…and I say you can can.
September is the Eat Local Challenge with an emphasis on preserving the harvest.
BY FAR, the easiest method of food preservation is cold storage (a la a root cellar), but I will get to that at a later post.
Right now, though, I would like to discuss refrigerator pickles. You need a refrigerator, pickling produce (cucumbers, green beans, even summer squash or corn), vinegar, a way to boil water, and some clean jars and lids. Oh, and some salt, and maybe some dill or other herbs. Here is a good site for refrigerated cucumber pickles. The one advantage that I have found to this method is that the lack of cooking makes for some crisp little salty treats.
Now, before you all rush out there to try this, realize that the USDA does not recommend doing any preservation without boiling-water bath canning or pressure canning. BUT, well, for years now I have made “Dilly Beans” with my first green beans and my first fresh dill. Basically, these are pretty little treats is all; I put up about four pints, wait 12 weeks, and then we eat them. Likewise, I make small batches of things like jam or pasta sauce that can be frozen or refrigerated if the harvest was too small to invest the time in getting out the glass jars. In other words, that precious space in the refrigerator? I’d rather it IS NOT taken up with canning jars!
But if you have extra refrigerator space, are afraid of canning, and you are a sucker for pickles, you should give this a try.
After all… even if you do boiling-water or pressure canning, as soon as you pop the lid off, the leftovers have to go in the fridge.
I’ve been enjoying dehydrating as a preserving technique. So far, so good.
I made grape jam for the first time this year, and all the jars are in the refrigerator because I didn’t do the boiling thing as the last step. I got some advice that the jam would be okay in the ‘frig for a few months, long enough for me to eat it all.
CC: I know it is damp where you are. Hope your dehydrating experiments have been going well! Maybe next year I will try my hand at drying out some fruit. I’ve got quite a few hot attics that could help me.
So, Carol! Congrats on the jam-making! That jam should be just fine in the fridge. We are probably going to start picking our grapes this weekend, the white ones first, then the Concords. We’ve got so many that we mostly make juice first, then fruit leather (don’t worry; I will blog about that process too), then move on to jam. Jam’s the biggest giveaway for us during the holiday season.