Preserving

Preserving Apples

Methods of Preserving Apples

How to Preserving Apples – Drying, Canning, and Freezing for Storage.

It is apple season right now where I live, and I spend a lot of time preparing apples for winter use. There are many different ways in which to preserve apples, and in this article I am going to share some of my favorite methods.

APPLESAUCE

This is a very quick and easy method to can applesauce. Wash your apples and cut out any bad spots on the apples. Cut into chunks, there is no reason to peel or core your apples. Place the apples, along with a small amount of water in a large pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. When the apples are soft, place them in a food mill and sieve through..

All of the skins and seeds will remain in the food mill. Next pack your applesauce into jars to within ½ inch, seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. If you desire to freeze your applesauce, place in freezer containers after putting through the food mill. Seal tightly and freeze.

You can season your applesauce with sugar and cinnamon before serving.

APPLE BUTTER

2 dozen, medium sized apples, quartered

2 quarts sweet cider

3 cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

Cook apples in cider until tender. Press through a sieve or food mill; measure out 3 quarts of apple pulp. Cook pulp until thick enough to round up in a spoon. As pulp is cooking, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add sugar and spices. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick, this will take approximately 1 hour. Pour into jars up to 1/4 inch. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This will make 5 pints.

FREEZING APPLE SLICES FOR PIE

Unthawed, these can be used for pies, cobblers or even to make fresh applesauce. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve fruit.

Peel, core and slice your apples into water into which a few teaspoons of lemon juice has be added, drain. Place the apples in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain again. Pack in plastic freezer containers. Seal and freeze.

APPLE PIE FILLING

Just thaw and fill your pie shell.

6 pounds apples

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash, peel, core and slice the apples. Place sliced apples in soaking solution to prevent darkening. Combine the sugar, flour and spices. Rinse and drain the apples, then stir into sugar mixture. Let stand until the juices begin to flow, this will take about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Pour into freezer containers, seal and then freeze. This will make about 6 pints.

DRIED APPLES

While these can be eaten in the dehydrated state, they can also be rehydrated and used for cooking.

Wash, peel and core your apples. Cut into 1/4 to ½ inch slices or rings. Pretreat by dipping in a bowl of water in which a few teaspoons of lemon juice have been added. Dry in a food dehydrator or in your oven at 130 to 135 degrees. Dry until pliable.

BRANDIED MINCEMEAT

I use this not only to make pies, but also quick breads.

2 quarts tart apples, pared, cored and diced (about 8 large apples)

4 cups cleaned cranberries (1 pound)

1-14 ounce package golden raisins

1-11 ounce package dark raisins

1-11 ounce package currants

1-12 ounce package figs

2 oranges, seeded and ground

2 lemons, seeded and ground

½ cup chopped candied orange peel

½ cup chopped candied lemon peel

2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon ginger

1 quart apple cider

3/4 cup brandy

½ cup dry sherry

Combine the apples, cranberries, raisins, currants, figs, oranges, lemons, peels, sugar, spices and cider in a large pot. Simmer gently for 1 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove the mincemeat from the heat. Carefully stir in the brandy and the sherry. Return to heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Pour into hot jars, leaving ½ inch space. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. This will make about 6 pint jars.

Fresh, slightly hard apples can also be stored in a cool, dark place for the winter. Just be sure to keep checking to make sure that none are spoiling. That is where the term, “one bad apple, can spoil the whole bunch” comes from.

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How to Freeze Dairy Foods

How to Freeze Dairy Foods

How to Freeze Dairy Foods for Later Use

Most dairy foods may be frozen for future use if the proper procedures are used. Dairy products such as eggs, milk, etc. can be frozen and kept for months if the proper food safety rules are followed.
The storage and freezing of dairy products such as eggs, milk and cheese is fairly simple.

However, if these processes are improperly carried out, the food can become a dangerous source of harmful bacteria that could result in serious illness.

These foods may be frozen, pre-measured for future use in maindishes, desserts, etc. just as fresh dairy products are used, saving time and expense.

Below are the steps to safe storage, freezing and storage of various dairy products.

EGGS

When buying eggs, always choose the freshest produce available. After purchasing, store in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Store with the small end downward and keep away from foods with pungent smells. If any eggs are cracked, use these first. If more than one or two are cracked or seem damaged otherwise, it is best to return these to the store.

If freezing whole eggs for desserts, add one tablespoon of sugar or light corn syrup for each cup of eggs frozen. If using for main dishes, add one teaspoon of salt to each cup of eggs. Stir to mix well (do not beat) and put into freezer containers with tight-fitting lids. Label clearly with the number of eggs used and whether or not sugar or salt has been added.

