine etc. ....but double the tomatoes...ie 4. I make a vat. of it..
Chop onions (I always use red, but any will do) and brown and soften in a good slosh of olive oil seasoned with salt, pepper and chilli flakes or chopped whole chilli. Add in as much garlic as you like and continue browning.
Slice courgette, Aubergine into chunks and layer in a colander with salt. I use Maldon salt. leave them for at least an hour and rinse, drain and pat dry.
Skin tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them and peeling off the skin. chop roughly and add these to the onions. If you dont have access to cheap or free tomatoes, one large tin will do just as well. Add the other veg. and include as wide a variety as you dare.... celery is good... pulses....beans...but root veg dont really work. Add some chopped or dried herbs and simmer slowly. To bulk it all up, just add more tomatoes remembering to add more seasoning, chilli and/or herbs as your quantities increase.
take your jars out of the oven and fill each to the rim whilst hot and immediately screw on lids. They will keep popping nicely as they cool. Voila!