Summer might have only just technically started, but for those of us who like to enjoy the juicy, bold and sweet flavours of summer throughout the year, it’s time to get started on our winter stocks! If one thing has been proven so far in 2020, it’s that our favourite foods and drinks can sometimes fall out of stock in the supermarkets, so it’s best to be prepared and have some backups available. So where to start?
Canning is a process that has been done for centuries and is one of the most effective ways to preserve food. Typically, it involves preparing and processing food and storing it in airtight containers under a specific set of circumstances and it can give produce a shelf life of anything from 1 – 5 years. Freeze-dried goods can even last up to 30 years if canned properly! Canning can take up a lot of space and so its best to use a glass jar with a lid that is appropriate for your quantities, using larger jars for large batches rather than lots of small ones.
Preserving food is a broad term, but typically this type of processing requires added ingredients to ensure food remains in an edible state. Whether it’s adding a stabiliser like sugar to fruit to make a jam, or adding vinegar to veggies to make pickles, there really is no end to the fruit and veg that can be stored this way. Providing you use airtight glass jars with lids, jams, chutneys and pickles can be dry-stored so you don’t have to worry about them taking up room in the fridge or freezer.
One of the most obvious ways to preserve food, freezing goods can extend the shelf life of produce by around 1-3 months. Most produce can be frozen as is, but fresh vegetables often need to be blanched first so that they keep their textures.