A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.
Low Sugar Peach Jam Recipes With a Twist
Each year we buy a couple of cases of peaches from the local Knight's of Columbus fundraiser. Some are eaten fresh, but quite a few are preserved for later. These low sugar peach jam recipes are an annual tradition. We make up at least one batch of each peach jam – usually two. Peach jam is also a great way to use up peaches that are too soft and ripe to be canned on their own.
Preserving Strawberries for Year Round Use
The boys and I go strawberry picking locally every year, just like I used to go with my mamma. (The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear used to be one of my oldest son's favorite books when he was little.) The strawberry season is short here – generally 2-3 weeks at most, depending on the weather, but we try to get out picking at least twice. For strawberry storage that we can enjoy year round, I use several different methods of preserving strawberries. In this post, I'll give tips for fresh strawberry storage, my favorite storage methods, and some fun strawberry storage ideas from friends.
As a beginning canner, there are often canning questions that come up that might seem obvious to experienced food preservers, but aren't so obvious when you're starting out. I've teamed up with some of my blogging friends (Chaya Foedus from Pantry Paratus, Janet Garman from Timber Creek Farm, and Diane Hamilton Coe from Peaceful Acres Farm) to answer over 15 of your home food preservation questions and recommend some great resources. If you don't find an answer to your question here, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help you out.
How do I get started canning? What do I go to the store and buy?
The post “Getting Started With Home Canning” gives a detailed list of equipment commonly used for canning. The most important piece is the canner. A water bath canner, which is basically a large pot with a rack in the bottom, is the easiest to use and less expensive than a pressure canner. [Read more…]
It's been busy around here lately. Either something's due for processing from the garden or yard, a friend calls with some “extra” produce or I run into something I just can't pass up. Option three was the case with the peaches and apricots. A couple of weeks ago I finally had a chance to stop into Grassroots Grocery, and they had a selection of local produce that included blueberries, apricots and peaches, among other things. I talked to the owner about buying some bulk quantities, and she said I could get back to her as late as Monday for her Tuesday order (this was Thursday). I was thinking peaches and blueberries, as I really enjoy blueberries mid-winter in baked goods and oatmeal, and I have fond memories from my childhood of my mom's canned peaches. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to make the commitment to even more canning and freezing when I was already so busy, but I figured I would think about it. I grabbed a small container of apricots to munch on the road, along with a few other things, and headed on my way (errand day is always busy). [Read more…]