All about preserving fruits and vegetables

All about preserving fruits and vegetables

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The vegetable garden is in full swing, the hedges are garnished with delicious wild berries, the stalls of early vegetables are very colorful and attractive ... At the end of summer, production is at its peak, to the point that we no longer know where to give head! We can channel our production by giving vegetables to colleagues, neighbors, the food bank. It is also possible, with a little time and the knowledge of a few techniques, to keep part of your harvest to enjoy it throughout the year. Thus, by channeling its surplus production, we have the pleasure of finding the good taste of tomatoes in winter soups, without the ecological - and gustatory! - vegetables produced out of season. Conservation also has an economic stake when the garden is full, for those who tend towards food self-sufficiency. Even city dwellers can claim these pleasures, at a time when market stalls are full of inexpensive seasonal products, by buying fruit and vegetables by crates to transform them into delicious jams or preserves. In general, know that there are more ways to accommodate fruits and vegetables than you think, that we can mix in order to vary the pleasures. This is the case with tomatoes which can be dried, cooked and then mixed and stored as a coulis for winter pizzas, frozen in quarters to accompany winter dishes or to enhance the flavor of a soup, or - when it is still green - prepared in delicious jam. Are you tempted? All you have to do is find the right technique: your tastes, the time you have, the food you have.

Preservation of fruits and vegetables by heat

Sweet or savory delights, anything goes! Sterilization Sterilization makes it possible to preserve food by bringing it to high temperature for a given time, the temperature and the cooking time being a function of the acidity of the ingredients. Thus, the more acidic the food (tomato for example) and the shorter the sterilization time. To find out, refer to the documentation for your sterilizer. Sterilization is a reassuring process because the high heat reached makes it possible to eliminate any bacterial risk. The other side of the coin: it is an energy-consuming technique which destroys part of the vitamins. Jam and other sweet treats Jam is the easiest preparation to make, much more so than canned foods that don't always work and in which the fruit sometimes loses flavor and color. The preservation is ensured by the sugar, which comes in weight equal to that of the fruits. Fruits and sugar are melted and cooked in a bowl, ideally made of copper for better grip and better evaporation of water. When the jam begins to thicken, simply transfer it, still boiling, to jars. Several techniques then appear to you: pour a thin layer of paraffin on the top of your pot or let it cool upside down after tightening the lid. You can also make jellies, using only the juices of your fruit. In this case, take advantage of the pulp to make a sweet treat appreciated by all: fruit pastes!

Preserving fruits and vegetables in the cold

Storage of vegetables in the cold is done in the freezer at temperatures between -18 ° C and -30 ° C. Should the food be blanched, i.e. quickly pass through boiling water, before freezing? It all depends on the food in question. Those of an acidic nature (tomatoes, peppers, fruits) do not require this treatment, which applies on the other hand to all the other vegetables under penalty of seeing them continue their cycle of deterioration. Once cooled and blotted, the vegetables will be placed in plastic bags. The most important risk related to cold storage consists of a freezer failure or a power outage, due to a violent storm for example, with the risk of losing everything if this outage is not detected in time ... because what has been frozen cannot be refrozen! If you are absent for several days, notify a neighbor who will monitor your installation during a thunderstorm.

Preservation of raw fruits and vegetables

Certain vegetables can be kept for months naturally. Storage in cellar or attic Root vegetables are the most sustainable. The potato will keep in crates or burlap bags, in a dry, dark and ventilated place (ideally a cellar). To keep their crunchiness for a long time, the carrots will be kept in a crate filled with sand or peat. As for alliaceae (garlic, onion and shallots), they can be kept hanging in braids or in crates. Regular monitoring will detect rotting subjects and prevent contagion by removing them.
Conservation in place Storage in place is also perfectly suited to root vegetables, which then keep their freshness for months. At the simplest, you leave the vegetables in their location and come to collect them as and when you need them. Two disadvantages are then to be feared: frost and snow which will prevent you, as long as they last, from accessing your crops, and the presence of rodents likely to also take their quota of food without authorization! To guard against these drawbacks, it is wise to place your vegetables in a silo which can simply be a hole dug in the ground and whose bottom and walls will be protected by bricks or planks. Pile your vegetables then cover them with straw or dry ferns and finish with a cover to protect them from frost. Storage in the house Certain vegetables such as pumpkins and squash will find a place of choice directly in your interior, there they will have nothing to fear from frost. If you have room to accommodate them, what could be more cheerful, once the bad season has arrived, than the spectacle of beautiful pumpkins of a deep orange on your work surface or in a pretty basket?

Preservation of fruits and vegetables without cooking, or almost

Low in energy consumption, these techniques allow the vitamins and flavors of food to be preserved. Storage in oil The oil preserves by protecting the products from air contact. For perfect food safety, select the recipes in which the food first goes through an acidification or cooking process in order to eliminate any bacterial risk. Key recipes include peppers and marinated mushrooms. Storage in vinegar This technique, little practiced, is however known to us through an emblematic recipe: that of pickles! The acetic acid contained in the vinegar is also the secret of conservation of the pickles of our Anglo-Saxon friends. Lactofermentation Little known or rather largely forgotten, this energy-saving technique preserves food with all its freshness and vitamins. It uses salt and aromatics which cause acidification of the environment, thus preventing the development of bacteria. Green beans lend themselves well to storage in this form, and even more so than them, cabbage in the sauerkraut form, the most well-known lactofermented preparation! Storage in alcohol Alcohol doesn't like germs, it's well known! This is what makes this notorious antiseptic a safe bet for storage, especially for fruit. Over time, the flavors and sugars of the fruit dissolve in alcohol creating succulent liquors at the same time as the candied fruits. Depending on the recipes, you will use neutral (brandy type) or fruity (type port, cognac or wine) alcohols. Iconic recipes include cherries in brandy and pears in spicy red wine.

Preservation of fruits and vegetables by drying

The pleasure of dried vegetables is no longer reserved only for residents of sunny regions. Electric dryers have become widespread, allowing everyone to dry their surplus crops to enjoy them all year round.
The advantage of drying is that it presents no technical difficulty, that it retains the taste of the fresh product well and that the food thus preserved takes up little space. The techniques are varied: drying in the sun in the open air, in a preheated oven then turned off, on a radiator, with an electric or solar dryer ... These can be easily self-built. Once your fruits and vegetables are dry, store them in airtight boxes. At the time of consumption, you will use them as is or rehydrated (beans, mushrooms, tomatoes ...) depending on the species and the goal. Note that drying is the ideal technique for the conservation of aromatic herbs.

How to find your way around?

Remember to properly label your products, regardless of the preservation technique chosen. The name of the product is not enough, also add the date. It is this which will allow you to know which jams or preserves to eat first. For products put in the freezer, the ideal is to make a list that you will hang on the door, always with the name and the date, which will prevent you from losing foodstuffs because you do not know what is in the bottom of your freezer . Good tasting !