One of the first things I learned to preserve when I lived on a farm 15 years ago was tomatoes. Because we didn’t buy any off-farm produce in winter, we spent many weeks during the summer sweating in the outdoor kitchen and canning food on a woodstove. Talk about rustic!
To make tomato sauce we would run the fruit through a Squeezo to remove the skins and seeds. For whole tomatoes we’d dunk them in boiling water and peel off the skins.
For a few years after leaving the farm I just accepted that this is how you preserved tomatoes.
Until one day, when I stopped and realized how much work this was. I found that I was dreading my tomato canning sessions. “There’s got to be another way.” I thought to myself.
This week’s bonus post is a guest column on a fellow garden blogger’s site, Lovely Greens. After reading the article, stick around for awhile and check out all of her creative projects, and especially her recent tour of a real live hobbit house.
For many of us gardeners, late summer and early fall signals the peak of the harvest season. Although filling up baskets and bowls full of vegetables from your garden can feel exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming and stressful.
If you find yourself giving away or, even worse, composting extra produce, consider trying your hand at food preserving this season. Contrary to popular belief, food preserving doesn’t have to be difficult, take up a lot of time, or require lots of fancy equipment. In fact, I’m a big advocate super easy food preserving.
Instead of spending a full day in a sweltering kitchen, easy food preserving means using the simplest and quickest method for putting each vegetable, fruit and herb away for use in delicious meals all season long.
My three favorite methods are storing food fresh in my basement or fridge, and using my chest freezer. This year I’m also experimenting with (and really loving) fermenting. Less frequently I turn to dehydrating and canning.
Let’s take a look at the options:
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Do you remember a time when you had a sudden realization that completely changed the way you look at something?
I had this experience with food preserving a few years ago. I usually stop by the local farmers market once a week to supplement what’s coming out of my own garden and buy some of the things I don’t have room to grow (corn, melons, berries). One morning as I was walking around during the height of the harvest season I started to notice all of the great bulk deals at the stands. A big bucket of pickling cucumbers for $10. Tomatoes for $1/lb. “Look at all of these great prices!” I thought to myself.
Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning. “I don’t have to grow everything I preserve.” Whoa!