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Time Saving Hints for Home Preservers

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ALWAYS MAKE SURE ALL EQUIPMENT IS ON HAND BEFORE STARTING. There is nothing worse than coming up short on lids or sugar, spices or some other needed ingredient once you get started in canning.

STORE HAVESTED VEGETABLES in plastic bags and chill quickly if you are not going to get to them right away.

TRAY FREEZE VEGETABLES - If you are faced with huge quantities of vegetables and not enough time, try tray freezing them. Wash the vege, dice and/or chop. Spread the veges out on cookie sheets and place in the coolest part of your freezer and allow to freeze. Once frozen, veges can be tossed into freezer bags and/or vacuum packed.

TRAY FREEZE BERRIES - Whenever strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries come into season, I wash them in cold water, drain well in a collander and tray-feeze them on cookie sheets without sugar. When frozen solid, they go into freezer bags. Berries can be used later for jams, jellies, pies, puddings, smoothies, etc.

APPLESAUCE - The fastest and easiest method of making applesauce is with a hand-cranked strainer. Apples need not be peeled or cored, just cooked until soft and pureed in the strainer.

PUREES - Overripe, unblemished fruits can be frozen whole or sliced to make quick purees when defrosted. Fruit puree is perfect for smoothies, pancake and waffle toppings dressings for fruit salads, and other

PUMPKINS AND SQUASH - will store well until late fall or early winter when you have more time for processing.

HEAT SYRUPS FOR FRUITS - Try using a coffee maker pot to pour the syrup into the jars, instead of utilizing a laddle to save time and mess!

FREEZING STRAWBERRIES - To keep strawberries from absorbing large amounts of water, hull the berry AFTER wasing.

DEFROSTING BERRIES - Please frozen berries into a bowl, cover with sugar, and then cover the bowl, to minimize exposure to air and promote better color, texture, and flavor retention.

If you decide to try out dehydrating and making your own healthy fruit leathers with no additives, you will be surprsied just how quickly these nourishing snacks will disappear. May I suggest you be sure to have plenty of fruit leather inserts or Teflex sheets on hand so you can make lots?

MARILYN'S FAMOUS FRUIT LEATHER RECIPE

This fruit leather is VERY easy to make and kids love it. A simple, nutritious snack!

1 large apple, washed, quartered, and seeds removed (Skin removal is optional.)
1 16 oz can of favorite canned fruit such as apricots OR 2 Cups Fresh Fruit of choice
1 - 8 oz container of vanilla or favorite fruit flavored yogurt.

Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until the mixture is pureed. This will make 3-4 cups of puree. LIghtly oil fruit leather tray or Teflex sheet. Pour mixture onto tray and dehydrate at 110 - 130 F or until the mixture becomes leathery with no wet pockets. (A warmed oven can also be used, with the door ajar.) Usually this will take overnight if dehydrating starts after dinner. Dehydrating time will vary based on how much puree is poured on the fruit leather tray, and local humidity conditions. When the leather is dry, remove it from the tray, wrap in cellophane, and ENJOY! This yummy treat won't last, so make several trays.

This is a great treat for camping, hiking, car trips, and just plain snacking!

For more information about preserving, I recommend the following resources:

The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food - Easy Step by Step Instructions for Freezing, Drying, and Canning by Janet Chadwick. $14.95

The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest - 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying, and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables, by Carol W. Costenbader. $18.95

How to Dry Foods - A Complete book on Dehydrating by Deanna Delong $15.95

Stocking Up - The Third Edition of the Classic Preserving Guide by Carol Hupping and the Staff of the Rodale Food Center.$20.00

Keeping the Harvest - Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables, and herbs by nancy Chiofi & Gretchen Mead. $14.95

For more information, contact me at marilyn@urbanhomemaker.com or call 1-800-552-7323.

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