Storing produce

We all have freezers where we can store blanched or fresh fruit and vegetables.  However the space soon fills despite the fact you may have more produce needing storage.  It is food that you cannot eat straight away but you don’t want to waste.

Other ways of preserving include making jam (sweet or savoury), pickling with vinegars, drying in  driers or in the sun, salting, or soaking in brine or olive oil. One friend reminded me that perhaps ‘best of all is preserving in brandy!”  Regrettably  my cupboard is bare in terms of this delectable spirit.

Here is a photo of a selection of my home-made relishes and sauces; some from plums, some from gooseberries and some from tomatoes.

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Long term blog readers may remember that elsewhere I have black olives soaking in oil, after I put them through a salting process for weeks. They have been there for almost a year now and I plan not to open the bottles until April 2021.

In an earlier post you have seen the pickles below that were made by friend R.

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The following shows the full shelves of friend C.

Shelves of preserves

The friend  who sent this last photo gave me a wonderful tip.  When you dry food it can still be bulky; eg dried Silverbeet, mushrooms, apples etc. This means you need more and more jars to hold them all. In turn you need more space to store the jars.

The solution is to dry one vegetable with one or two herbs and/or even with another vegetable or more in a food drier if you have one. Once dry then mix them all together. Blend or grind the mix into a powder. Store the powder in an airtight jar. From then on, you only need a teaspoon or two when you want to reconstitute the flavours (although the texture is long gone).

Once I start doing this I can see myself routinely using a spoon or two in a mug, pouring boiling water over and having a cup of soup – it will have the advantage that I will know all the ingredients that are in there.  My first trial will be with the remains of the Silverbeet in my garden, an onion and parsley – I will dry them all, add a little rock salt and ground black pepper,  then blend to a powder.  Should be fun. But most of all it is a simple way of reducing the volume of storage jars.

I hope this blog post inspires you to find ways to store and not to waste any fruit or vegetable that comes your way – including the passionfruit that might hang over your fence from the neighbour or the apples or pears that edge the footpaths as you walk.  Without trespassing or stealing, treat each piece of food you see as if your life and survival depends on it, and grab it. In a few months’ time you don’t want to be in a position where you bemoan the memory of that potato or tomato or pear you passed up right now.  Become a food hoarder using the natural produce of your gardens, or any gifts from neighbours or friends that may be left thoughtfully at your front door.

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