Author Topic: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)  (Read 39966 times)

SEAKSR

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #150 on: January 10, 2017, 06:24:39 PM »
Posting to follow. Starting to prepare for the upcoming season now.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #151 on: January 15, 2017, 06:54:50 PM »
This year I decided to make mint tea bags for holiday gifts, and they were a hit.  Simple enough, too:  cut mint in late fall, dried on screens for a day or two, then stripped the leaves from the stems.  Took a kitchen scissors to the dried leaves to make the pieces more manageable for bagging.   Bought a pack of unbleached paper tea bags from Amazon (cheap) and filled them.  I could fit two or three of these into an envelope with a holiday card for small gifts, but for bigger gifts I turned a couple of storebought paper tea cartons inside-out, then decorated the boxes as I liked.

I was inspired by this thread to not let the mint go to waste again at the end of the growing season.  Thanks, fellow Mustachers!

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #152 on: January 16, 2017, 05:38:18 AM »
This year I decided to make mint tea bags for holiday gifts, and they were a hit.  Simple enough, too:  cut mint in late fall, dried on screens for a day or two, then stripped the leaves from the stems.  Took a kitchen scissors to the dried leaves to make the pieces more manageable for bagging.   Bought a pack of unbleached paper tea bags from Amazon (cheap) and filled them.  I could fit two or three of these into an envelope with a holiday card for small gifts, but for bigger gifts I turned a couple of storebought paper tea cartons inside-out, then decorated the boxes as I liked.

I was inspired by this thread to not let the mint go to waste again at the end of the growing season.  Thanks, fellow Mustachers!

Very cool. I need to dry my mint for the winter next year as even my kids like mint tea.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #153 on: February 04, 2017, 04:36:45 PM »
I discovered lactofermented veggies and I truly want to preserve more of my garden this year. I canned a lot of tomato sauce and applesauce and I don't regret it as we are eating through my pantry a lot. I'm trying to sow under protection this year to get ahead as I'm in zone 5 and we have a short summer.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #154 on: February 04, 2017, 05:47:50 PM »
This year I decided to make mint tea bags for holiday gifts, and they were a hit.  Simple enough, too:  cut mint in late fall, dried on screens for a day or two, then stripped the leaves from the stems.  Took a kitchen scissors to the dried leaves to make the pieces more manageable for bagging.   Bought a pack of unbleached paper tea bags from Amazon (cheap) and filled them.  I could fit two or three of these into an envelope with a holiday card for small gifts, but for bigger gifts I turned a couple of storebought paper tea cartons inside-out, then decorated the boxes as I liked.

I was inspired by this thread to not let the mint go to waste again at the end of the growing season.  Thanks, fellow Mustachers!

Very cool. I need to dry my mint for the winter next year as even my kids like mint tea.

I dried a bunch of mint (air dried, then fished in low, low, low oven). I just use it bulk for tea (mixed with other tea right now).

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #155 on: February 05, 2017, 05:07:42 PM »
Not sure if you have touched on this, but in the first post when you say dried blueberries are disappointing; you mean the American type? The European is a different species, and has much more flavour. It is also known as bilberry.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #156 on: February 07, 2017, 07:10:08 AM »
Not sure if you have touched on this, but in the first post when you say dried blueberries are disappointing; you mean the American type? The European is a different species, and has much more flavour. It is also known as bilberry.

American, yes. Don't think I've ever seen the European species here.
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frugalwitch

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #157 on: February 07, 2017, 07:42:48 PM »
Started some carrots and cabbage for lactofermentation this week. If I like the taste of them and if they preserve well, I'll probably try a few pounds of each next autumn. :)

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #158 on: April 13, 2017, 10:02:17 PM »
I made a couple of herb-salt blends last year as Christmas presents, and am still getting compliments.  Lemon zest dried into the herb-salts works great.  Another use for citrus peels is to make your own lemon or orange extracts (easy recipes on the internet). 

My first garden-yield project this year will probably be sorrel pesto. 

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #159 on: July 03, 2017, 09:08:28 PM »
Does anyone know what fractionated coconut oil is? Could I just substitute coconut oil?

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #160 on: July 04, 2017, 06:31:52 AM »
Does anyone know what fractionated coconut oil is? Could I just substitute coconut oil?

