Sunday, June 22, 2014

Preserving Summer Part One

Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM, L.Ac


With the summer season upon us it is hard to imagine the need to preserve summer. With the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available from the farmer’s market or own garden, preserving techniques can help us to savor the tastes of summer all year long.
One of my favorite preservation methods is canning, especially when making home-made preserves from fresh fruit. While the endeavor may sound daunting, the process typically takes less than an hour. On average about four cups of fruit are needed per recipe and sugar can be used in varying amounts based on your sweet preferences. I often use stevia, a natural sugar alternative and universal pectin which will “set” with lemon juice and calcium (provided with the pectin packets) to help reduce unnecessary sugar. After the preserve has set, I then ladle the product into mason jars. Making sure they are tightly closed, the previously rinsed and boiled jars are then submerged in a canning bath and boiled for 10-15 minutes. While there are other jam recipes available including freezer jams which require only about 30 minutes, I feel that the traditional canning method allows you to not only save valuable freezer space but provides a product that does not run the risk of freezer burn or loss from an electrical outage.
If preserving jam and jelly seems a bit intimidating why not flash freeze you some summer tomatoes?

Whole tomatoes of any size can be frozen in small or large batches for future soups or stews. Store them in quantities that match your favorite recipes. The plastic bags can be run under tepid water to release the tomatoes so that they can be used with ease.

how to freeze tomatoes

Next time, we will talk about the preservation of your herbal garden for long term spice usage.




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