Whole eggs may be stored frozen in waxed cartons, glass jars or plastic freezer containers that have tight-fitting lids. Be sure to leave at least 1/2″ of space between the frozen eggs and the top of the container. Whole eggs may be frozen safely for up to nine months.

To freeze egg yolks, break into measuring cup and stir until smooth. Do not beat. For each cup of egg, add one teaspoon sugar or corn syrup if using for desserts. If using in maindishes, add one teaspoon of salt per cup of yolks. Label the each freezer container with the number of yolks included and whether sugar or salt has been added.

Egg yolks can be stored frozen safely at 0 degrees for up to eight months for use in recipes. Leftover yolks may be kept in the refrigerator unfrozen for two or three days if kept covered with water in a glass jar with top.

In thawing either whole eggs or yolks, let them thaw completely in refrigerator before using. Do not thaw outside the refrigerator. Leftover egg whites can remain refrigerated for a week to ten days when properly stored.

BUTTER

If butter is made from unsalted sweet pasteurized cream, it may be safely stored for up to six months in the freezer. Butter may be stored in the store package or rewrapped in foil or plastic wrap.

CHEESE

Certain cheeses freeze well but are likely to change in texture. Neither cottage cheese nor cream cheese should ever be frozen. Both may lose flavor as well as texture. Cottage cheese can be kept cold and covered in the refigerator for up to a week. Its container should have a tight-fitting lid since cottage cheese easily absorbs odors from other foods.

Semi-soft cheeses may be cubed and frozen individually for use in cooking. They will still maintain their flavor although texture may be altered but are excellent for dishes where melted cheese is an ingredient.

Unless frozen, all cheese should be kept in the fresh food part of the refrigerator. To discourage drying-out and odor absorption, cheese should be wrapped in plastic wrap or foil. Mold that may form on cheese is not harmful. The mold may be cut from the cheese and the cheese used as usual.

WHIPPED CREAM

Whipped cream freezes well but must be sweetened and flavored before freezing. Whipped cream should not be kept frozen longer than two months before using. It may also be frozen and stored in indiviual servings.

Make dollops of whipped cream on a piece of waxed paper and freeze. Then wrap each frozen portion individually in plastic wrap and put into freezer containers to store. These must be used within two months.

ICE CREAM

Ice cream can be stored in the carton in which it is purchased. If opened, cover the open end of the carton with foil or plastic wrap before reclosing the lid. If not covered, air that enters the box may cause hard ice crystals to form or the ice cream may separate and become gummy.

Ice cream can be kept safely frozen up to three months. If the ice cream completely thaws, do not refreeze since the texture will be ruined and the ingredients will have separated. Sherbets and ices may be frozen almost indefinitely if air is not allowed to seep into the container.

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How to Dry Foods

How to Dry Foods

How to Dry All Kinds of Foods

How to dry foods. If you have often thought about trying this very old food processing method, the information here to help get you started!

Doesn’t the very word “drying foods” conjure up the picture of a family of the 1800’s preserving their abundant food by drying it in the sun? What a sense of accomplishment! They possessed the skill to keep food from spoiling and consequently, have enough in storage to last through the winter months. Back then, it may have been the very act that would keep the families from being short of food and very hungry though the season. Plus it’s very easy to preserve fruits and vegetables by drying them.

Dehydration is successful by drying slowly and consistently from the inside out. Therefore, the moisture required to produce bacteria is reduced and the food is preserved.

Preparing foods for drying should be done as soon as possible after gathering, this will insure a high caliber result. Blanch the fruit or vegetables and begin the drying process as soon as possible. Once you have started drying, continue until the process, is completed. Organisms that cause spoilage will grow, as well as mold, in food that is not thoroughly dried.

Sun Drying

Thin wood lattices, or stainless steel screening should be used home drying receptacles. Your choice is restricted somewhat for these trays because some aluminum reacts to the acid in the fruit. Avoid copper, vinyl, fiberglass and anything galvanized. Trays used in ovens should be up to 2 inches smaller than oven shelves this will allow the air to circulate.

Place the trays in a relatively dust free area outside. The tray should be raised above the table with some sort of spacers to encourage air circulation. Protect the trays to guard from insects; cover with clean cotton material. Place fruits in open sunlight, and move to follow sun exposure.

Vegetables will hold their color better if dried in shade. Insects sometimes deposit their eggs on drying food consequently after drying is completed, heat foods to 150 degrees for up to 30 minutes.

Oven Drying

Oven trays make a good unit for drying in the oven. Place a stainless steel screen across the rack to keep the product from falling though. The oven should be set at 140 to 150 degrees. An electric oven will not allow moisture to ventilate, so will need to be propped open to allow it’s release. A gas oven will allow for moisture ventilation so you will not need to be concerned with opening the oven door.

