Friday, May 16, 2014

How to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

There are several advantages of preserving fruits and vegetables. When you preserve fruits and vegetables, you become self-reliant because during times when you can't buy canned goods from the store, you will have some preserved fruits and vegetables on hand that you can use to serve with your meals. Preserving your fruits and vegetables also retains the nutrients inside of them for a long time and this is opposite of cooking them for a long time, which saps some of the nutrients out of them. Here are 20 fruits and vegetables that you can preserve.

1. Beets

The first step is to sanitize your canning jars and then pour about six quarts of water in a pressure canner. After you do this, you would then choose a few beets that do not have damaged spots or that are not diseased and then you would cut the top parts off the beets as well as the roots before washing them in warm water. Once this step is complete you will cook the beets for thirty minutes to an hour then drain them. To begin the preservation process cut the cooked beets and place them in the jars, then fill the jar with enough water to cover the beets but don't fill the jar all the way to the top. Place the jars in the canner and let the jars stay in it for 30 minutes. Then remove the jars and place on a sturdy surface.

2. Figs

Figs are a delicious and nutritious fruit and there are several ways you can preserve them. To make a jam out of figs you would chop up three to four cups of figs and place them in a medium-sized pot with enough water to cover the figs. Furthermore, add five cups of sugar and three teaspoons each of lemon juice and vanilla. Let the figs cook down for 15 to 20 minutes then place in canning jars and put lids on the jars. Another way is to boil the figs for thirty minutes  and then place them in jars along with lemon slices. Fill the jars with water and place the lids on the jars before putting the jars in hot water for a few minutes. Finally, remove the jars.

3. Kumquats

Kumquats are tiny citrus fruits that taste great when preserved. One good reason why you should preserve them is because kumquats don't have a long shelf life. To preserve the kumquats, you want to scrub a pound of them with liquid soap and water before rinsing them off with water. After you do this, you would boil the kumquats in a large pot of hot water for fifteen to twenty minutes then add a pound of sugar to the water and kumquats and let simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Finally, you would place the kumquats in jars then put lids over the jars.

4. Strawberries

The first step in preserving your strawberries is to wash your strawberries then cut the stems off. The next step is to place the strawberries in a plastic bag filled with a cup each of sugar and water and this is a quick way to preserve your fresh strawberries. Another method is to make strawberry preserves and you can do it by combining a pound of strawberries, three cups of sugar and a few teaspoons of lemon juice in a medium pot. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes and then let cool before pouring into clean janning jars and sealing them with lids.

5. Cucumbers

Instead of buying pickles at the supermarket, why not put your fresh cucumbers to good use and preserve them by making pickles out of them? Start by chopping a pound of cucumbers and then you would sprinkle salt and black pepper over the cucumbers before tossing them in the bowl. After a few hours rinse the salt and pepper off the cucumbers then place them in a large pot of water along with a third cup of maple syrup, allspice and a few teaspoons of ground dill. Then you would put the cooked cucumbers inside jars and fill the jars with the water from the pot. Seal the jars tightly.

6. Jalapeno Peppers

Start by washing the dirt off your peppers after you take them out of the garden and then for the next few days you want to leave the peppers out in a warm and dry location, so they can dry out completely before you start the preservation process. Then slice the peppers and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them along with a half-cup of salt, a few teaspoons of dill, and a teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Place the peppers in canning jars as well as the salt water and seal the jars tightly.

7. Lemons

To make preserved lemons, cut stems off the lemons and then cut each lemon in quarters. After you do this, you would be juice the lemons since it is the lemon peels that are being preserved, and it is the juice that serves as the liquid for the preservation process. You would then add a few teaspoons of salt to the lemons and toss the lemons for a few minutes. Put the salted lemons and juice in the jars then seal with lids.

8. Peaches

Take some ripe peaches and rinse them with warm water, then boil the peaches in hot water for 30 minutes. After putting the hot peaches in ice water, peel the peaches and lay them on a sheet of parchment paper where they can dry for 36 hours. Place the peaches in a glass jar and then seal the jar tightly. Then put the jar in the refrigerator.

