The Craft of Preserving Spring and Summer Vegetables Has Never Been Easier!
It happens some years. The weather is good; the sun shines and the rainfall is perfect! And wonder of wonders! You have a great spring and summer motherlode of vegetables from your garden or the neighborhood Victory Garden or the local Farmer's Market. You don't have to feast and famine. You can easily carry the goodness of your homegrown or local organic produce into the rest of the year for your family's benefit. Freezing and preserving are not new. But the processes have never been easier and the results have never been better. Get the best vegetables for preserving and the best vegetables for canning and go to town for some canning jars and freezer bags!
Freezing Summer Vegetables is a simple process that preserves more nutrients and a fresher taste than canning or drying vegetables for storage. Preparing vegetables for freezing involves blanching. Blanching is a technique used to keep vegetables crisp and tender by scalding them in a quick boil and submergence in an ice bath for cooling. Blanching time is crucial and reliant on the classifications of the vegetables being prepared for freezing. Blanching preservation time for vegetables can be as short as 1 ½ minutes for Onions or other Root Vegetables and up to 5 minutes for potatoes. Package blanched vegetables in freezer bags or containers and freeze thoroughly for storage. Reheat frozen vegetables for preparation and serving.
Preserving Summer Vegetables by Canning helps with storage because storing the vegetables does not require special refrigeration or temperatures and keeps vegetables fresh for long-term storage. Before canning vegetables, sterilize canning jars in the oven for 30 minutes at 250+ degrees. Wash the canning lids and hold them in a simmering pan of water without boiling them. Follow canning recipes and instructions for canning and preserving specific vegetables and vegetable types. Spoon vegetables ready for canning into hot jars from the oven. Wipe the mouth of the jar clean and use a fork to place the lid on the jar without touching completely screw on the band until tight. The canned vegetables and jars are ready for the boiling water bath preservation process to complete cooking and seal the jars for long-term storage. Properly canned vegetables will keep for 2+ years.
Pickling Summer Vegetables to preserve them is one of the oldest known ways to preserve and store food and liquids. Pickling prevents the deterioration of vegetables with a fermenting preservation process that penetrates them with vinegar, brine, or oil. Sterilize utensils and canning jars by boiling them for at least five minutes and allowing them to dry on a towel while preparing vegetables for pickling. Follow pickling recipes exactly to attain the necessary acidity to complete the process. Once the pickling process is complete, seal the jars with a pressure canner or water bath and leave undisturbed for 24 hours. Pickled vegetables keep best in cool dark places and refrigeration once opened.
So consider that while the veggies are good and cheap, now is the time to sock some away for the year ahead. You family will love it!