Preserving Jars – Preserving made easy
When growing your own fruit and vegetables or shopping seasonally, it is so easy to find yourself with something of a glut. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to preserve them so that nothing goes to waste. In this article, we walk through the four principal ways to preserve fruit and vegetables to whet your appetite.
Canning Jars to the rescue
One of the simplest ways to preserve fruits and vegetable is by canning them. Using glass canning jars, you can safely preserve all manner of fruits and vegetables, from peaches to chilli peppers. Ideally, vegetables need to be pressure canned to guarantee that all bacteria have been eliminated and a proper seal has formed with the screw-on lid. Foods that are more acidic, such as jam, marmalade, fruit butter and jellies, can all safely be canned using the hot water bath method instead.
Preserving jars for dehydrated foods
Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is another easy and effective method of preserving food. Many of us are familiar with the concept of dried herbs; however, don’t venture further to dehydrate fruits or vegetables, despite this being one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The simplest method of dehydrating food is using a commercially-purchased dehydrator, in which you can dry several trays of chopped food at a time. Once dehydrated and stored properly, dehydrated food can last from four months to a year.
Freezing, of course, is one of the most common ways to preserve food and works brilliantly for fruits you intend to use in smoothies or puddings, such as bananas, strawberries and cherries. If you have a glut of carrots, peas or beans, these also freeze very well. Some foods tend to go mushy when frozen, however, and it is worth experimenting, to see which items freeze best.
Pickling in jars
Pickling is perhaps one of the oldest methods of preserving food and uses salt or vinegar, or both, to preserve the food. We are all familiar with pickled onions, gherkins and savoury pickles such as sauerkraut, but some fruits also make good candidates for pickling.
Whatever method of preserving food you choose, it is essential to ensure that all your canning jars are sterilised thoroughly before use and that the lids on your jars make a complete seal. These two issues account for the bulk of all ‘failed’ preserves, but they are so simple to get right with a little care and attention.
There are plenty of ways to preserve all sorts of food, meaning that home-grown gluts or grocery ‘bargains’ should never again be a problem.