Dirt2Table: Preserving Your Fall Harvest for Food All Winter

dirt2tableThis time of year we find ourselves dealing with more fruits and vegetables than we can eat fresh. So, we have to find ways to preserve our produce for use during the winter months.

There are many ways to preserve our fruits and vegetables, including drying, canning and freezing. There isn’t any one best way, although some produce gives better results with a particular method. We found for instance that our green beans were better frozen than canned. We haven’t tried drying them yet, but plan to do that this year.

Some examples from the Dirt2Table project this year include making jam, fruit leather, dried fruit, salsa, spaghetti sauce  and frozen green beans. Our plans for the rest of the fall include more fruit drying, (apples haven’t been harvested yet), more tomato based canning and further experiments with drying food from the garden.

We recently obtained a second food dehydrator, an Excalibur 3900 nine tray unit. We strongly recommend that you get one of these or something substantially similar if you intend to do any food drying. You can make fruit leather, dried fruit of many kinds, even jerky with a food dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can still dry foods like peaches, apples etc. by putting them on a tray and putting them in the oven set at 150 degrees (actually 130 is better, but most ovens don’t have that low of a setting) and if possible direct the flow of air from a small fan across the items being dried.
Have fun with whatever way you choose to preserve your produce this year!