Do you have too much squash in your garden to eat fresh? Tons of ripe tomatoes? August is the time of year in New Mexico for a surplus of vegetables and fruits in your garden. Many of the farmers also have a lot of vegetables and will offer them in bulk at the Farmers Market or through your CSA. You can preserve this bounty in many different ways. Here are a two easy ideas to get started.
Refrigerator Pickled Vegetables
These are the easiest to start with if you have not been to a canning class, read a book on the topic or canned with an experienced person. There are fewer challenges associated with these jars of delicious preserved vegetables. They will last in the refrigerator for a month to twelve months, depending on the recipe. Make sure that you have a refrigerator pickling recipe as these will be different from the different types of canning recipes. Here is an easy and interesting one to get you started and more will be shared in our class next week.
Drying or Dehydrating Food
New Mexico is a great climate for drying food without equipment. Chiles, apples, apricots and herbs are all easy to lay on screens and dry in the sun or a skylight. There is a lot of information online about food dehydrators and they can also help you dry large quantities of food in a shorter amount of time. Here is a website dedicated to home food preservation that will help describe the options.
We will share preservation ideas and recipes in our monthly education session presented with Local Organic Meals on a Budget on Wednesday, August 24th. We look forward to seeing those of you that are registered in the class, but the room only holds 30 and it is full at this time. If you are interested in attending a food preservation class, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. If there is enough interest, we will look at holding a class in September.