Sunday, August 14, 2011

Canning, Drying, Freezing and Pickling - A Plethora of Preservation

     Okay, the whole point of this post was to be able to use the word "plethora". Really, how often can you slip that into conversation. On a more serious note, this is a quick post about the various ways putting up the summer harvest to enjoy in the winter months ahead.

Yellow pear tomatoes, perfect for drying.
Zucchini, ready for shredding and freezing

     Canning includes all my jams, jellies, fruit butters, preserves and conserves as well as chili sauce, tomato sauce, ketchup and salsa. I make a lot of different ones to use by themselves or as ingredients in other recipes. The list below is what I make and when it is red the recipe is linked to it. Just to clarify, I don't make all of these every year. I don't always have enough time but in a perfect world....

Stewed Rhubarb
Strawberry Balsamic Jam
Strawberry Conserve
Sweet Cherries in Red Wine
Spiced Peaches in Honey
Crabapple Jelly
Hot Pepper Jelly
Grape Jelly
Chili Sauce
Apple Butter
Tomato Butter
Maple Pear Preserves
Tomato Salsa
Canned Beef
Tomato Sauce
Peach Jam
Plum Jam

     I'm sure I forgot a few but you get the idea. That may seem like a lot but I don't have a large freezer so space is at a premium. I haven't canned vegetables in the past because I didn't have a pressure canner but now that I do, the list will grow.

     I have a cheap  an inexpensive dehydrator, given to me by a friend years ago. I don't make as much use of it as I wish I did. Still learning about drying and using the reconstituted end result. Currently, I use it to put away the list below but I'm working on a dried vegetable mix to grind and use as a powdered stock base.

Savoury herbs
Mint for tea
Sun-dried Tomatoes

     If I had a walk in freezer, I would freeze everything. All kinds of things freeze beautifully to be used later and it is probably the easiest way to preserve food. If I had the space not only would I be freezing the ingredients, I'd be doing the finished products as well. You can buy lots of things in bulk or on sale and they are on hand for when you need them.

      I always freeze my fruits and vegetables in what ever form I'm going to be using them. Fruits are sliced and frozen individually on cookie sheets before bagging, ready for pies and sauces. Vegetables and dairy products in individual servings or by the cup and half cup. It just makes life easier when you are trying to use what you so diligently put away.  Here is what makes it's way into mine.

Swiss Chard
Sour Cream

     That brings us to pickling. It probably should be included in the canning section but... I don't pickle very many things, not a huge fan and my Mom's are always way better than mine. I can always do the trade off. Because time is an issue, many of the pickles I could can get used up as "quick" pickles but that is another post. Here is my short pickling list.

Spiced Crabapples
Bread and Butter Pickles
Mustard Bean Pickles
Beet Pickles
Sauerkraut - new this year so ...

     I'll be busy in the kitchen until the middle of September, squirreling away as much of the summer as possible.

     How do you save the bounty of summer? Drop me a line and let me know your tricks and tips. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment and I'll be happy to share what little wisdom I have managed to accumulate.

     Thanks for dropping by.

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