Sunday, August 15, 2021

Preserve Food: Quickly & Easily

Vegetable Harvest
Single day vegetable harvest in early August of 2021, 21.57 lbs (9.78 kilos)

Are you ready for this?  I can teach you how to quickly and easily preserve your vegetables for the winter in a single blog post.  Are you sure you're ready for this? I don't think you are...

Throughout the summer you should constantly be thinking, “How can I preserve this for the winter?”  for any produce that you have abundance of.  Preserving some items are obvious, if you have excess tomatoes, you make tomato sauce, put the sauce in jars and freeze.  Boom, easy.  The not so obvious veggies appear to be tough to preserve but really it’s quite simple, you blanch and freeze them.

Blanching is very easy, it is the simple process of boiling water, throwing your vegetables in the boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, transferring the vegetables to cool water (or ice water) then drying them off followed by vacuum sealing and freezing them.

There are a few items that are even easier than that, mainly garlic, onions, beets, and radishes, but we’ll cover those below.

Here are the rough blanching times for the veggies that you likely have a lot of:

Kale – 2 minutes, blanch and freeze the leaves whole, take the stem off when you thaw them out.

Chard – 2 minutes, blanch and freeze the leaves whole, stems are edible.

Beans – 2 minutes, you can cut the tips off before or after freezing, the choice is yours.

Squash – 4 minutes, slice into slices (as if you’re going to cook them) then blanch the slices followed by freezing.

What you do not want to blanch and freeze:

Garlic – Dry for 2 weeks, cut the stem off, put in a breathable bag in the fridge, keeps for around a year.

Onions – Dry for 2 weeks, cut the stem off, keep in a cool place, keeps for several months if not longer.

Beets and Radishes – Take the greens off (eat or blanch and freeze the greens), put the bulbs in a non-breathable bag and place in fridge, will keep for several months if not much longer.  Check periodically for excess moisture (leads to mold), change bag as needed.

There you have it, how to quickly and easily preserve your bounty.  You can also use the above methods to preserve produce you bought from your favorite local farm or farmers market to have access to fresh, local food year-round even if you’re not growing it yourself.

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