Our produce section is overflowing with delicious organic and local produce. To enjoy this bounty a few months from now, it’s time to start preserving. Take advantage of member specials on #2 peaches and tomatoes, and look for more great deals in our weekly specials.
Interest in food preservation has increased in the last few years, and the internet is packed with tips, tricks, and methods. Some of the most common options are freezing, drying, fermenting, and canning.
Some fruits and vegetables are well-suited to freezing, while others don’t fare as well in the freezer. Nevertheless, since most people have at least some access to freezer space and there really isn’t any other equipment required, it’s a very common strategy. Here’s a list of vegetables that freeze well and how to prepare them. Most fruits freeze quite well, but you might want to peel and cut them into serving sizes and freeze on a cookie sheet. If you put cut fruit into a bag and freeze it that way, you’ll wind up with a solid mass that’s hard to portion out. You can also puree fruits in a blender and freeze the puree in ice cube trays for easy smoothie additions.
Dried fruits and veggies can be kept without additional energy input and without taking up your freezer space. Again, not all fruits and veggies are suitable. Although food dehydrators can be expensive to purchase and operate, they don’t require ongoing energy like freezers. Make sure to cut off any imperfections or spoiled sections. You can also build your own solar dehydrator.
Fermentation is an age-old food preservation, and includes such favourites as kim chi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and cider. There are too many methods to list here, but you can learn more at our cooking school, where we’re offering introductory and advanced classes.
Canning fruits and vegetables is a great way to preserve flavour and nutritional value. There are two main methods currently recommended to eliminate bacteria that cause spoilage and disease: the open water bath and pressure canning. For an open water bath, all you need is a large stock pot and your containers, while pressure canning requires a pressure cooker. Foods that are high in acid (like tomatoes and most other fruit) can be processed in an open water bath, but low-acid foods require the higher temperatures of pressure canning.