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Preserving what we produce

(51 Posts)
craftyone Thu 02-Jul-20 09:55:08

I grow my fruit and veg in order to feed me all year around so preservation is always high on my essential to-do list

craftyone Thu 02-Jul-20 10:04:19

I moved 14 months ago, to a new build so my fruit trees and bushes are all babies. Preservation will be much more intense from next year

Actual preservaion so far:

flat parsley frozen

charlotte potatoes blanched 3-5 minutes and frozen,
charlotte potatoes also stored in an earthernware crock for a few weeks

shallots drying shortly to be preserved in an eartherware crock. I will freeze if I don`t get through them

leeks frozen

blackcurrants frozen

blueberries frozen

gooseberries frozen
gooseberries bottled

rhubarb bottled

I will add as and when I do more preserving, needless to say I do eat much of my veg very small, just picked and in season
I have a sauerkraut crock
I gave away my large excalibur dehydrator because I really did not like dried veg
I have a beautiful beech apple store with many slatted drawers, ready and waiting
I make jam but not from my fruit this year

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:18:04

craftyone DD has a dryer which she uses a lot and when we were staying with them last year we dried different herbs I then crumbled them between sheets of kitchen roll and put them into little jars. I've only just finished using the dried parsley I brought home.
My parsley this year is hopeless, I should have bought fresh seed.

Much of our fruit is in the freezer ready for when I feel like doing something with it.
I wish I'd kept my Rumtopf which went to the charity shop but a friend said she's using a Kilner jar. Less is more with fruit preserved like that!

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:20:11

Our leeks haven't been planted out yet as they'll probably go where the summer veg is now.

25Avalon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:26:29

In the middle of making red currant jelly, then I will do white currant jelly if the birds don’t nick them first.

Loads of fruit in the freezer and I will be making more pear, plum, and marrow chutneys when ready.

I chop up my mint and freeze it. Then in the winter just put a couple of spoonfuls in a container, add a pinch of sugar and a little boiling water to dissolve the sugar. Top up with cider vinegar or any vinegar of choice.

If you have loads of gooseberries try making gooseberry gin - it is delicious.

Callistemon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:28:50

I was going to check to see if any veg are ready for picking but it's just throwing it down out there!
That should help them grow.

25Avalon Thu 02-Jul-20 10:30:13

Also during lockdown I have become a dab hand at making soup, boiling up chicken carcass and vegetables from the garden And then freezing.

Further tip: if you have lots of produce get a second freezer smile

craftyone Sat 04-Jul-20 06:34:47

I am thinking that I will freeze some green beans again this year. I am picking them young and eating them daily but I may as well freeze later, will always be useful in winter. I did make a bean and mustard picallili at one time, was quite nice as far as I can remember. I can`t say that frozen beans are anything like fresh but they are good enough to put into dishes. I have made brined beans in the past, the flavour leaves a lot to be desired

I have some onions and shop bought tomatoes that I need to use up, I will wait a few days for a couple of courgettes to get big enough and will make some sort of ratatouille, to freeze. I should stop eating the crispy tiny courgettes in salad for a couple of days

Blueberry picking is fantastic, I go out 3 times a day and get the berries when they have swollen but are not blue all over. They will carry on ripening and expanding if they already have some colour and about 30 hours in a full covered cereal bowl does it. They steadily get to the right colour indoors and then I freeze. I have frozen about 2kg so far, a full bowl every day. Real value for money, 6 very healthy bushes in large tubs, like half barrels but nice looking plastic. I keep up with acidity and maybe once a year dust the soil with sulphur, feed with comfrey water and always water with rain water, then I scrape some soil out every year or so, replenish and top with composted bark. They need water, even if it has been raining, I use a moisture meter. Beautiful plants. Organic blueberries are expensive to buy

I have been checking my equipment for tomato bottling later in the year, needed some citric acid, had to order it online

The frozen potatoes look marvellous, all a nice creamy colour, definitely enough for me for the whole winter. It has made me re-think potato growing again next year, I was not going to bother. Charlottes are my favourite, I can get at them easily just before the summer blight, which will strike quite soon now. I have taken all the potatoes out and followed with phacelia, had to cover the seed, they germinate in the dark

I have masses of bee friendly flowers in the garden, it is constantly buzzing, lots of borage, comfrey, tagetes, catmint etc the fruit and veg crop is testamony to the bees.

craftyone Sat 04-Jul-20 06:41:07

25avalon, I like that mint suggestion, think I will do the same, while the mint is nice and fresh out there. I`ll pick some this morning. I used to dry herbs, I don`t bother any more, I prefer frozen, which is closer to fresh favour

I also got rid of my rumtopf, it was a pretty crock, far too big though.

Calendargirl Sat 04-Jul-20 07:30:18

I make lots of tomato sauce for pasta.

Tomatoes, tomato purée, basil, black pepper, onions, garlic, olive oil.
Overnight in the slow cooker.

Make enough to last all winter.

Callistemon Sat 04-Jul-20 10:38:37

That's a good idea, to make the tomato sauce in the slow cooker!

Callistemon Sat 04-Jul-20 10:39:33

The leeks are in (apparently they went in yesterday!).

Sillymoo Sat 04-Jul-20 12:17:20

Do you freeze the tomato sauce or bottle it? The recipe I have is too vinegary.

Callistemon Sat 04-Jul-20 18:12:19

If it's cooked for long enough the vinegar taste and smell should go. Is that a recipe for ketchup?

I've never added any vinegar to mine. Just sauté the onions and garlic gently in olive oil, add the tomatoes etc and cook slowly.

Susan56 Sat 04-Jul-20 18:58:32

We have not long finished our bottled beetroot from last years crop.Looking forward to this years.

Hadn’t thought to bottle the tomatoes,usually freeze them but will look into bottling.

