5 ways to prepare your summer crop!
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Have you been toiling away all summer, growing your favorite fruit and veggies? Don't let those crops go to waste. Process, can, freeze and pack away for the fall and winter.
Freezing is one of the easiest ways to preserve vegetables for winter, and almost all vegetables are suitable, with the exception of cabbage and potatoes, which tend to become limp and waterlogged. Most vegetables need to be blanched first, which involves boiling them for a set amount of time– usually one to three minutes. Blanching stops the development of enzymes, thus preserving color, flavor, and nutrition. Once blanched, vegetables are dunked into ice water to cool them quickly and then packed for freezing. As a general rule, vegetables are packed in plastic containers or freezer bags.
Canning is one of the more involved methods of preserving vegetables, but the process is fairly straightforward if you take your time and follow directions carefully. Canning must be done properly, as some foods may develop harmful bacteria if they aren’t processed correctly.
Cucumbers are the most familiar choice for pickling, but you can also pickle a variety of vegetables, including:
Firmer foods, such as beets and carrots, may need a short blanching period to make them tender. Choose your choice of seasonings such as: Dill
A brine consisting of vinegar, salt, pepper (or sugar for a sweet brine) is boiled and poured over the vegetables. Once the brine cools, the jars are securely sealed.
Note: Some pickled vegetables will last in the refrigerator for up to a month, but others must be canned if you don’t plan to use them fairly soon.
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