Canning vs. Freezing
Garden veggies are rolling in, and I have had quite a few people asking whether I prefer to can or freeze my produce. So I thought I would share my usual summer routine on here.I like to use a combination of canning, freezing, dehydrating, and lacto-fermentation to preserve my garden goods.
Technically canning takes away some of the nutritional content in most veggies, so I don’t do tons of it (plus it’s a good bit of work). However, a benefit is that it’s shelf stable, and doesn’t take up any room in my fridge or freezer. These Tattler Canning Lids are my favorite jar lids because they contain no BPA, and are reusable.
Here is the list of things that I can:
- Pickles (somewhat theoretical, because I just did my first batch of cucumber pickles today)
- Jellies and Jams
These all require only a water bath canning, and not a pressure canning, which is good because a water bath is not as intense, and retains a bit more of the nutritional value. I am experimenting with a couple different pickle recipes this summer, and I will post about those soon.
I love freezing because the vegetables taste so fresh when you thaw and cook them, plus it is incredibly easy. I try to avoid plastic in my kitchen, but I do use Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags, and Quart Ziploc Freezer Bags for freezing. I have posted an easy guide to freezing as well.
Here are our favorites to freeze:
- Green Beans
- Lima Beans
- Squash & Zucchini
- Spinach, Kale, and Chard
Dehydrating is awesome, because it shrinks the food, and makes it shelf stable, and therefore more easy and efficient to store. We don’t usually get anywhere close to testing how long it will keep, because it is scarfed up rather quickly in this house. This is the dehydrator Matthew got me for my birthday a few years ago, and I love it!
- Apple slices
- Fruit Leather
- Pear slices
- Black, Pinto, and White Beans- I don’t actually use the dehydrator for these since they dry on the vine.
Lacto-fermentation is a form of pickling where salt and whey are used in place of vinegar, and is what was used to preserve food before canning. The downside is that you have to store in a cool dark place, like a root cellar. Lacking that, you have to store in a fridge, and it can quickly take over a lot of your fridge room. Because of the storage issue, I have only done limited preserving this way, but I fully intend to expand it as soon as I posses a root cellar! My favorite jars for fermenting are these Weck Jars (which I also sometimes use for regular canning as well).
These are the things I pickle using lacto-fermentation:
- Cabbage- sauerkraut & kimchi
- Cucumber Pickles- same idea as canned pickles, but without the actual canning
- Cucumber Relish-will be trying this summer
Of course, there are many more food/produce items that can be preserved, but these are the things we use the most, and that I have access to via my garden or farmers market.
This post is shared at the Homestead Barn Hop
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