Prepare to Can

You know you’re serious about preserving homegrown food when you start canning in your kitchen. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
You know you’re serious about preserving homegrown food when you start canning in your kitchen. As summer temperatures peak and the garden explodes, canning supplies take up semipermanent residence on the kitchen counter, and many evenings feature the “ping” of sealing jars.

As I mentioned while describing the pros and cons of canning, it’s a time-consuming process with must-follow rules and specialized tools. That’s part of why I’m such a fan of canning large batches and even multiple batches: If I’m going to spend the time, I want to fill a row of jars. Otherwise, I choose a quick preservation method like refrigerating or freezing. I even stash produce in the fridge or freezer to can later when I have a decent stockpile and more time. Doing so breaks up the canning process, making it seem less of a project.

Even though they take effort, canning projects are worth it, and some of my most delicious preservation recipes are stored stably and safely at room temperature in jars.
Read more about water-bath canning

Quick Food Preservation

Refrigerating, freezing, and dry storing are the trifecta of quick preservation. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Preserving your harvest often seems like a daunting, time-consuming task, involving pounds of produce, stacks of jars, and boiling kettles on some of the hottest days of the year. Large-batch canning can operate that way: as a project, albeit one that fills your pantry. But it’s not the only way to preserve what you grow. Preservation can happen every time you come in from the garden with a little more than you and your family will eat at the next meal.

Refrigerating, freezing, and dry storing are the trifecta of quick preservation. As I mentioned while describing their pros and cons last week, produce preserved in these ways requires minimal prep and handling. Most of the tools and packaging you need are likely already in your home. Storage times can vary widely with these techniques, but some tips and tricks will let you get the most out of each. Best of all, a wide range of food can be preserved simply and easily with these quick preservation techniques.
Read more about quick food preservation

Fermented Cucumbers

I’ve loved cucumber pickles since I was a kid. Fermentation takes them to a new level. Get fermented vegetable recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I’ve loved pickles since I was a kid. My mom put dozens of jars of dill and “sweet” (bread-and-butter) pickles through a water bath every year, and I’d sneak them like they were potato chips. But the longer the pickles sat, the less chip-like crunch they gave. Over the years, I’ve played with ingredients and canning techniques that have helped. Then I discovered fermentation.

Think about it: Cucumbers are best fresh and raw. Putting them in hot water is bound to affect their texture. Fermentation replaces heat with time and vinegar with salt. No wonder the result is crisper and fresher. And the flavoring possibilities—from dill to tea—are endless.

If you’ve never run a fermentation, I suggest you check out my introductory post from earlier this month. But here are the basics: Start with everything clean and fresh. Monitor the batch daily so that you can see the process. If you have doubts, give it the toss and start again.
Learn to make Fermented Dill Pickles and Fermented Tea Pickles

Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
Read more about quick and easy pickling