A quick google search says fractionated coconut oil is a method of refining that makes it almost all medium chain triglycerides (MCT). Increased shelf life and some people think MCT oils are particularly good for low-carb diets, bulletproof coffee, etc.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #161 on: August 19, 2017, 11:43:10 AM »
Not sure if this idea has already been mention...when canning tomatoes, save the skin.  Put the skin in a dehydrator, then crisp use an old coffee grinder to turn to dust.  I use the tomato dust in the winter to make a light tomato bullion (sp?) or to spike tomato taste/color in things like tomato soup, tomato sauce. 

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #162 on: August 19, 2017, 12:56:52 PM »
Not sure if this idea has already been mention...when canning tomatoes, save the skin.  Put the skin in a dehydrator, then crisp use an old coffee grinder to turn to dust.  I use the tomato dust in the winter to make a light tomato bullion (sp?) or to spike tomato taste/color in things like tomato soup, tomato sauce.

Most of the sauce I make is for pizza. I don't mind the bits of skin and seed left when you immersion blend cooked tomatoes up, so even though I have a food mill that makes separating the skin easy, I've gotten even lazier :P
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frugalwitch

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #163 on: August 19, 2017, 03:26:32 PM »
Tomato season is there in my zone 5. Just canned 18 pints of salsa and probably will do a few quarts of tomato sauce next week! I bought a strainer attachment for my kitchen aid and I'll hope it will speed up the process.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #164 on: August 19, 2017, 04:37:46 PM »
How was I never following this thread before? It's brilliant!

The past week has been all about pickling. So far, lots of cucumbers and green beans have been pickled. I also canned some salsa verde. Excited to try how it turned out, since I haven't used this recipe before!

I'm hoping to buy some local tomatoes if they're not killer expensive, and can a bunch of my own tomato products. I can't hope to touch the level we use in a year right now, but I'd like to start working toward that goal!

Oh, I also see that "asparagus" is still blank on the second post. The BEST way to preserve asparagus is pickling it! =) It's really lovely. Assuming you like pickled things.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #165 on: August 20, 2017, 07:49:12 AM »
I'm hoping to buy some local tomatoes if they're not killer expensive, and can a bunch of my own tomato products. I can't hope to touch the level we use in a year right now, but I'd like to start working toward that goal!

September is usually when tomatoes get stupid cheap by me. At my farmer's markets, usually they get down to about $1.50/lb for Roma types at the peak season, $1/lb for bigger, less meaty types. You could also look around for a u-pick farm. There's one in my area that does a few different veggies including tomatoes for u-pick. Localharvest is one place to look, a few other directories are out there.

Growing your own is the only way to get really cheap tomatoes. I'll have $1-$1.50 per plant between seeds, potting mix, and electricity for the grow lights and a good paste plant will give you at least 3-4 pounds, sometimes quite a bit more. Some greenhouses will get you starts for purchase that cheap, but I like having more variety. Lately I'm really liking what I call "dual purpose" tomatoes - ones that are meaty enough to be good for sauce, but unlike most Romas, they have the taste and texture that's good for fresh eating too.

There's an independent plant breeder in OR near you called Peace Seedlings that has really good strains of Amish Paste and one they call Andean Paste. Mr. Fumarole (FedCo exclusive) and Speckled Roman (Johnny's) have both impressed me as well. A pure paste like Heinz 2653 gives you bigger yields but they're rubbish for fresh eating.

Quote
Oh, I also see that "asparagus" is still blank on the second post. The BEST way to preserve asparagus is pickling it! =) It's really lovely. Assuming you like pickled things.

I haven't modified the posts in a while. I'm not a pickle person but that is a good suggestion. I'll try to remember to update things at some point.
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Bracken_Joy

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #166 on: August 20, 2017, 10:17:30 AM »
Thanks for the tips! I've only ever grown slicer varieties, so this is new territory for me. Sadly, my garden space was constrained this year, so I only have 3 tomato plants in- an early girl, an oregon spring, and a cherry tomato called matt's wild cherry.

Thinking this year I'll need to buy paste tomatoes. In the future, I plan to rip out my front lawn and put more beds in there, but for now I'm dealing with 6 little raised beds (like 3'x5'), and one of them is given over to herbs.

