Autumn Food Preserving
Home preserving and long warm days in autumn, always gives me a feeling of having completed a great year, when landscape transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors, that is a joy to everyone's heart, as I harvest the fruits of my labors from the garden and enjoy the rich bounty of a successful growing season.
There is no other satisfaction for a mother than seeing all the saved food sitting on the shelf knowing, after all, the hard work that the family will be warm and feed well all winter.
Fall which is usually around Easter time this year it's a bit late (April 2017) in the southern hemisphere and September in the northern hemisphere, is an exciting time preparing for harvesting the fruits of a great summer and planning winter feeding of a family.
Actually, when I am doing all this preserving, preparing for the winter, I fell like the nursery rhyme "Little Red Hen" or Waste Not - Want Not, when winter is over and you have fed your family well, you know that is was all worth while.
Why should you bother with all that hard work if all you need to do is go down to the grocery store and buy what you need?
For a start, homegrown food is tastier, keeps better, no preservatives, and one other that is important to me, is because we only go out for groceries once a week about 30 km away, if we run out, we just go without, cannot run down to the grocery store, so it's great to have all these preserves for a meal.
STORING CROPS - Cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins can be stored in suspended nets for a limited period of time.
I have pumpkins still in as good as condition now, as they were when harvest, you must not handle any food roughly, or you will bruise it if you do they will be liable to rot.
Gather pumpkins when the stalks are dry, if the weather is wet, pick them up carefully leaving about 6-9 ins of their stalks on, so they can dry naturally in a shed, carefully turning occasionally to make sure they have no spots or rot appearing as their stalks are drying out, if so discard them or if not too bad use them.
PRESERVING IN SUGAR - Sugar preserves I make - jams, jellies and I like making marmalade.
For fruit, I cooked with very little water and simmered with an equal amount of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved and then bottle in sterilize bottles and seal.
For jams and jellies by following the recipe I usually achieve the proper consistency for setting, sometimes it does not matter if it is a little running (but not too much) because as it matures it goes thicker (for example) plum jam.
FREEZING - It is not much you cannot freeze these days, I will cover freezing in another module later.
PICKLING - The most important thing about pickling food in vinegar is to use glass or stoneware pots.
Fruit -can be pickled in a vinegar, sugar syrup, which makes delicious condiments.
Vegetables - before covering them in vinegar they are washed and simmered for a few minutes in vinegar and pickling spices but short enough for the veggies stay crunchy.
They are then filled into jars, which should be closed once the contents have cooled down, good for stews and adding to the slow cooker meals.
Food Dehydrating - It is one of the most ancient, effective, and nutritious ways of preserving food.
Eggs - you can preserve eggs that will last you right through the winter, I can keep eggs for many months in my fridge.
My Mother always preserved eggs with something called (Nortons Egg Preserver).
The video below is very good for preserving eggs.
Preserving Meat Series - Salt Curing Hams and Bacons Part 1
Dehydrating Harvest Food
Have you ever tried dehydrating?
It is one of the most ancient, effective, and nutritous ways of preserving food it is a very effective ways to preserve food for maximum nutrition at very low cost.
Vegetables done this way are very handy when cooking, so many ways you can use them, also saves space in the deep freeze, great for soups and stews.
But there's still the good old bottle preserving of excess fruit and vegetables.
Then there's always jam, pickles, and chutney that you can make from fruit that has over ripened.
Dehydrating is an excellent way for harvesting all foods even eatable flowers and nuts.
How to preserve food by salting
Do you preserve your own fruits and vegetables?
Freeze Lemon Juice
Lemons can play a part in preparing many meals from appetizers to desserts.
Can be used to create and enhance the natural flavours of dishes you have never thought of.
I often, when I have a bumper crop of lemons, pick them, squeeze the juice out of them, and deep freeze them in ice cubes containers, they can be thawed out for icing cakes, making hot lemon drinks in the winter, plus many other uses.
If I leave them on the bush too long the possums will beat me to them, they love ripe skins of lemons, they leave me the lemons with no skins, aren't they kind, sharing my crop with me.
Preserving Fruit: How to Make Jam HD
Dehydrators For Preserving Food
Just recently I came across the Solar dehydrators, I quickly hook onto it.
It is more environmentally friendly and less expensive to use than electric food dehydrators.
Take a peek at it, you will be surprised how many people don't have power, (yes you will be amazed how many families don't have power), so here is a way they can preserve and save waste of food.
Dehydrating Fruits using a Dehydrator
© 2011 Elsie Hagley