It is a busy time for us as the summer heat settles over the Okanagan Valley and farm stand signs pop up every day, advertising their farmers’ fresh bounties. We are blessed to live in a part of the world where fresh, local produce is cheap and readily available in the summer months. This year we are especially motivated to preserve anything we can while it is plentiful and affordable (free, if you have the right friends and don’t mind spend a few hours picking!). As we all know, the media is threatening food and energy shortages, and preserving food now is one easy way to protect ourselves from rising costs throughout the winter. Here is what we are making this week:
Pickling: Now is the time to pull out the water bath canner, dust it off and get it ready for cucumbers, beets and whatever else you can imagine. Here are some of our favourite recipes: https://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/08/how-to-can-pickled-beets.html https://rusticwise.com/how-to-make-your-own-pickles-quick-and-easy/ . If you are feeling adventurous, you can also go old school with crock pot pickles: https://theelliotthomestead.com/2017/07/fermented-pickles/. Don’t be afraid of the cloudiness!!
Also on the radar for the next while is freezing kale, pickling and freezing beans, cauliflower, etc., making relish and piccalilli, and scouring the internet for new and creative ways to feed our family this winter.
Please drop your best food preserving ideas and recipes in the comments below!
Cherries: Cherries are just coming on in the Interior. We’re planning to freeze them now in order to make jams/jellies/etc. in the winter when we have more time. We are also experimenting with infusing cherries in vinegars (https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-review-sally-schneiders-119381), as well as making a little winter hooch to pull out at Christmas time (https://www.cookingwithnonna.com/italian-cuisine/cherries-in-rum.html). Word to the wise: if you follow the cherry vinegar recipe, use a deep pot for crushing the fruit unless you want your kitchen to look like a homicide scene.
Berries: We have been busy freezing strawberries and blueberries for the winter months. During summer it is too busy (and hot) to think about boiling jams on the stove, but in the fall we will turn our attention to canning these fruits, or keeping them frozen for smoothies and snacks.