I'll also know for next year a better rotation- this year I didn't have a very good master plan in place!
I hadn't heard of Peace Seedlings, I'll look them up. Thanks!
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #167 on: August 30, 2017, 02:34:32 PM »
At our house, tomatoes that are made into sauce never get peeled.  Everything goes in the pot except the stem end if it is large.  About halfway through the cooking process I use the immersion blender to chop up everything.  Waste not, want not!

Basic tomato sauce recipe:

1-2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced (Optional)
2 Sticks Celery, diced (Optional)
1-2 Bell Peppers (Optional)
1-2 Hot Peppers (Very Optional! I like it, DW does not)
3-5 Cloves Garlic, diced (Optional I guess but required for me)
A few pounds (5+?) of Tomatoes, any kind.  Rough chopped if large
Italian Seasoning
Fresh Basil
Salt
Black Pepper

Note: I do not really measure anything I just dump it in until it looks right.

  • Saute the Onions in the Olive Oil until just translucent.  Reduce heat a bit.
  • Add Carrots, Celery, Garlic and Peppers.
  • Start adding Tomatoes.  Cherries go in whole, bigger ones get stems removed and rough chopped.
  • Add seasoning to taste.  I like a big handful of fresh basil, 1-2 Tbs Italian seasoning, a couple of shakes of salt (1/2 tsp?) and some black pepper (1/2 tsp?).
  • Once the Tomatoes start releasing their juices and the whole mix starts to bubble, reduce heat to a medium simmer.
  • After about 30 minutes or so, process with immersion blender until smooth.
  • Simmer for another 30 to 90 minutes or until it is cooked down to your desired consistency.  The cooking time will vary quite a bit depending on the tomatoes used and the consistency desired.

Freeze, can or eat.  Makes about 1/2 of my big pot when done (2+ quarts or so)

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #168 on: September 04, 2017, 12:14:32 PM »
I had lots of plum tomatoes needing to be dealt with this weekend, but didn't want to can as I'm working on deep-cleaning the house.

Sliced them in half and threw them into the dehydrator until they're still soft, but about 1/4 of original size.  These are very useful in the winter for throwing into casseroles and soups, or rehydrating to make tomato sauce.

I also peeled quite a bit of garlic and buzzed it in the food processor with some olive oil and froze it in ice cube trays.  My homegrown garlic tends to go bad before I use it, so trying to circumvent that, and it makes cooking with "fresh" garlic way easier on weeknights.  I still have many, many heads to go though!

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #169 on: September 04, 2017, 12:18:22 PM »
I've been really pleased with the tomato salsa recipe from this pdf: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/sites/default/files/documents/pnw_395_salsarecipesforcanning.pdf I had slicer tomatoes from my garden. It's a little on the thin side, but it reminds me a lot of herdez salsa, which I am a huge fan of!

I'll be trying the paste tomato recipe today.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #170 on: September 04, 2017, 12:22:28 PM »
I personally prefer to dehydrate all of my tomatoes these days and then make small batches of sauce by rehydrating as I need them.

My personal sauce recipe is per quart of appropriately thickened tomatoes:

1 tsp each garlic powder, basil, salt (if using fresh garlic, 4-6 cloves minced, sauteed in some olive oil with the red pepper)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper
a short pour of red wine if you want to

But tomato sauce is a highly personal thing :)
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #171 on: September 07, 2017, 01:56:47 PM »
Somehow I previously missed this thread. I'm an urban canner with a 2 person household, so I'm not going to do the high volume most of you do, but I've been more serious about it this year. Earlier this summer, I picked blackberries, raspberries and blueberries and canned 16 pints of blackberry, raspberry and 3 berry (with blueberry, which is the best!) jam. I then canned a few pints of pickled sweet peppers, a few pints of plum halves with vanilla and a few of sliced nectarines and peaches with lemon honey. For small batch canning ideas, I often turn to a local food blog, http://foodinjars.com/. I've also done several quarts of refrigerator pickles.

