If you’ve been keeping up with our latest stories, you know we have been all over the province this summer picking tomatoes, berries, peaches – and enjoying a cocktail or two along the way.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve been amassing produce for a month. It’s piling up in your fridge, on your counters and in neglected pots in your yard (there are only so many summer weekends to hit the road after all!)
First of all, what is preserving and how does it work? Well, preserving fresh produce means creating an environment in which microorganisms and enzymes -a.k.a bacteria- can’t survive, preventing your fruits and veggies from spoiling.
There are multiple ways that you can do this, so we have listed some of our favourite methods below.
First Thing’s First
No matter how you plan on preparing your Ontario cucumbers for a long winter, step one is making sure you are using glass jars with a two-piece lid OR rubber rings and a clamp. This is to ensure your jars seal properly! Reusing old jars is a great idea, but make sure you purchase new flat metal lids as the seal only works once.
Now, Let’s Get Started
One of the most common methods of preserving is done by storing your ingredients in a solution that contains highly concentrated amounts of either salt, sugar or alcohol.
If you are preserving fruit that is naturally acidic, then you will want to use a solution of concentrated sugar, or an alcoholic one. Vegetables on the other hand should be preserved in an acidic vinegar, a salty liquid or a combination of both.
Another way of preserving is by using heat; boiling or blanching your ingredients will kill the enzymes – most bacteria will be killed at 100A�C, which is the boiling point of water.
Hint: The food must be sealed in air-tight jars immediately after you boil it!
Last but not least is fermentation; fermented products are preserved by converting a liquid such as fruit juice into an alcoholic concentration. This happens when the yeast or bacteria in your fresh food feed on the natural sugars, which will then turn into alcohol or acid.
Interested in learning more about fermentation? This festival is for you!
The first annual Ontario Fermentation Festival will be a family-friendly, daylong celebration of Ontario fermented foods and beverages happening at the Crystal Palace in Picton ON, August 19th, 2017. The event is organized by Pyramid Ferments, a Prince Edward County based producer of fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and kvass.