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Preserving and storing food is becoming a bit of a lost art and it’s a shame. What do you do when you come across a great deal at the grocery store or the farmer’s market? What do you do when you’re offered a discount on a bushel of produce that you can’t pass up? What do you do when you have a bumper crop of green beans, squash or tomatoes? There are five common methods of processing & preserving food. If you know how to do it, you can put your produce up and use it all throughout the year.
Freeze Your Food
A great place to start is by freezing food. You can cook up your harvest into some of your favorite freezer friendly dishes (think soups and stew) or simply clean and precook (blanch) vegetables and toss them into the freezer. This is also a great way to store fruits like berries and peaches that don’t last long once they are ripe.
The only disadvantage to freezing food is that you’re limited by the amount of room you have in your freezer-and some foods just do not freeze well such as potatoes or radishes. Be sure to get in the habit of labelling frozen food with a name and date so you know what it is before you pull it out to thaw. This will also help you identify which foods to take out for use first.
Consider Canning Your Produce
Canning is one of the most versatile ways to preserve food. You can make and can anything from jelly and pie filling to chili and green beans. Canning has the added advantage of not taking up any space in your fridge and freezer. You can store your canned goods in the pantry, on a shelf in the kitchen, or anywhere in the basement. Heck, I’ve been known to keep canned goods under the spare bed if I’m running out of room.
Presto 06300 Dehydro Electric Food DehydratorIf you don’t have a lot of space, consider dehydrating food. You can start by using your oven on the lowest setting. Try dehydrating some apple slices, or any type of food to use in baking and cereal throughout the year.
Then explore further and come up with fun snacks like kale chips, banana chips and even dried veggies that you can use in soup.
Pickle Your Food
Another favorite old-fashioned way to preserve food is to pickle it. Pickling involves submerging the produce in a brine made of salt, sugar, water, and various pickling spices. The most common pickled item is of course pickles and it’s a great place to start. But don’t stop there. You can pickle peppers, okra, cauliflower and a wide variety of other veggies and even fruits. Play with it and see what you like.
Pickled veggies make a great addition to sandwiches and salads throughout the year.
Set of 2 Vegetable Storage Bags, Includes Potato Bag and Onion Bag
Cold Store It
Last but not least, let’s talk about the simplest way to store food. Things like root vegetables, apples, and cabbages store well in a dry, cool, dark place. This used to be the reason houses had a root cellar.
Today, your pantry might be a good place to store this type of food. If you’re lucky enough to have a basement, you can set up some shelves to keep a lot of produce for months to come. Cold storing is a great way to preserve your food!
These common methods of processing & preserving food give you an idea of how you can store and save your fresh produce. What option are you going to try this season?