Got a glut of food? Is your vegetable plot bursting with produce, your local shop selling off foods close to their sell by date or the Farmers' Market got a surfeit of seasonal foods? Then it's time to think about preserves and preserve recipes. Buying foods while they are cheap and diging out your favourite recipes for preserves is a great way to save money and with the investment of time you will have a store cupboard (or freezer) to be proud of. It's a great thrill in the winter months to open a jar, or freezer and bring back the scents and smells of summer to the kitchen. Preserves also make great gifts,made and given with love, what could be better?
Preserving food is, for many, no longer necessary for survival, but it is a great way stretch the budget. Preserving extends the shelf life of foods picked up cheaply and if done quickly, and correctly will often preserve the "goodness" in the produce.
Below are some of the most common methods of preserving foods today.
There are few foods that can't be frozen, but there are some, so always check before you do. Diana Rattray, About.com's guide to Southern Food has great tips on freezing food including what can and can't be frozen and a time guide on freezing food.
A great way of using up slightly overripe fruits and vegetables is by a long, slow cooking with sugar and vinegar to produce a chutney, relish or a ketchup. What would a piece of cheese or slice of cold beef be without them?
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Salting, though out of favor with many through the fear of too much salt in the diet even though most of the salt is washed away once the food is cured, is still a great way to preserve food. Ever tried making Graved Lax without it.
Drying is so easy to do and one of my favorite's to dry are herbs. it is rare there isn't some herb or other drying in my kitchen Drying herbs is one of the best ways to preserve herbs for use year-round.