Food preservation has been around for centuries, different methods have been introduced over the years due to technological advances. However the same principle applies, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
We are about to enter arguably the best season for home grown fruit & vegetables or advantage, buying in season from your local market or supermarket. Preserve now & enjoy your summertime treats in the dead of winter.
FERMENTING – The fermentation process promotes the growth of good bacteria to transform flavour & shelf life. You’ve most likely heard of Kimchi & sauerkraut? If fermented properly, food can last up to 18 months! They also offer plenty of health benefits too.
CLAMPING – Used as a way of storing root vegetables for use after the harvest. It involves creating a mound of root vegetables with a layer of straw & a top layer of soil. Root vegetables can be kept up to 3-4 months using this method.
JAM – Made by boiling fruits with sugar until the pectin, natural gum like substance present in different fruits, are released when simmered, this sets the jam. Once prepared & stored in sealed jars, they keep for up to two years; three months in the fridge once opened.
PICKLING – Fruits & mainly vegetables are preserved with salt & vinegar. Using whole spices, not powders as they cloud the pickle, will add flavour. Spices such as mace, clove, root ginger, celery seeds & chili are common. Done correctly, these could last up to two years.
CHUTNEYS – Vegetables & fruits are cooked long & slow with salt, sugar, spices & vinegar. Chutneys can last for a year & four weeks in the fridge once opened.
HOME FREEZING – Vegetables are first blanched in boiling water, to cleanse & stop any enzymes that will wreck the freezing process. Vegetables with high-water content such as courgettes don’t work as well. Fruit & vegetables could last 6-8 months in your freezer.
DRYING – This method removes moisture using a dehydrating machine; you could use your oven but will take longer. Once dried & stored correctly, it can last up to a year.
BOTTLING – This preserves fruit by filing jars with the fruit & syrup, then gently bringing them up temperature & allowing a vacuum to form which keeps an airtight seal. Can be kept up to 18 months unopened.