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Preserving vegetables

 
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Hi all,

I'm getting ready to start a new food garden and would like to preserve some of my vegetables in jars to eat outside of the summer. I'm sure there are lots of books on how to do this (please recommend if you know any good ones!), but I was wondering if any of you do this and how easy/successful it is? I have bought veg in jars from shops in the past and the liquid in the jar is neither very salty, nor is it vinegar, so I'm not sure how the veg is preserved? Is the jar boiled to kill bacteria and then sealed with a lid? This is kind of what I do when I make jam, although the high sugar content is obviously a main part of the preserving process. As veg doesn't have the high sugar content I'm less clear about what preserves the veg in the jar.

Sorry, I'm such a novice in this area. Any advice gratefully received!
 
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Get the "ball blue book"
There are 2 main types of canning - water bath and pressure.  Water bath is easy, but some foods cannot be safely stored this way.  Pressure canning can can pretty much anything, but requires more supplies (a pressure canner, etc) and takes far more time and energy.  
 
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Hi Gavin! So glad to hear you intend to do some preserving. Fruits have high enough acidity to be preserved in a hot water bath. Vegetables, meat and fish need to be pressure canned. The only really good information on this comes from the US. I have contacted the equivalent bodies in tbe UK and was told  not to can at all. So, I ignored that and went ahead. You will need a pressure canner - I looked everywhere but could only get one fro. America. Don't get a second hand one just in case. Safety first. You don't know how well it will have been looked after. You will end up paying a huge amount of shipping but it will last you a lifetime so it is worth it. If you want a recommendation for a type, p.m. me. Then you need jars. The US use a two part canning lid which fits on a SCREW TOP jar. I could not find any except dedicated brand shops in Europe that were hugely expensive. You can get the lids but not the jars. So I opt for a twist off jar with a button lid - the type that we get jam or pickles in that pop when you open them. I find them great for canning. You will want to buy a ton of these if you get seriously into canning, again, p.m. me for the brand I use if you need help. Tbey come from Germany and are very reasonable. I reuse the jars over and over, use the lids twice and replace or use them on storage jars.
Other than that, immerse yourself in YouTube videos, there are so many, and I agree with the above advice - go for the Ball canning book.
Of course you can also dehydrate, pickle, ferment etc. I love having jars of food that I can throw in a pot and turn out a tasty home cooked meal in minutes. Good luck!
 
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More information on the gold standard Ball Blue Book here:  https://www.healthycanning.com/ball-blue-book

US Department of Agriculture information is another gold standard, found here:  https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

Note, they talk about using mason-style jars, which are very common in the US but not as much in the UK.  Ball, a common manufacturer, has information here:  https://www.freshpreserving.com/canning-101-getting-started.html

For Weck-type jars, their information is here:  https://weckjars.com/canningnotes/
 
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I was going to say exactly what Mandy said before me. Jam is much easier to can in jars due to its acidity. Vegetables that don't have much salt or acid need pressure canning. Many vegetables are as good or better if you preserve them by dehydrating or pickling, but it depends on your preferences.
 
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Hi, Gavin

I added your post to "Food Preservation"  since your question sounds like you want to can the veggies rather than ferment them.

Here are a couple of threads that might be of interest:


https://permies.com/t/106816/kitchen/Compare-Food-Preservation-Methods

https://permies.com/t/21272/kitchen/Canning-Apocalypse


The USDA Guide to Home Canning is considered the Bible of home canning.  

https://permies.com/wiki/100765/USDA-Complete-Guide-Home-Canning

The best thing about this book is that it can be downloaded for free
 
Anne Miller
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In case you might want to learn about fermentation here are some helpful threads:

https://permies.com/t/23537/kitchen/Fermenting-learn

https://permies.com/t/80/37682/kitchen/discussion-lacto-fermentation-methods-recipes

https://permies.com/t/97704/kitchen/Dave-Burton-Fermentation-Journey


And a book:

https://permies.com/wiki/23246/Wild-Fermentation-Sandor-Ellix-Katz
 
Gavin Prentice
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Thanks, everyone - plenty of info' for me to stuck into! I'll have a look at some of the online stuff and then consider getting the Ball book.

Does anyone have any good recipes for preserving tomatoes? It sounds like I can use the water bath method because of the high acid content? I basically want to preserve a tomato sauce to use as a base cooking sauce - something versatile that I can use for different types of recipes.

Also, recipes for preserving mushrooms as some sort of cooking sauce? I hoping to grow mushrooms this year and would like to can a sauce made from them


Thanks again for all the info' - I'll starting working through some of the other threads you suggested, too.

 
Anne Miller
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There are so many different ways to preserve tomatoes.

Here is an easy way to cook them down for tomato sauce then they can be canned:

https://permies.com/t/50330/kitchen/Lazy-tomato-sauce

I love them done as a relish similar to this recipe:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/74204/tomato-chutney-ii/

And this is for green tomato pickles:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/31272/green-tomato-pickles/

 
Rebecca Norman
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Yes, tomatoes are usually acid enough to be safely canned in the common old water-bath method. Supposedly if you add too many non-acid veggies like onions before canning, it can bump it up into the dangerous level, but it's nice to add onions at the time of cooking and serving anyway, and it's so easy and safe to can tomatoes by themselves, peeled whole, or roasted halves with the skins pulled off, or in chunks, or pureed with the skins on, etc.

I don't know about canning mushrooms. Sounds very low-acid to me. Mushrooms dry so easily where I live, and mushrooms are the only vegetable I've heard of where sun-drying actually increases their vitamins! So I like to dry lots of mushrooms.

I powder some of my dried vegetables, which makes them reconstitute instantly. Powdered dried eggplant/aubergine/brinjal makes a nice sauce thickener, with a sweeter different taste from normal chunks. Powdered dried tomatoes work great too. I haven't tried powdering mushrooms, but they might make a great sauce. I don't know if the texture would be as smooth as pureeing cooked mushrooms, but it might be good in its own way.
 
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Gavin Prentice wrote:
Does anyone have any good recipes for preserving tomatoes? It sounds like I can use the water bath method because of the high acid content? I basically want to preserve a tomato sauce to use as a base cooking sauce -



Plain tomatoes need a bit of citric acid added to them so you can waterbath them. 1/2 tsp per liter tomatos/juice. It doesn't change the taste at all in my experience.
 
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Hi Gavin -

Please consider dehydrating your mushrooms. Allow them to dry in the sun and they produce and store vitamin d3 which is great for your immunity and many other body functions like building strong bones. Once dry, really dry, put them in mason jars, no further processing required. They rehydrate in water.
 
Morfydd St. Clair
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Rebecca Norman wrote:
I powder some of my dried vegetables, which makes them reconstitute instantly. Powdered dried eggplant/aubergine/brinjal makes a nice sauce thickener, with a sweeter different taste from normal chunks. Powdered dried tomatoes work great too. I haven't tried powdering mushrooms, but they might make a great sauce. I don't know if the texture would be as smooth as pureeing cooked mushrooms, but it might be good in its own way.



Also, a lot of people like to peel their tomatoes when canning.  I have read that the skins, when dried and powdered, will really add a punch of flavor.  I haven't yet tried it, but it sounds like a cool way to get 2 different yields from your tomatoes.

Basic tomato salt:  https://food52.com/recipes/37175-tomato-skin-salt
Plus added sugar, and dried in the microwave:  https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/08/tomato-powder-from-tomato-skins.html
 
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