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Preserving


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Is anyone doing any canning, jarring, pickling ? I'm interested in any tips or suggestions that you want to share.

I made strawberry jam for the first time last week with fresh local strawberries and it came out amazing. We did dill pickles which won't be ready for another month. Ms.Hux also made a Jalapeno jelly (delicious!), a zucchini relish, and a onion-garlic chutney (again...fab!). I plan on getting my hands on as much basil as possible (ours didn't grow worth shit this year) and making a large batch of pesto to preserve as well.

Also there's lots planned for all of the tomatoes that are showing up every week from basic jarred tomatoes to preserved roasted tomatoes.

I just ordered this book from amazon as it looks like the definitive bible for all things that you would put in a jar.

I also have a pickling bible and a jams-jellies book. Holy shit, is there ever alot of things that you can do to keep yourself well stocked for the winter months.

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We've been busy freezing and pickling everything our garden has produced this year. One thing we found useful to do with all of our zucchinis (aside from a big batch of relish) was to chop them up into different shapes/sizes and freeze them. They're ready to go for mid-winter stir fries.

We tried to dehydrate some of our tomatoes in the oven, and had mixed reviews. They came out mostly ok, but had to spend six hours in the oven instead of the recommended two to three.

Also, we always make sure to can a couple batches of the Loan Star Salsa recipe that was posted here a while back. It's a great way to use tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro.

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what do you guys finds works best for jarring tomatoes on their own, the chopping and pouring boiling water over them method? or actually stewing them first?

I want them for soups and chili over the winter.

I have a book titled

Small Batch Preserving and it contains a great "zucchini relish" and "garden patch salsa" recipe.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

I don't do canning, but I do lacto-fermentation for preserves .. sauerkraut, kimchi, (brined) pickles, all that sort of thing. It's a different breed of preservation, though. Requires less paranoia about sanitation [no botulism concerns] and such, and also replaces the need for commercial probiotics.

Would recommend anything by Sandor Katz or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

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Lacto-fermenters here- did over 50 liters this fall- mostly kraut, and a few jars of cukes, julienned kohlrabi, and my personal favorite, combo jars with julienned beets and carrots!

Finally bought a basic dehydrator this year-Used it for our heirloom tomatoes and for making kale/hubbard squash chips. Never had such flavorful dried tomatoes in my life!

You don't have to be a raw food foodie to appreciate a food dehydrator- must have for backyard gardeners!

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Recipe please!

I do it differently all the time, but the one that I like best and always go back to is:

cabbage, carrot, shallots or onion, radish, ginger

Amounts vary depending on mood. Slice everything really thin, pack into a mason jar, create a brine solution (I just do this by taste .. it should be slightly saltier than appetizing, but not so much that it is gross), pour over the veggies leaving at least an inch or so at the top. You will get evaporation, so more liquid is better. Leave on the counter for two or three days (the temperature of your place will be a factor here) until it is nice and bubbly, move to the fridge/cold storage for a week or two, and then enjoy :)

If you are able to forget that it is in the fridge for a month or so, even better .. it improves over time. I personally suck at that, though.

I *love* this with thin rice crackers, a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, mixed greens, a little bit of sliced turkey breast [for the non-vegetarians], and some d_rawk special blend mustard [see below]

Mustard:

I do various different ones. Some are plays off of commercial mustards like French's, some are fermented with something like whey, this one is pretty easy and the one I find making the most lately. It lasts pretty much indefinitely.

2 cups yellow mustard seeds, soaked overnight

½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar (could try with white wine vinegar instead or a mix, I just stick with what works)

1 tsp. tumeric

½ tsp. sea salt

Mix all ingredients in a blender or a food processor to desired degree of smoothness. Thin with additional vinegar or some water if necessary. Optionally stir in some whole mustard seeds.

If you wanted to get really saucy, this is the fermented one and more in line with the topic of preservation:

1 1/2 cup (4 ounces) ground mustard

1/2 cup filtered water

2 tablespoons whey

2 teaspoons sea salt

juice of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds (optional)

Mix all ingredients together until well blended, adding more water if necessary to obtain desired consistency. Place in a pint-sized jar or two 8-ounce jars. The top of the mustard should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. This one is really, really hot! (Like in the mouth-burning kind of way, not the Paris Hilton kind of way) but it mellows over time.

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Also, I should say that if you want it really hot & spicy, you can use red pepper flakes or chili powder, or cut up chili peppers. I tend to use a 'fire' blend that has cayenne, ginger, black pepper, curry spices, chili powder, paprika, horseradish, wasabi, cinnamon, and a whole lot of other wild stuff. But I find that I don't add spiciness very often as the onion, radish, and ginger do a pretty good job on their own, and since I so often eat it with the (rather hot) mustard, it isn't needed. And sometimes you want it kind of muted as a side-dish or as an addition to something else.

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You don't have to be a raw food foodie to appreciate a food dehydrator- must have for backyard gardeners!

Agreed. I couldn't imagine not having one (I have two) now. Mine has been indispensable when preparing for my camping trips, especially for the month+ long canoe trips into the interiors we used to do. Not having some fruit, veggies and meat to enjoy after 3 weeks would have driven me crazy. Those "meals in a bag" just don't cut it all the time.

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