Dehydrator

You will need to read the instructions that come with the specific dehydrator purchased. The best choice to buy is one that has a thermostat to regulate the temperature, and a fan to move the air. Look for these features when you are ready to purchase one. The food placed in a solar dehydrator will need to be re-positioned to continue in direct sunlight, several times per day.

Time for Drying

There is a lot of variance to drying times; you need to take into consideration along with what method you are using, the size of the portions, and moisture content. The task of sun drying takes the longest, and an electric dehydrator wins the time factor, as being the quickest way to dry.

* Meats 12 hours

* Vegetables 4-12 hours

* Fruits 6-20 hours

The ability to dry foods effectively takes determination and practice. Test, and test again. Remove a portion from the center of the tray to test and allow cooling somewhat. Vegetables will be breakable; fruit and meat jerky will be leathery and supple.

Before putting away for storage, foods should “set.” Place in a porous cotton bag; the moisture will settle equally through the food in approximately one week. Hang the bag in a noticeable location and shake the bag daily.

When completely dry, store in heavy plastic bags, remove all air, and place in glass container with secure lid. Store in low light, and an area that is cool. Foods should be used within a period of one year.

Jerky requires no further preparation: it is usually eaten dried. The vegetables for soups will hydrate by the added liquids during the cooking process, otherwise the vegetables will need to be soaked for at least an hour in up to two cups of water for each cup of vegetables. Let dried fruit stand in boiling water for 5-6 minutes to soften before adding to recipes, and then drained. Fruit is very good eaten dried.

Vitamin A, protein, and minerals are retained somewhat well, especially if the water used to soak the fruit or vegetables is also eaten. The concentration from drying makes them high in calories.

This is quite an interesting procedure, and it may turn out to be something you truly enjoy doing.

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Preserving fruit

Preserving fruit

How to Preserve Fruits & Vegetables

Preserving fruits and vegetables can be very rewarding and it can save you a lot of money, not to mention the pride that comes from canning your own food.

Canning fruits and vegetables can be very rewarding and it can also save you a lot of money, not to mention the pride that comes from canning your own fruits and vegetables.

If you’re interested in learning how to dry fruits and vegetables, click that link.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to grow your own fruits and vegetables, you can also enjoy the benefits of canning them. If you can’t grow your own, wait until they are in season and plentiful and buy your favorites. They should also be very low in price if they are in season.

You’ll be very pleased when, in the middle of the winter, you can go to your pantry and get a jar of fruits or vegetables that you canned yourself.

Canning is a process of preserving food by heating and sealing it in air tight containers. The process was invented in 1809 by Nicholas Appert, a French confectioner.

Equipment needed:

  • Boiling water canner with a wire rack and tight fitting lid.
  • Pot holders and kitchen towels. The food and jars are very hot!
  • Wooden spoons, rubber spatulas, potato masher, tongs, skimmer, ladles and a big spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Home canning jars. There are many sizes so choose the jars that are most suitable for what you are canning, such as small jars for jams and jelly.
  • Two-piece caps-two piece vacuum sealing closures. Always use new lids and bands.
  • Cutting board
  • A sharp set of knives
  • Jar lifter- tongs for removing jars from hot water
  • Funnel- for putting the food in the jars
  • One or two large pots
  • Timer…Timing the cooking process is very important.

The boiling water method is for acid foods. The heat is transferred to the product by boiling the water which completely surrounds the jar and two piece cap. A temperature of 212 degrees F is reached and must be maintained for the time specified.

This method is adequate to kill molds, yeasts, enzymes, and some bacteria. This method cannot be used for low acid foods.

In order to kill all bacteria you must use the steam pressure method. It reaches a temperature of 240 degrees F.

Always use the best , top quality ingredients.

Preserve fruits and vegetables at their peak of ripeness.

Use only current home tested recipes. Fill hot jars with prepared recipe and leave a small space at the top of the jar. Place rubber sealed cap on jar then run a spatula underneath to remove air at the top of the jar. Wipe rim and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Center heated lid on jar. Screw band down evenly and firmly until a point of resistance is felt.

After processing, remove jars from canner and set them upright on clean kitchen towel to cool. Do not retighten bands or check for a seal while jars are hot. After 24 hours check lids for a seal. Sealed lids curve downwards. Press the center of the lid to insure it does not flex up or down.

Reprocess or refrigerate any unsealed jars. Remove bands. Wipe jars and lids with a clean, damp cloth and dry. Wash bands in soapy water, dry and store.

Label and store jars in a cool dry dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within a year.

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