NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Popular Again

Popular Again

 

 

            Winter is – hopefully –a long, long way off but can you imagine how wonderful some home-grown corn, beans, rhubarb or strawberries would taste good next January?

 

            More people than ever are preserving fruits and vegetables from their backyard or local farmers market so they can enjoy home-grown produce year-round.  The increase in people doing home canning also coincides with an increase in home gardens and the desire for locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Increases in home gardening and home food preservation have always been closely related. Depending on the equipment you already own, you can save money by preserving food at home.  For every $1 spent on seeds, you can get $10 worth of fresh produce, according to seed companies.

            Another close relationship in food preservation is that of up-to-date info on food preservation techniques and food safety.  Using current methods and knowing research trends are critical to food safety.  Great-grandmother’s recipe for dill pickles may have the flavor your family loves but if it uses an out-of –date preservation method those pickles may make your family deathly ill.  For safety’s sake use research-based, up-to-date recipes that include up-to-date instructions.  You may wish to preserve Great-grandmother’s recipe as an heirloom copy of her handwriting, but use today’s recipes for today’s batch of pickles. 

            If you have freezer space, freezing is the easiest form of food preservation and requires little special equipment. To freeze foods properly, remember these tips:

 

* Choose containers made for freezer storage, such as freezer bags or plastic freezer containers. Good freezer containers keep moisture in and air out.

 

* Blanch, or heat treat, as directed. Blanching is scalding vegetables in steam or boiling water for a short time. If you do not blanch, vegetables may discolor, toughen or develop off-colors or off-flavors during frozen storage.

 

* Label containers with contents and date to avoid those “mystery” packages in the freezer.

 

* For best quality, use frozen vegetables within 12 months.

 

Frozen Peaches or Nectarines

             Select well-ripened fruit and handle carefully to avoid bruising. Sort, wash and peel.

            Sugar Pack – To each quart (1 1/3 pounds) of prepared fruit add 2/3 cup sugar and mix well. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. To retard darkening, sprinkle ascorbic acid dissolved in water over the peaches before adding sugar. Use 1/4 teaspoon (750 mg) ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons cold water to each quart of fruit. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

            Crushed or Purée – Coarsely crush peeled and pitted peaches. For purée, press through a sieve or purée in a blender or food processor. (Heating pitted peaches for 4 minutes in just enough water to prevent scorching makes them easier to purée. For better quality, add 1/8 teaspoon (375 mg) ascorbic acid to each quart of fruit. Pack into containers. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.

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