Preserving the Garden 2021
With the "shortage" of made in America canning lids in 2021, I ended up freezing more fruits and veggies this year than in prior years. I did find lids towards the end of the season and was able to do some canning, and I now will have more than enough lids for 2022. I only personally preserve fruit and veggies. I purchase meat from local farmers which comes frozen and that is how it stays until eaten. If we were to shoot a deer or catch some white fish, I might can/pickle these, but we don't shoot a deer every year.
I am a water bath canner. I do not own a pressure cooker and have never used one. Maybe someday in the future I will go down that road, but I am very comfortable with water bath canning. I see lots of comments online questioning the safety of water bath canning and I can say that over the past 15 years of canning, I have never experienced any issues with spoiled food from improper preserving, nor have I heard of anyone experiencing that.
This year, I purchased an outdoor double burner propane stove. This was great for having more space for the large canning pots. It was nice to use this in the warmer months outside versus creating more heat in the house. This stove isn't the most ideal for a windy day, but overall, I thought it was a great addition to my preserving tools and will probably get a second one in the future.
With the abundance of tomatoes this year, freezing was my go-to preserving technique. It was a lot quicker to get out the little vacuum sealing machine, wash, blanch and core tomatoes and get them in the freezer. This was my first year with a vacuum sealer and I loved it. I have always used gallon freezer bags in the past, but really like using the vacuum sealer instead. I always blanch the fruit or veggies first, then seal them up to freeze.
Corn, cabbage, whole tomatoes, peaches, blueberries
I have had my dehydrator for several years and do use it quite a bit. With non-stop producing chocolate mint and oregano plants this year, it was used a lot this summer. I preserve all herbs by dehydrating and only dehydrating. Again, with the crazy number of tomatoes, I did slice and dehydrate some, then ground into a powder. I mix the powder with a little water and call that tomato paste. I do also air dry some herbs and peppers as well.
Basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, chocolate mint, onions, tomatoes, rutabagas, peppers
Every year, I experiment with pickling something that I haven't pickled before. This year was garlic-jalapeno vinegar mixed with ginger. Deglazing with this vinegar cocktail adds great heat and flavor to Asian dishes. I always make a jar of pickled banana peppers to eat throughout the winter as well.
Whenever I make apple sauce, I store in single serving plastic storage containers and just keep in the fridge, this last all winter and are a great ready-to-eat snack. When I'm making jelly, sometimes I will skip canning a jar and just stick it in the fridge for us to consume now.
Apple sauce, apple jelly