Sunday, November 22, 2015

To Freeze, Can or Dry!

Freeze, can or dry? What is the best way to preserve food? Well, from experimenting I can tell you my best answer... it depends what it is and what you want to do with it.

Canning is best when you want to change the food into something else. Tomato sauces, pastes, salsa, soups etc. Berry compote, applesauce, berry sauces. Pickling things like pickles, beets, peppers. Vegetables/fruits that you probably will only eat one way- green beans, sliced carrots, diced peaches.  (Note, depending on its ph, some foods can not safely be canned in a water bath canner and need to be preserved under pressure.)

I really only dry herbs for use later in foods. I don't have a food dehydrator. Shocking, I know. No, I do not want one! I usually dry herbs in the oven on the lowest temperature for an hour or two depending on what it is. Then I chop them fine and put into air tight containers.

I freeze jam. I used to can jam but I switched to freezing. It's faster and less messy. I also freeze fruit and vegetables that I want to have options on how to use. Broccoli- may eat with lemon juice or may make into soup. Cabbage- will I make kraut or save for St. Patrick's Day? Strawberries/blueberries- eat in yogurt, bake with, turn into crepe filling. These I flash freeze so I have options. If I were to can all of them, they wouldn't retain their shape and would make a syrup. (Flash freezing is when you freeze quickly and separately so that you can then freeze but have options on what quantities you want to use. Not just a lump of what every froze together.)
Strawberries flash frozen on jelly roll pans.

frozen berries put into freezer bags.

blanched snap pea

When I open these, since the berries were flash frozen first, the berries will not all be sticking together and I'll be able to use what quantity I need/want to use.
Other foods need to be blanched prior to freezing- snap peas, broccoli and cabbage are two examples in my freezer. This maintains freshness in the freezer. I like to vacuum seal items that are freezing fresh or without any sort of liquid. Other items that will freeze in their liquid- corn, snap peas- are fine in portion size freezer bags. These items are limited as what ever size quantity you put into the bag you have to use when you thaw. So I have to ballpark- how much corn or how many snap peas would we eat for a meal?

So, freeze, can or dry? It depends on what it is. For the most part, I freeze when I want options on how to use the food. I can when I want to save it in the state we will use it.

But what ever you do, don't forget to figure out some way to remember what you have so you use it. I keep a list of what is in the freezer. To see that visit this old post here. For cans- did you see the pretty shelves. You can just see what you have or are out of!

1 comment:

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