Onions will be strung and hung in the pantry.

Most other crops are shared with family so won’t be much left to preserve.

craftyone Sun 05-Jul-20 19:31:01

susan56, how did you bottle beetroot? I don`t bottle any veg because the acidity is too low to keep them free from botulism. They do `can` veg in the states but have special canning pans that raise the pressure.

I blanched and froze more potatoes today, son reminded me that freezing changes the starch to resistant starch ie they produce fewer calories. I will be quite happy to put them in the oven or remoska, doubt I will boil them

I am still picking blueberries 3 times a day, lots of green beans but so far am coping with the quantity and am juicing carrots and beetroot with bought celery, the juices freeze very nicely. The shallots are all dry now and ready to store for months

The earth is very bountiful

Calendargirl Sun 05-Jul-20 20:55:16


I freeze my pasta sauce in Flora tubs. It shouldn’t be vinegary because my recipe has no vinegar in it. It’s like a thickish version of tinned tomatoes, but much tastier with the basil, onions, garlic etc. Nothing like a ketchup or sauce.

25Avalon Sun 05-Jul-20 21:23:20

I cook the beetroot whole, skin and put in a sterilised jar, slicing the beetroot if large. Then I put heated vinegar on top before sealing the jar with a lid. This will keep for about 3 months before it loses its colour.

Callistemon Sun 05-Jul-20 22:16:17

We haven't had a bean yet!

craftyone Wed 08-Jul-20 17:02:23

Thanks 25avalon, pickled beetroot, nice I may copy

I have been thinking ahead to green beans. I am eating them every day now and also popping them into `ratatouille` I don`t like frozen blanched beans and have been reading about just freezing without blanching and that seems to win hands down. Wow, that will be excellent for me, I am growing too many for one. So I can pick them young, chop and freeze, easy. I think I will vac pack as I have a vac sealer and it looks as though I will have enough beans for 12 months, lots of flowers and lots of bees

Pretty good going so far, enough frozen (lower calories) potatoes, over 3kg of blueberries and many more to pick, a basket full of shallots, planned green frozen beans, strawberries flowering like crazy and lots of tomatoes getting larger. I also planned growing ahead for winter picking ie red drumhead, will Delia casserole and freeze, purple sprouting, red russian kale. Amazing, just about self sufficient from my tiny garden. I put it down to comfrey compost and bees which are flocking to borage

Callistemon, I am sw, maybe you are further north

Callistemon Wed 08-Jul-20 17:07:30

I'm in S Wales, craftyone. I think we get the weather you didn't want grin
My strawberries are finished now.
Something is making large holes in the little purple sprouting broccoli but it's not cabbage whites nor slugs. I think the pigeons are pecking them so I'll have to find more wire mesh to cover them.

25Avalon Wed 08-Jul-20 17:37:26

Just found a young rabbit had dug its way into the poly tunnel and eaten the heart out of a beautiful cabbage and nibbled off 2 pepper plants. Dh not happy. Now I know how Mr. Mc.greggor felt! My dad would have had that rabbit in the cook pot but I’m too squeamish and let it escape.

Craftyone I absolutely hate beetroot! DH has it pickled on Boxing Day. Whatever you do don’t use left over mint sauce vinegar for it - my waste not granny did this. I warned DH not to eat it but would he listen? It tasted vile apparently and as a well brought up young man he was too polite not to eat it! grin

craftyone Wed 08-Jul-20 17:47:51

I used to live in s wales callistemon, was there for over 35 years, village outside cowbridge. I loved cardiff, loved being able to get there on the train at pontyclun. I looked for houses there but needed to be between the two DDs, anyway cowbridge was far too expensive

I went out and picked yet more blueberries, it has to be ongoing, I pick them with some colour, even red and bits of green and in 24-30 hours the whole bowlful turns dark and the berries expand. It is drizzling but I went to look at the beans up an obelisk, bumble bees were very busy, bless their cotton socks, they work very hard. I got two handfuls and have started to accumulate for freezing. They are in the freezer in zip lock bags and I will vac pack when there is enough. I reckon I will be able to gather enough in one session by the end of next week, there are countless little beans.

I haven`t let any of the courgettes get more than a finger long, I eat them raw and I see baby cucs. A year ago, this patch was infertile, wormless compressed builders rubbish. All that steady hard work has been very worth it and now I produce enough for compost, there will be no looking back, except for gathering stones and rocks when I have nothing else to do

25Avalon Wed 08-Jul-20 17:57:38

Talking of cucumbers DH has grown hoards again! I will be making soup with one which is dead easy. Just chop it up in the food processor with 4 garlic gloves, 75g walnuts, 3 slices white bread, 300g natural yoghourt, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Serve cold. Lovely if we get another hot day. Very wet near Bath at the moment.

Cardiff has a fantastic shopping centre and the restaurants down on the Bay are pretty good too. My DH went to uni there.

Fennel Wed 08-Jul-20 18:26:09

craftyone - I'm amazed at your energy! What with sewing and gardening.
Our gardening days are past, only a small back garden now.
When we had a big garden and orchard the preserving period was long hard work.
We had a cool dark barn and 3 freezers.
Fruit mostly jams and compotes, frozen.But we had one prolific apple tree, similar to braeburn, and we stored the blemish free ones individually placed on newspaper in an old chest of drawers. Many lost to wasps.
Lots of different kinds of onions strung up in the barn.
Potatoes stored in sand and paper sacks in the barn.
Agree about courgettes, don't store well. Or pumpkins. our hens liked them though.
The best beans for storage were Tarbes beans, which dry out on the vine. I've still got a few in a kilner jar. A bit like dried butter beans but softer skin.
I don't think they would thrive here though - they need a lot of sun in the last few weeks..of sun.