The advantages of preserving garden spoils cannot be overemphasized. You get to feed your family with wholesome foods even when it’s not the harvesting season. When you grow and preserve your garden fruits and vegetables, you know everything is chemical free, you know what ingredients were used, and you enjoy the richness all year long.
The big question; how do you preserve your food by canning and drying?
Drying Vegetables and Fruits
Drying your garden spoils requires little preparation. All you have to do is blanch your vegetables and pre-cut your bounty. Things like carrot, watermelon and strawberries should be left about ¼ inch thick. Don’t keep them for days before you start the drying process. The sooner you dry after plucking, the better.
All drying takes is to remove moisture from a fruit or vegetable quickly at a temperature that will not affect the flavor. There are different ways to dry which include;
This works best for herbs compared to vegetables and fruits. Pick up your garden herbs when the oils are at their peak preferably in the morning. Tie them all up with strings. Hang each bundle in a dark location with ventilation. As soon as they are dry, strip the leaves off the bundles in a stroking motion. You can store your dried herbs in jars and put them in a freezer.
You will need to buy commercial dehydrators for this form of drying. They are small electrical appliances which can require little energy to circulate warm air. There are several types of dehydrators, and the one you decide to use depends on your preference. Use this dehydrator to remove all the moisture from your foods.
Simply placing your food in an oven and setting it at about 160 degrees for about 4 to 5 hours will leave it dry and preserve its flavor. Place your spoils on three oven racks, keep them in the oven and leave the door half an inch open.
This works best in Southwest regions with warm, arid climates. You only need the power of the sun. All you have to do is get some paper-lined trays, lay your food on them and place them in the sun. You should turn them at intervals. If you have a solar dryer, put your trays there and let your foods dry. If you see signs of rain when your food is not yet dry, take it inside and finish up with an oven.
Canning Fruits & Vegetables
This as an age long method of preservation.
Pick out your fully mature vegetables, process them after picking. You can use a pressure cooker for the processing. Don’t use a cooker for tomatoes. Don’t can vegetables with a cold water canner because you may end up with colorless, tasteless and odorless and even poisonous food.
What you will need for this process;
Boiling -Water Canner: a big pot or kettle.
Canning Salt (not table salt)
Lids and Bands
Can your vegetables and fruits and keep eating healthy even off the harvest season.