Have your produce, and eat it too – or preserve it! With a little planning, you can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables all year long. Read on to discover a few ways you can extend the life of your produce!
Fruits and Vegetables
Dry out fruits and vegetables by baking them in the oven on a low temperature; the low temperature concentrates the flavors of summer produce. This is great for tomatoes, blueberries and stone fruit such as cherries or plums.
Dry herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. Tie a piece of twine around the stems and hang the bunch upside down in a cool, dry place. Let them dry out for around four to ten days – until they’re crisp. Once crisp, pick the leaves off the stems and store them away; they’ll keep for about six months.
Most produce can be frozen as is! If your freezer has room, spread your produce out on a baking sheet before freezing to prevent clumping. For tomatoes, consider other options as well – tomato puree, water and confit (all do great in the freezer). Also try chopping up basil, mint or cilantro, adding a splash of olive oil and pouring it into an ice-cube tray. The frozen herbs will be great to have when winter arrives!
There are many steps when it comes to canning, and it can be quite intimidating; however, don’t let that scare you away. Here are a few must-dos when canning:
- Make sure you have the corresponding jar size for the food you’re canning.
- Sterilize the jars to prevent bacteria from forming.
- Acquire the equipment for the type of canning you are doing – water-bath or pressure.
Once you start canning, you won’t want to stop – you might even can the cat’s food. Start with something simple like tomatoes and move onto jams, jellies and pickles.
If you want more information on canning, check out the blog article: Canning 101.
Pickling your produce is another great option! Try pickling all sorts of things – cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green beans, wax beans, cherry peppers, okra or peaches. Heck, even try pickling rose petals!
Check out this YouTube video on how to pickle:
Jam or Jelly It
Jam or jelly: what’s the difference? A jelly is strained, so there are no pieces of fruit in it, while a jam is not. Try these basic recipes for jam and jelly – both of which don’t require canning. You can mix and match jam combinations as well; nectarine-raspberry or peach-plum are a few delicious options. If you wan to store it in the freezer, check out this recipe – it will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
Your food gurus at Mountain West
Source: Martha Stewart