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Sustainable Eating: Preserve Your Vegetables All Year Round

Sustainable Eating: Preserve Your Vegetables All Year Round

If you want to enjoy seasonal fruits and vegetables all year round and save some money in the process, it’s time to learn the classic skill of preserving. Often overlooked, it’s a quick and sustainable practise that takes the burden out of bulk-buying, minimises food wastage and eliminates any preservatives.

“Preserving is much easier than people think,” said preserving ambassador and test kitchen consultant, Rebecca Sullivan. “All it takes are three easy steps – just fill, boil and store for up to a year!”

With several different preserving techniques available, it can be difficult at first to determine which is best. However, Rebecca advises picking a technique based on the produce available and storing your favourite fruits or vegetables when they’re in season. “The water bath preserving technique is ideal for preserving high acid foods such as fruits, fruit juices or fruit spreads,” she insists.

So, what is “the water bath” technique and what does it entail, exactly? Put simply, it’s a process that involves placing food in jars and boiling them to kill off any active bacteria. You can find detailed methods for doing this on websites such as Fresh Preserving, however the basis of the procedure includes submerging jars in hot water – this prevents any cracks – transferring your prepared food into the hot jars, sealing, and then boiling.

If it’s meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables that you’re wanting to preserve, Rebecca advises using the pressure canning technique. “A pressure canner helps you reach the temperatures you need to eliminate the micro-organisms present in these low acid foods,” she explains.

It’s important when preserving these low acid foods that you acquire the right utensils to do so, and follow safe and trusted guidelines and recipes. You see, unlike the water bath technique, pressure canning heats the jar and its contents past boiling point to create a vacuum seal. This then ensures all contaminating bacteria is eliminated so that the product doesn’t become toxic.

Once you’ve determined which method is right for you, here is Rebecca’s list of the best vegetables and fruits to start preserving, in accordance to seasons:

Summer: Berries like blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries, as well as stone fruits such as peaches and plums.

Autumn: Vegetables such as sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips and zucchini are in season in the cooler months, so it’s the perfect time to prep for winter with some hearty soups.

Winter: Citrus fruits such as navel oranges, lemons and mandarins are ideal in winter, as are hearty items such as spinach, potatoes, fennel and brussel sprouts.

Spring: This season is the best time of  the year to preserve peas, artichoke, grape fruit and lemons to ensure you have a supply available all year round.

Image via Shutterstock

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