Once Christmas festivities are out of the way, I turn my attention to the stored fruit and vegetables. By new year there is approximately six months until the new soft fruit season when demands on freezer space will be at their highest. So I see this at an opportunity to pace myself to clear the previous year's harvest ready for the new.
The most pressing place to start is with the stuff just in open storage. This includes onions and shallots already attempting to regrow with green shoots, garlic bulbs in danger of drying out to an empty papery shell, apples slowly turning wriggly, and pumpkins looking prestine one moment and mouldy the next. Once they are safely converted into preserves or eaten, I then turn my attention to the freezer contents.
I don't know about you but I find myself drawn to making soups during the winter. They are so warming and wholesome and often turn ingredients that are past their best into something convincingly nurishing. Sprouting potatoes and a leek can be quickly turned into leek and potato soup. Leftover gammon and some dried peas make a glorious pea and ham soup. I made a lovely minestrone soup the other day from a potato, a carrot, some leftover pasta sauce and stock and some dried spaghetti.
As for all that leftover turkey at Christmas, it seems almost compulsory to make it into soup. It is even better if you can boil up some of the skin and bones to make turkey stock before you start but a stock cube or two can be used instead. And it is another occasion for Halloween and Christmas to collide with the addition of chunks of pumpkin. If you don't have stored pumpkin then butternut squash works well too. Once cooked, enjoy it hot with some fresh crusty bread or decant it into suitable containers and freeze.
300g pumpkin (or squash)
2 cloves garlic
300g cooked turkey
2 tsp Japanese curry powder
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 pint of turkey (or chicken) stock
Saute the vegetables for a few minutes until softened then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or cook in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes.