It’s that time of year of again, when summer fruit, veggies and herbs are at their peak, ready to be harvested and preserved for winter. There’s nothing better than cracking open a jar of fresh fruit in mid-winter, when spirits are low. Or sprinkling summer fresh dried herbs over a simmering tomato sauce during those dreary months. It’s like getting shot with Vitamin D: bliss. So why preserve food at home?
- It’s economical.
- Saves packaging waste.
- Doesn’t contain nasty preservatives and excess sugar
- Tastes, smells and looks so much fresher than store-bought
- Saves your hide on busy days…
- when you’re short on cash…
- too sick to run to the store…
- and you know, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, it’s always good to be prepared.
Not to mention it gives a serious ego-boost. Nothing like a good diy to feel like a super hero.
METHOD #1 – FREEZE
If the thought of canning makes you break out into a cold sweat, start with freezing. It’s the simplest and quickest method of preserving food. Put your garden herbs to good use and make parsley walnut pesto. Simply sub basil for parsley and pine nuts for walnuts and you’ve got a killer traditional pesto.
Preserve those fruits and veggies by freezing! After chopping, spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze for 20-30 minutes before bagging or jarring them to prevent clumping. Visit this post for additional freezing tips and tricks.
METHOD #2 – CAN
Last year I tried my hand at canning and used a pressure cooker to preserve peaches and used the water bath method to can pears. For my go-to canning links, visit this post. This year I plan to switch to BPA-free, resuseable Tattler brand canning lids to keep toxins out.
METHOD #3 – PICKLE
I was beyond stoked when Prudent Baby featured my pickles last year. Check out the original post here. And for more inspiration (and more than just pickling), visit one of my favorite food preservation blogs, Tigress in a Pickle.
METHOD #4 – DRY
I didn’t dry last year, though I did share my killer Italian Seasoning blend recipe. And have since dried. I’ll share more of that another day; in the meantime check out this helpful post about drying lavender and use my go-to food preservation site for more helpful tips.
METHOD #5 – BREW
There is a ton of information about brewing out there. We’ve experimented with different methods, and in short: it’s just plain fun. I shared a bit about our experience here. While I’m not drinking beer these days, the husband’s desire to brew hasn’t waned. I’ll share (or perhaps he’ll share) his tips and tricks another day.
METHOD #6 – ROAST
METHOD #7 – FERMENT
We’ve just gotten into lacto-fermentation, and oh is it ridiculously cool. Not only is it simple, but it’s powerfully healthy, what with all those natural, gut balancing probiotics and enzymes swimming around. Fermenting is the simplest, most nutritious way to preserve food and consuming live-cultures can actually kill disease. Our go-to book is Wild Fermentation, a serious wealth of knowledge. I plan to write-up a how-to post soon. In the meantime, visit this fantastic post for a how-to.
Do you preserve food? What are your favorite preservation links? Or what’s stopping you from taking the plunge?