I guess its never too early to talk about preserving

I don’t have time to fully learn about preserving yet, still learning about planting, but it seems worth getting supplies in now as they will be scarce later and prices are already getting inflated.

We’ve got about 28 square meters of beds now for a family of 2 adults and 3 kids under 11. From what I gather this wont be enough for self sufficiency ever for an experienced grower but I’m expecting partial shortages to hit next autumn/winter not the summer so we can eat some as we grow to supplement what we can buy and preserve some when we get some in excess. If it looks like fruit imports are getting scarce we can also start preserving some store bought fruit. So far I’ve bought:

  • 112x 380ml jars with lids for £55 (still available on amazon) - Seemed expensive but I couldn’t find cheaply even in quantity.
  • 5KGs of preserving sugar for £2.39 (price is now that per KG) - Its just chunky less refined sugar so can be used for anything but allegedly easier to use for jam making.
  • Bag of pectin
  • 4x 5L of white vinegar for £14 (Prices doubled or more now, a few 2x5L packs on Amazon for about that)
  • 25KG of food grade PDV salt for £12 (still available on Amazon) - mostly used for Koi ponds in the UK but in the USA I found talk of it being used for preserving. An incredibly cheap price compared to when its called table salt, 25KG probably way more than I need but there aren’t in between sizes. I could share with neighbours later.
  • I bought a second under-counter freezer for £100 new (No cheap ones are available now, dearer models around £300-400 are and maybe second hand) but its not entirely secure being reliant on a pretty much uninterrupted power supply.
  • 4x 30L food grade air tight barrels for storage, still at same as pre-crisis prices on ebay. £18 for one, £66 for 4.

Is there anything else useful for different methods of preserving that I’m not aware of that we should think about now?

Now my dream is I can made some brine for a 30L barrel and casually plonk vegetables in as they are picked, but I suspect it will be more complicated than that :sweat_smile:

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Preserving starts here in May with elderflower cordial, then on to the black and redcurrants as syrups and jellies. The local cherries are dried or glacéd. As the stone fruits like apricots and peaches come on it is time to dry or bottle those (canning for our American friends). French beans are bottled, then tomatoes in every possible fashion. Roasted in the pizza oven with onions, garlic, chilli and thyme and smooshed into a sauce before being bottled, passata, chutney, bottled whole cherry tomatoes, sliced and dried. As the courgettes and peppers arrive I make vats of ratatouille and bottle that.
I’ve never tried preserving vegetables in salt, such as sourkraut or the ever so fashionable kimchi but I believe it is very simple to do. Have a look at Self Sufficient Me on YouTube, he makes a lot of things like that.
Good luck with your efforts, let’s keep everything crossed we get good veg growing weather for the next six months, ideal temperatures and perfect amounts of rain at the right times!

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That all sounds delicious! Interesting, so I need to start my preserving research from now. Glad i asked!

I love this list! I’m determined to save a little bit more from my garden this year. Last year I just gave away a lot of my extra stuff. I did can some salsa verde and chutney made out of green tomatoes I had leftover in the fall last year, but I’m definitely looking forward to trying some more canning/bottling this year. :slight_smile:

I have a flat top stove also called a ceramic top and have been unsure if it was able to use a typical pressure canner on it. Some articles said it could crack or break the heating elements. So we bought an electronic portable stovetop but it didn’t allow the canner to get hot enough to steam. Then I saw a YouTube video of a woman talking about having the same issues and she referenced a new type of pressure canner made for flattop stoves. It just arrived in the mail and im looking forward to being able to use it. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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That led me down a rabbit hole about the difference between water bath and pressure canning. I then found this “preserving cooker” https://www.klarstein.co.uk/?cl=details&cnid=e6949a92942975298a2c4d4b0bfa7e67&anid=bf64ac161a8d8e094b94402af07d2ce4&varselid[0]=3785f53a9f4b00a4d5cedb312c67789e and if you look at the instructions (link lower left of picture) it says you can can low acid vegetables at 100 degrees C after 120 minutes heating. Are Germans immune to botulism? Or is the worry over botulism oversold? Struggling to find this info online.

