Storing and preserving
Posted 1 Feb 2014
I’m sure that it is not normal to feel like an ant but it certainly appears that that is how I am behaving!
With the early summer rain my root vegetable crops have produced large volumes so I am now in the process of storing as much as I can for those rainy days of winter. Storing vegetables hinges largely on finding the perfect storage environment. I am lucky to have a low light shed lean-to which maintains a constant temp, has low humidity, moderate air flow and is rodent free. Old freezers/fridges with a few holes drilled into the door seal can provide a similar environment. A couple of other important storage rules are; never wash the produce that you are storing, only store top quality produce, check your stored produce regularly to remove anything suspicious and always set precautionary rodent traps! Even when these rules are abided by you can still expect one third of your produce not to make it but I am seriously looking forward to have fresh beetroot well into autumn!
Preserving comes in many forms, (jams, pickles, chutney (see Cape gooseberry recipe), sauces etc.) but the technique that I have been experimenting with lately is pickling. Pickles can be either sweet or savoury and typically involve an initial soaking in brine (maybe 2 cups of salt to 7 cups of water) for a day to remove some natural juices, draining, rinsing and then cooking in spiced or sweetened vinegar before bottling. I may have gone over the top with pickled broad beans, eggs and strawberries but only time will tell…..