Harvesting and storage – how to preserve your produce this winter…

October 31st 2013
By: Melanie Hollidge
Harvesting and storage – how to preserve your produce this winter…

After a glorious summer and with more and more of us turning to growing our own, it’s at this time of year that we need to harvest our nurtured delights. However, preserving this sudden glut of fresh food can be a bit overwhelming, so we have put some ideas together of the various ways in which you can preserve your precious harvest throughout winter:
Jams, chutneys, jellies and curds – the best way to sterilize your jars is by placing them in the oven on grease proof paper for 10 minutes at 140c. There are all types of different combinations to preserve green tomatoes.  They make a delicious chutney which can be served with goats cheese – delicious.  Experiment with flavours; redcurrant jelly is great with chilli. If you have plenty of apples – make apple sauce and freeze it, or peel, core and slice apples, cover with lemon juice and freeze on a baking tray.  Once frozen, put them into a freezer bag, this is great for making apple puddings throughout winter.
Drying – you could also try drying your apples.  Peel, core and slice the apples into thin strips and then string them onto cotton and suspend them in a warm place until they go hard. Once they have dried, put them into your sterilised jars. You can do this with chillies, herbs and other vegetables too, if in doubt give it a go anyway!
Pickling – this is a great way to store beetroot, onions, cabbage, but make sure you use a good quality vinegar to preserve them otherwise you might find that they are too acidic.
Soups – another great storage idea for using up a glut of vegetables is by turning them into soups and then freezing them. By whizzing up tomatoes in a blender and then placing them in freezer bags, you will then have a great fresh sauce ready for making any tomato based recipes, such as bolognaise or pizza sauce.
Freezing – you can freeze most vegetables and fruit by blanching and then freezing, however this depends on how busy you are. Freezing blackberries without blanching them works really well, added to a nice apple crumble or a fruit smoothie, and will be a great source of vitamin C throughout winter.