When the colder months of the year arrive, many of our favourite fruits and vegetables are going out of season...
But rather than buying imported produce during the winter months, why not preserve your summer favourites?
Buying local and in-season produce is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, and preserving lets us enjoy our favourites all year round.
Here are a few tips on how to preserve some favourites still in-season for the winter months ahead:
1. Mangoes: Mangoes are a great fruit to freeze because they are delicious on their own and their low acid levels make them difficult to can effectively. Just cut the mango into cubes and place them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for about 2 hours. Once the mango cubes are solid, transfer the cubes into a freezer safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
2. Cucumbers: We all know cucumbers are great fresh, but they are also one of the best foods to preserve because they make delicious pickles! Just boil about 3 cups of water with ⅛ cup sea salt and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. When it reaches a boil, remove it from heat and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, slice your cucumbers however you please and pack them into a jar, leaving room at the top. At this point you can also add your choice of seasonings to the jar including dill, mustard seed, chopped garlic, and/or black pepper depending on the flavour you want. Then, pour the water, vinegar, and salt mixture into the jar and seal with a lid. Keep the jar in the fridge for about 5 days and enjoy!
3. Dried papaya makes for a delicious snack all year long. Start by peeling the papaya using a knife or vegetable peeler, then cut the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds. Next, slice the papaya into thin pieces and spread them on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the oven at 37 degrees celsius for up to 12 hours and check them periodically. When the papaya appears fully dried, remove from the oven and let them cool. Store the dried papaya in a cool, dry place and enjoy!
4. Basil: Fresh basil adds delicious flavour to salads and sandwiches and is the perfect complement to a tomato. Pesto is a simple way to preserve basil and can be used in many different meals throughout winter. Just combine 2 cups basil leaves, ½ cup parmesan cheese, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, and ⅓ cup pine nuts into a food processor. Grind the ingredients until the consistency is satisfactory, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Canned fruit and jams are another effective and delicious way to preserve fruit and there are lots of great recipes out there. Do you have a favourite method of preserving summer produce? Let us know in the comments below!