9. Tomatoes

Take a few tomatoes and cut the tomatoes slightly at the bottom but not going all the way. In a pot of boiling water add the tomatoes and after five minutes, remove the tomatoes from the pot. After the tomatoes are cooled, peel the tomatoes and set aside. Meanwhile put a third cup of lemon juice in each of the jars and then add the tomatoes. Add warm water to cover the tomatoes and seal them with the lids.

10. Asparagus

To preserve the asparagus, you want to wash the asparagus and cut off the spears. After this step, you would trim the asparagus so that it is at least five inches. Then take a large canning jar and place the asparagus inside it. Then add some diced onions, a few teaspoons of salt, and hot water to the canning jar. Place the canning jar in a canner so you can pressure the asparagus.

11. Pineapple

One of the best ways to preserve pineapple is through the freezing method and here is how you would do it. First you would cut the pineapple into slices and then you take a large sheet of parchment paper and put the pineapple slices on it. Then place the slices in the freezer and the next day, transfer the pineapple to an airtight storage bag before returning to the freezer.

12. Carrots

After cutting off the stem and eliminating discolored or diseased carrots, you would place a few canning jars in boiling water if they are not clean for sanitizing purposes and this also goes for the lids. After you can wash the dirt off the carrots and peel them, then cut them into slices. Put the carrots in the canning jars along with some crushed garlic cloves, herbs and hot water. Seal the jars and place them in the pressure canner for 15 minutes.

13. Okra

Rinse off your okra and then cut off the stems. In a pot of boiling water add the okra and let cook for five minutes. Remove okra from the pot and add to a bowl of ice water. After five minutes you would dry, the okra thoroughly and then place in a freezer bag to freeze as long as needed.

14. Green Beans

Trim and wash your green beans and boil a pot of water. Then place the green beans in a canning jar along with a teaspoon of lemon juice and enough hot water to cover the green beans. Then seal the jars and place the jars in a pressure canner for 30 minutes.

15. Apples

Wash, peel and remove the core from the apples, then chop them in pieces. Then you would put apples inside the canning jars and add a third cup of sugar syrup and hot water to cover the apples. Seal the jars and place in a pressure canner for 30 minutes.

16. Pomegranates

To preserve pomegranates, you want to wash and cut up your pomegranates and then soak them in water so that it will be easy to pull the pomegranates apart. Furthermore, take the pith from the pomegranates because they won't be needed. After doing this scoop out three cups of the seeds and in a pan combine the seeds with three cups of sugar to make preserves. Also add some of the flesh of the pomegranate to the mixture. Let the mixture cook at medium heat and then add a package of pectin. After 15 minutes, turn heat off and let mixture cool. Then pour the preserves in canning jars and seal with lids. You can also store in an area that is dark and cool.

17. Onions

To preserve onions, you want to wash and peel the onions then put them in a medium-sized pot of water. Let the onions boil for seven minutes and then remove them from the hot water. Then add a few teaspoons each of salt, ground ginger and black pepper to the canning jars before putting the onions in them. Fill the jars with the hot water and seal them. Finally, place the canning jars in a pressure canner or 30 minutes.

18. Pears

Start by washing, peeling and coring your pears and then chopping them into slices or cubes. Once you do this you would briefly soak them in lemon juice and water to keep discoloration from happening. Add the pears to a pot filled with two cups each of sugar and water and let cook for 20 minutes over medium heat. Then place the pears in hot canning jars and seal the jars. Finally, place the jars in a pressure canner for 30 minutes.

19. Watermelon

Take two quarts of a store bought watermelon slices and place them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Prehear the oven to 250 and when it heats up, place the watermelon slices in the oven. When the moisture is completely out of the slices, remove them from the oven and let them cool before placing in a glass jar and storing in the refrigerator.

20. Raspberries

You would make raspberry preserve similar to the way you would make other types of berry reserves. In a medium-sized,  pot combine two cups of raspberries, three cups of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and two teaspoons of lemon juice and a third cup of water. Cook over     medium heat for 30 minutes and let cool. Pour preserves into canning jars, seal the jars and place jars in a warm water bath for 20 minutes.

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