The art of canning and storing food has seen a bit of resurgence in recent years. With an increased focus on food sourcing and the health benefits of knowing what you are eating, more education on gardening and preserving is now available via sources such as food bloggers.
When we become gardeners, usually the next craft we move into is some form of preservation. Whether it be freezing, canning, drying, or pickling, having different ways to preserve can help to keep an overabundance in the garden from spoiling.
Freezing your harvest is one of the easiest ways to make your crop last well beyond the growing season – sometimes up to 12 months. No fancy equipment is needed for this form of preserving. Between plastic bags, freezer safe plastic and glass containers, and vacuum sealers, there is a convenient option for every level of preserving expertise.
Preparing and blanching vegetables and fruits can vary by type. For instance, tomatoes can be frozen but don’t count on adding them to a salad after freezing. They serve better as adds to soups or salsa. Same goes for avocados. Puree, place in ice cube trays and freeze. Then, they are great for guacamole on Taco Tuesdays.
In 1809, canning as invented by researcher Nicolas Appert of France. Through a lengthy trial and error period, Appert invested in this process in order to help preserve food for troops.
The canning process can be simple and requires only a few pieces of equipment such as canning jars, canning pot with wire rack insert, wide-mouth funnel, tongs for lifting jars from the boiling pot and chopsticks or skewers to help rid jars of air bubbles prior to sealing.
A good recipe is the next key tool in the canning process. Canning recipes can be simple, complex, and everywhere in between but the diversity makes for some incredible options post-gardening season.
Additionally, canning can be a great option for a multitude of product types from sweet to savory, and between vegetables and fruits such as Spicy Pickled Rainbow Carrot Spears, Vanilla Bean Honeycrisp Applesauce or Bacon Jam.
A popular way to preserve herbs is by drying them. This can be as simple as gathering a handful of stems together with a rubber band and hanging them to air-dry in a cool, dark, dry location.
Another drying option is using a dehydrator. There are dozens of varieties of dehydrators at all price levels decked out with tons of options. Dehydrating fruit is another popular choice.
Long before deep-freezers were available in homes, pickling was one of the preferred methods of preserving foods. In addition to the traditional cucumber pickling, several other vegetables are perfect for this type of preserving – beans, cauliflower, onions, beets, etc.
Depending on whether utilizing a dry salt approach or brining, some equipment is required such as canning jars, boiling water canner, and a stoneware crock.
With increased research and information on the benefits of consuming fermented foods, we are sure to see a boost in this specific style of storing food this gathering season.
Whatever the method or methods you use to preserve, we hope that your gardening season has given you bountiful crops and the chance to save some tastes of summer well into winter.
Oh, and if you have a favorite preserving recipe, we would love to hear the story behind it! Please stop in the greenhouse and tell us all about it!
If you want more ideas on how to preserve a few your summer crops or to learn more about what is happening at our Emerald City, please sign up to join our email list.
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