Learning how to preserve your harvest is one of the most rewarding triumphs of growing your own food and/or supporting local farmers. Whether you preserve through canning, freezing, dry storage, dehydrating or placing items in the fridge, there’s a preserving method that will fit your fancy. As we start to move into the fall and winter months, and are approaching the end of farmers market season, it is important to know how to savor this year’s harvest all winter long. Here are some great tips on how to stock up at the Farmers’ Market and have delicious produce throughout the winter.
This month at the Tuesday evening Champaign Farmers’ Market, Link patrons can TRIPLE their benefits – so never fear, stock up on your favorites, store them properly and save!
A couple of the methods that are not listed above include canning and dehydration. We didn’t include them in this graphic because they do require proper equipment, but they are wonderful methods of preserving the harvest. A great article came out in the online Modern Farmer that demonstrated how to build a solar dehydrator out of items around the house and at the hardware store. More information on this design and operation of dehydrators and the type of produce that can be dehydrated can be found here.
I personally enjoy canning – even though it is a labor of love, I enjoy popping open the top of freshly canned pickles, green beans, relish, sauces, salsa and more. It takes time, standing, and lots of sterile preparation to do it right, but the results are so rewarding. Here’s a little 101 article on canning with a water bath or pressure canner, if you’re curious – I’m not going to dive into the entire process. This article notes that the water bath process is for fruits, but many vegetable recipes follow a simiar method. I’m currently refining the basic recipes to elaborate and expand on basic flavor profiles with unique ingredient combinations. I also am really enjoying making jams this season – they are easy, simple, and can either be canned by a water bath or pressure canner, but I just like putting it in jars in the fridge for immediate consumption. I wanted to share a recipe I recently discovered this summer for sweet pickle relish. YUM YUM and YUM – easy and delicious – like candy! Enjoy and have fun exploring how to preserve the harvest this fall!
If you have ideas, feel free to share your favorite methods and recipes in the comments below!
Sweet Pickle Relish – from the Ball Canning Blue Book
1 quart chopped cucumbers (about 4 medium)
2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet, green pepper (about 1 medium)
1 cup chopped sweet, red pepper (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 cups cider vinegar
- First, wash and sort your cucumbers.
- Next, wash peppers and onions.
- Chop cucumbers.
- Chop peppers and onions.
- Combine chopped cucumbers, onions, and peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours.
- The mix will bubble and start to become quite fragrant.
- After 2 hours, drain. Rinse and drain thoroughly.
- Combine sugar, spices, and vinegar in a large sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add drained vegetables and simmer 10 minutes.
- Pack relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles by sliding a wooden or plastic spoon down the side of the jar.
- Attach two-piece caps.
- Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Let sit in jars for a couple of weeks to fully ferment. Enjoy!