Also does anyone know if regular jar lids (lined with something white and plasticy) rather than mason jar lids are any use at all for canning if not using the pressure canner?

Also is there a way to use a pressure cooker? I saw someone say just needs a rack for the bottom to put the bottles on. As I can’t afford to ship a pressure canner from the US and it might not get here with things as they are.

Part of my problem is solved thanks to realising I already have 2 pressure canners in the form of medical autoclaves. They do a timed 15psi cycle for 18 minutes but one at least can be switched off sooner if needed. I see people talking about 15 minutes so 18 might be close enough to leave it to do its thing.

Still don’t know if I need to spend money for mason jars with 2 part lids. Anyone tried canning with regular jar lids? I could try it an see but not sure what will indicate success or failure.

I do most of my bottling (canning) in regular ‘‘jam jars’’. Friends keep all of their jars and bottles for me, so I have a great supply.
I have a preserving pot which is about the size of a bucket and has an elevated base for the jars to sit on and fits about 7 x 1 litre bottles when I do syrups and cordials and about 12 jars when I do fruit or veg and more than 20 when I do paté and terrines.
For smaller quantities, I use a stockpot with an adapted cake tin in the bottom. I got an old cake tin that fit quite well into the pot (not too much gap around the outside), drilled some big holes into the base of the cake tin to allow water to pass. This goes upside down into the stockpot for the jars to sit on so they are not in direct contact with the heat from underneath.
Place your filled jars in, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. It depends on what you are preserving on how long it takes, 20 minutes at boiling for syrups and cordials, to 3 hours for a terrine. Use special jar tongs to lift your jars out onto a bench covered with a towel and let them go cold. The lids will have sucked in on the ones that have sealed properly. For thosr that haven’t put them in the fridge and use in the following few days.
A word on bottles. Square gin bottles don’t work. The glass is thin at the front and they blow out when heated. Screw top scotch, pastis, vodka, etc bottles have all been fine for me.
I’ve been preserving for more than 30 years and only once had a problem when I tried preserving garlic in oil and the jars exploded because of a bad bug build up. It may have been botulism, as garlic is prone to that apparently. I since preserve garlic in brine and have had no issues.
Start with a couple of jars and build your confidence. It really isn’t difficult if you practice good hygiene and are careful around the jars when they are hot.
Good luck, let me know how you go.

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I’d like to recommend a book for budding bottlers.
The Complete Book of Preserving by Marye Cameron-Smith
ISBN 0-672-52241-1 Hardcover
It was first published in 1976 and is available on Amazon UK for just over £10. It is an excellent book covering all aspects of preserving from bottling to jams and chutney, to drying and smoking. I’ve been using it since I started and my mother before me.

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G’day Angela
Never seen a canner like this one. Looks very interesting. I live in Oz & not many ppl use a pressure canner here. My gorgeous Kids bought me one in from the US. I am still learning as it’s a bit different to Vacola bottling that we do in Oz.
I like using both systems, depending on what I’m preserving. I also use my dehydrator - a lot!
Happy preserving :smiley:

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We are going to be canning, too! I ordered a lot of vegetable seeds for such things as spinich, kale, collard greens, beets, pickle-type cucumbers, etc., that can either be canned or chopped and frozen for use over winter. We also live very close to a huge peach orchard owned by a friend, so we are going to be preserving lots of things with peaches! It’s really smart to be planning ahead! :+1:t2:

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We have been wanting to get a dehydrator for a few years now. I have seen some marvelous-looking ones on the Internet. May I ask what type do you have or recommend?

G’day SweetLaurel
We have the Fowlers Vacola dehydrator. Friends had tried other brands & types but eventually came to this one too. I hope the link works for you. https://fowlersvacola.com.au/shop/fowlers-kits/the-ultimate-dehydrator. It looks funny when pasting the URL. Hope it’s of some use to you.
Cheers!

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I’ve got it on my radar! Thank you! :blush: