Between our garden, the farmer’s market, and Green Bluff- our local farming community, we are swimming in produce abundance!
For modern day homesteaders across the country, August is harvest season. This last weekend we put: 9lbs. of blueberries; 6lbs. of Bing cherries; 3 bunches of radishes; 9lbs. of carrots; and countless cucumbers up on our larder shelves. Additionally, we dried bunches of tomatoes for future pasta dishes and dinner entrees.
The following are two very easy food preservation techniques that should be in every homesteader’s toolbox.
We use brine and lacto-fermatation to pickle our vegetables…
* 1 Quart jar
* 2 Tbsp. of salt (we use Himalayan pink salt)
* 3 Cloves of garlic
* Pearl onion
* Additional fresh herbs (dill for cucumbers)
* Fresh filtered water
In the bottom of a dry jar, add 3 cloves of garlic, pearl onion, chosen herbs, and salt.
Next pack the vegetables in as tightly as possible, top off with fresh water, and close the jar.
Pressure might build up in the jar as a byproduct of the lacto-fermentation process. After a week on the shelf, simply loosing the ring on the jar to ‘burp’ it and then tighten the ring back on. Burping the jar will no longer be necessary after 2-3 weeks and the pickles will be shelf stable. The pickles must refrigerated after opening.
How long these pickles can be stored is a debated issue, our personal rule of thumb is about a year. Your taste buds are a reliable guide in lacto-fermentation. This is the same process that is used for dishes like Kimchi and Sauerkraut.
Oven Dried Fruit
* Parchment paper
Take parchment paper and line metal pans. In a single layer, lay out your fresh washed fruit to be dried. Place in oven set at 170-210 degrees. Convection mode is best. If you have to use bake mode, set at 170 degrees and put fruit on top shelf. We used 210 on convection mode.
Dry your fruit for 3 to 8 hours depending on type of fruit. Check your fruit every 2 hours to determine how much longer to keep it in. We used the same process for the cherries, but due to sugar content after they had been oven-dried we had to air dry on parchment for a few days before transferring to a mason jar for storage. The blueberries were able to be stored after a short cooling period of an hour.
August is the time to preserve harvests! In the coming weeks we will be steam juicing plums and grapes, as well as our annual honey harvest.