The other thing I've done that I haven't seen mentioned is making shrub syrups and fruit vinegars. I've been making red wine vinegar for a few years, so I used that as my vinegar for the shrub syrups (raspberry, cherry and blackberry), and I also used a bit to kickstart some blackberry vinegar (http://hipgirls.squarespace.com/blog/2013/5/4/home-fermented-strawberry-vinegar.html was my guide). I was especially thrilled to get every possible drop out of the blackberries: I first mashed them with sugar for the shrub syrup, then when I had strained off the liquid, I used the sugary pulp a 2nd time to make fruit vinegar. I am definitely planning to make my own apple cider vinegar from applesauce leftovers later in the season!

We just got back from vacation, so this weekend I'm hoping to get back to the Upick farm for more peaches, raspberries, apples and maybe grapes.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #172 on: September 07, 2017, 06:31:32 PM »
Very cool!
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #173 on: September 07, 2017, 07:03:05 PM »
For small batch canning ideas, I often turn to a local food blog, http://foodinjars.com/. I've also done several quarts of refrigerator pickles.

Thanks for the link, it looks interesting. 

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #174 on: September 10, 2017, 05:47:31 AM »
Yesterday I spent the day canning tomato sauce with my brother at his house.  We did four bushels.  Last year we did six and got about the same amount as this year. 

One innovation to our system was using the bbq.  We load the entire grill and warming rack with the washed tomatoes.  They steamed in their skin and really reduced the amount of moisture.  The weirdest thing is that the juice on the trays of the cooked whole tomatoes was jelling like jam - I have never seen that before.  That goodness went straight into the sauce.  We also added roasted pepper, onion and garlic to the sauce.  My brother likes to use his kitchenaid mix stand for juicing but I really dislike listening to it so I manned the bbq.  We processed the jars outside near the bbq and it all worked really well.

Next year I think we should core the tomatoes before we cook them. This year was our second year working together.  And it goes so much faster. 
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #175 on: September 24, 2017, 12:16:44 PM »
Gleaned six pounds of tasty apples (not sure of variety - kind of tasted like a Fuji but not quite sweet enough) from an old apple tree on a nearby commercial lot. Canned three pints of spiced applesauce them. We don't really eat applesauce neat but I like to sub for oil when making less indulgent baked goods.

Anybody got good suggestions for prepping large amounts of apples? I'd love to do more but I'm getting paring knife blisters. I've thought about getting one of those spinny peel-and-core-and-slice doodads but they seem really wasteful. Thinking about switching to a regular peeler, and saving the skins for apple cider vinegar.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #176 on: September 25, 2017, 08:50:13 AM »
I have one of these:


Yeah, it's a uni-tasker and really only gets used ~3 months of the year, but it's SO MUCH QUICKER. I also see these at Goodwill pretty much every time I'm there.

I don't usually peel apples for sauce, I'll just cook them down with skins and then take a stick blender to the whole thing.

For waste, I don't think the cores from the peeler gadget are any larger than normal, but you could cut off any usable parts and throw them in your mix and you'd probably still save time over hand-slicing and peeling.

When I do use the peeling part of the gadget, I then take the peel strips, toss them with cinnamon sugar and bake for 5-8 minutes until toasted. Delicious, fiber-filled snack.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #177 on: September 25, 2017, 09:07:54 AM »
I also don't peel apples for sauce. I like a "rustic chunky apple" type sauce, but that wouldn't work for baked goods =)

Merula- I like the toasted peels idea.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #178 on: September 25, 2017, 11:08:29 AM »

I don't usually peel apples for sauce, I'll just cook them down with skins and then take a stick blender to the whole thing.
....
When I do use the peeling part of the gadget, I then take the peel strips, toss them with cinnamon sugar and bake for 5-8 minutes until toasted. Delicious, fiber-filled snack.

Genius! I'll leave the peels on for the next batch. DH was side-eyeing the wasted fiber haha.
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #179 on: October 26, 2017, 06:59:34 AM »
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #180 on: October 29, 2017, 01:36:20 PM »
I haven’t joined this post before.  So many great ideas!

We ended the season with 7 lbs of green tomatoes, so I tried out this recipe: http://montanahomesteader.com/green-tomato-salsa-verde/  It’s great!  I’m going to make more and can it.

