Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer will be Winding Down ~ Ever Thought About Preserving Food?

For years, preserving your own food was common. My mom did it and actually it wasn't that long ago. If you have a garden that produces a bountiful harvest, you may be thinking how to make it last... how to preserve it for the coming winter doldrums.

Freezing is the simplest means of preserving food but if you don't have a freezer chest or space in your fridge/freezer, then you may want to consider conserving as in canning or drying and even meats can be preserved through curing. Being a brainy gourmet, I recommend all three means of conservation and or preservation. Believe me, you will be absolutely delighted when you open a jar of your own home grown preserved food on a cold winter evening.

To begin, let's consider the easiest of herbs, fruits and veggies to preserve. For the most part, drying herbs is a daily task at the brainy gourmet headquarters. You can use an oven or a counter top electric drying machine. Clip your favorite herbs, spread them out and let them dry overnight in the oven or machine and if you have clipped a lot, it may take up to a day or two depending on the amount.

As for fruits and veggies, I highly suggest drying plums, apricots and apple slices: wash the fruits, dry with a clean towel, halve, remove the pit and or core (only apples need peeling and slicing) and dry spaced out on racks in the oven on low heat for up to 72 hours (I have a old Caloric wall oven with a constant pilot which seems to be just right for drying as the temp inside never gets more than 80) and of course you can use the suggested time found on your counter top drying machine.

When it comes to veggies, I like to freeze whole asparagus, green beans and even whole tomatoes: wash and bag and freeze.

I also enjoying canning tomatoes and applesauce. Nothing fancy... just brainy. Red ripe tomatoes should be washed, blanched, skinned and jarred with a pinch of salt spooned into boiled out mason jars and topped with boiled lids. Place the jarred tomatoes in a very warm deep water bath on the stove on low heat for 15-20 min. Remove, and let the jars free stand to cool keeping an ear to listen for the lids to pop. The applesauce is a bit more time consuming as the apples have to be washed, peeled, cored, cut up and cooked down into a sauce along with a bit of sugar, then jarred in the same way as the tomatoes... following the same stove top processing.

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