A great way to deal with a surplus of fruit and vegetables is by storing and preserving them. Storing and preserving your crop can be done in a variety of ways. Let’s take a look at them.
Keeping fruit and vegetables in the right conditions can help them last for months. It is crucial to select specimens that are free from blemishes and remove any diseased ones. You will prevent your crop from going bad by storing it in a dry place with good ventilation. For storage, a wooden crate or shallow cardboard box will do. Make sure you allow air to flow between the levels if you stack the boxes.
Storing and Preserving Root Veg
It is possible to store root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and beets. Place beets and carrots in a single layer without wrapping them in anything and cut off the leafy tops. To prevent them from becoming rubbery, both vegetables are covered in sand.
The potatoes can be stored in cardboard boxes or hessian sacks. On a dry day, harvest them and let them dry in the sun. Avoid allowing the potatoes to become mouldy by removing any mud. Avoid allowing poisonous green patches to form on the skin by storing them in a dark place. It is best to leave parsnips in the ground over the winter and harvest them when needed.
The best way to store onions, garlic and shallots is to dry them thoroughly, then plait them before storing them. The bulbs can also be hung on an old pair of tights or in netting by cutting off the tops.
Storing and Preserving Apples and Pears
Pears and apples can be stored for a long time. Each fruit should be wrapped separately in newspaper and placed in a single layer at the bottom of the container.
Storing and Preserving Legumes
Beans and peas can be dried and used in stews or blanched and frozen. We will explore that later.
Storing and Preserving Squashes
Depending on the variety, squash plants such as pumpkins and courgettes can last up to three months. The winter squashes (such as butternut and spaghetti) do not keep after midwinter, but the winter squashes do. The way you do it is to put them in a cool (and dry) storage place like a cupboard to save them in good condition. Courgettes are not any good for storing and preserving, so they should be kept in the refrigerator for no longer than three weeks. It is best to eat courgettes fresh.You can preserve your harvest by freezing it. To easily defrost the produce, freeze in usable quantities. Only freeze firm, just-ripe fruit and vegetables as soon as possible after harvesting them. I would suggest that it is best if you stored them in a freezer bag or a suitable plastic container to ensure they keep well and do not suffer from freezer burn (inedible dry, brown patches that are caused by lack of moisture). Before freezing, some fruit and vegetables need to be blanched. This prevents the water that is in the fruit and vegetables from crystallizing and rupturing their cell walls, resulting in a soggy, soft texture when defrosted. You can blanch fruit or vegetables in a large pot of boiling water for about one third to one half of the usual cooking time and then transfer to ice-cold water before patting dry and freezing.
Storing and Preserving: Here are some things that freeze well:
Gooseberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Apple (blanched), Blanched beans (including French beans, Purple runner beans), Rhubarb, Cranberries, Peas.
Here is a very good video to show you the storing and preserving process:
Storing and Preserving – Drying, Pickling and Bottling
Tomatoes, peppers, and apples are among the crops that dry well. You can dramatically alter the flavour and texture of your crop by drying it and add it to dishes in interesting ways. First, wash and thinly slice your fruit or vegetable, then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. These items are typically dried out by being left outside in the sun over long periods. You can also bake the pieces at the lowest temperature setting of your oven (130C/250F) for several hours until they have shrunk and are almost dry. Store the dried pieces in an airtight container and consume them within a few weeks.
When pickled, shallots and beetroot are delicious and will keep for several months. Using a clean sharp knife, remove the tops of the beetroot (do not remove them too close to the roots, otherwise the colour may leak out). Cook in water for 30 minutes or until the skins and tops come off easily. Use pickling vinegar, slice the vegetables, and place them in sterile jars. (Jars can be sterilized properly by washing them well and then placing them in a cool oven at 150C/250F/Gas mark 1-2 for 20 minutes). For shallots, peel and cut off the tops and bottoms. To draw out excess moisture, place them in a shallow dish and cover them with salt. After leaving them overnight, rinse thoroughly, put them in a sterile jar and cover with pickling vinegar.
Chutney can also be made from leftover vegetables from your garden or allotment, such as courgettes, plums and tomatoes. The resulting jam can be kept for up to one year and is delicious spread on toast.
Storing and preserving your fruit and veg is easy – take al ook at soem recipes from the Family Food Garden website
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