We also harvested tons of hot peppers, and I’m going to make some hot sauce for Christmas gifts.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #181 on: November 14, 2017, 04:33:00 PM »
Has anyone ever pickled kohlrabi? I see cauliflower in pickled veg mixes and i’m Thinking it should work fine for kohlrabi too.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #182 on: November 15, 2017, 06:34:32 AM »
Has anyone ever pickled kohlrabi? I see cauliflower in pickled veg mixes and i’m Thinking it should work fine for kohlrabi too.

I've not done it because I don't like pickles but it can definitely be done. Pickling turnips, which are similar, is quite common in Asian countries.
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merula

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #183 on: November 15, 2017, 08:23:35 AM »
Has anyone ever pickled kohlrabi? I see cauliflower in pickled veg mixes and i’m Thinking it should work fine for kohlrabi too.

Since kohlrabi is mutated cabbage (same as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and broccoli) and people pickle cabbage all the time, I would think there's got to be something out there.

My preferred kohlrabi preparation is roasted, though.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #184 on: November 15, 2017, 08:47:34 AM »
Thanks for the thoughts. Spouse loves pickles, so picking the kohlrabi (refrigerator pickles) is a way to use it / preserve it.

I did use some in Cole slaw, along with cabbage - but it is harder to eat that much Cole slaw....

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #185 on: February 11, 2018, 07:22:36 PM »
My favorite way to preserve fruit other than drying them is to can them into pie filling.  You do it with water bath canning and you need to use a modified cornstarch for canning. 
I make apple pie filling, cherry pie filling, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry, and blueberry lime.   It makes desserts during the holiday season so much easier.

If you don't to make a pie crust the stuff is amazing on ice cream.

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #186 on: February 14, 2018, 11:35:16 PM »
Hi all,

I would like to get into canning but I'm a little bit scared of poisoning myself or alternatively blowing up the house. I would mainly make jam & pickles and preserve fruit and tomatoes, so if I stick to only those, would a waterbath be sufficient?

The reason I ask now is that I've seen a second hand electric water bath for sale for a really good price, it's a whole kit including a dozen pint size ball mason jars and lots of other equipment for AU$80. The ad says 'used once'. I like the electric option because I can put it outside and not heat the house.

Cheers

furrychickens

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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #187 on: February 15, 2018, 04:22:00 AM »
Hi all,

I would like to get into canning but I'm a little bit scared of poisoning myself or alternatively blowing up the house. I would mainly make jam & pickles and preserve fruit and tomatoes, so if I stick to only those, would a waterbath be sufficient?

The reason I ask now is that I've seen a second hand electric water bath for sale for a really good price, it's a whole kit including a dozen pint size ball mason jars and lots of other equipment for AU$80. The ad says 'used once'. I like the electric option because I can put it outside and not heat the house.

Cheers

Yes, absolutely. With a couple exceptions all fruit is high acid so safe to waterbath can. Tomatoes as well, though because some low acid varieties exist, here in the US safe canning guidelines recommend adding some acid (typically people use powdered citric acid, as it’s very flavor neutral compared to lemon juice or vinegar) to ensure pH is fully below the threshold.

In general, fruit (as long as it’s a high acid fruit) you can really be inventive with canning and be completely safe. You don’t have to stick to established recipes. Zero sugar, lower sugar, a certain amount of spices, a bit of alcohol, etc.

NWEdible.com is a good resource for learning about safe canning practices. Another good one is here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/ Note that the official US safety guidelines are probably the strictest official canning guidelines of any country. There are approved recipes in Europe and elsewhere that aren’t considered safe here, so YMMV.

If Canning for A New Generation is available there, that’s a fun book that gives you some very different recipes compared to the ones you’ll see on Ball’s website or the NCHFP linked above. NWEdible also has some very cool stuff, Erica is a very inventive canner.

@deborah does a lot of canning, maybe she can chime in for an Aussie perspective.

Don’t be scared of pressure canning if you get hooked on canning, but it’s best to learn waterbath canning first anyways :) Please ask away with any follow up questions!
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Re: Preserving the Harvest A-to-Z (WIP)
« Reply #188 on: February 20, 2018, 05:08:39 PM »
Thanks for the tips, I'm buying the waterbath! The mason jars alone that come with it cost $30 new over here so it's a great deal. Hopefully by next weekend I'll be testing it out with some jam.