There is nothing more satisfying, than being able to turn a sack of apples, peaches or pears into something magnificent.
There are so many different ways of preserving fruit or vegetables, and many recipe books, and even goggling on-line will show you how it can be done very simply.
My personal preferences:
- I always only use the lightest sugar quantities I can, as the fruit has a natural sweetness to it, which enhances as it sits in the jars or containers, and really there is no need to spend more you have too on providing a sweetness which is already there and is provided naturally
- For stone fruit, I personally like to preserve using the overflow method, I find this works best for me, and I get the best results, quickly with minimal effort. I have many of the old fashioned Agee jars and love to see them filled with the goodness that I have placed in there,I also like up a template on my computer and love to make printed labels for each jar, these make great gifts too.
- For pears I like to follow the overflow method but then I let cool and freeze in margarine or ice cream containers,
- For apples & plums I peel, chop and stew the fruit with a small amount of sugar and then place when cooled in either margarine, or ice cream containers, label, date and freeze.
- For rhubarb, I wash, slice and freeze in zip locked bags and that way when its required I can then decide which way I will utilise it.
- Berries, I wash, dry and freeze in zip lock bags, making sure to label the bag with contents & date.
- Pumpkin, I have tried many ways of preserving pumpkin, now I just cut it up into pieces I would normally serve and then freeze on a oven tray or dish and once frozen I place in an air tight bag, this way you can then use for almost anything, and its ready for you.
- Corn, after many failed attempts at corn I have found that freezing it as you buy it in the store,or pick from the garden is the best, no blanching, no peeling just freeze in its husks, the skin naturally protects the corn and does not dry it out, when its required just defrost it and peel and its ready to go.
- All beans and peas, I will prepare correctly, blanch and then dip in iced water and then free flow in zip lock bags, label and freeze.
- Silver beet & Spinach my well tried and trusted true way with to preserve is to flow this method, wash, cut and blanch, dip in iced water and then on a oven tray or roasting pan, form nests, once those nests are formed, cover with a grocery bag, or glad wrap and freeze, once frozen transfer to a zip lock bag, when required just drop nests into boiling water, and they are ready.
- Carrots & parsnips as these are readily available most of the year, I don't preserve them, but when I did I would followed the beans method, of blanching, I also cooked a huge pot of carrots and parsnips, mashed together and froze them in family serving sizes in margarine containers.
- Potatoes, I did double dip in hot fat/dripping home made cut up chips once and then drained them and froze, but for the amount of effort I put into doing this I was not satisfied, that it was a successful experience, and also considering you can buy a 1 kg bag of chips to cook at the supermarket for under $3 I have never bothered again. But in saying that, if I have left over mashed potato I do still freeze it for bubble and squeak.
- Eggs, you can even freeze eggs, if you get given a large quantity you can freeze them quite successfully, I have included a photo, as you might think they turn out brown afterwards, but they do not.
- You can also separate eggs and freeze as whites and yolks, they make the best pavlova's, frozen whites, I normally freeze in numbers of two
A couple of quote's I can remember my Grandma Helen saying to me were,
4 blackberries, turn a boring old apple pie into something terrific, so never think to not pick them when you see them
Who needs to go to the supermarket , when the abundance in one's cupboard is an outstanding sight for sore eyes.I always wondered what that quote meant, and she always said that one day I would just know, and once I started doing all my own pickles, chutneys and preserves I knew finally what she meant, as it is a sight for sore eyes when your pantry is laden down with all your hard work and it is a spectacular sight, and one that you find hard to stop looking at .