Savor Season’s Bounty

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first_img“Preserving food at home may not save you money,” Harrison said. But it allows you tomake specialty foods such as strawberry-fig preserves or green tomato relish that aren’talways easy to find in the grocery store. Many people find it satisfying to have a pantry fullof homegrown foods. Even without all the graduations and weddings, spring and early summer would be aseason of gifts in Georgia. It’s when gardens and orchards offer a bounty of fruits andvegetables. “Careful attention to safety during preservation is vital,” Harrison said. “When canninglow-acid foods such as meat and vegetables, you must use a pressure canner to eliminatethe risk of botulism, a deadly type of food poisoning.” Some gardeners leave a bag of produce on a neighbor’s doorstep. Others have found away to enjoy fruits and veggies all year. What’s a fruit and veggie lover to do with all the strawberries, blueberries, blackberries,peaches, squash, corn, tomatoes, okra and dozens of other favorites? The cost of home preservation depends on the cost of the food and how it’s preserved.Now, during spring and summer harvest, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms havemany fruits and vegetables for less than supermarket prices. Harrison revised the third and most recent edition of “So Easy to Preserve.” This300-page book contains the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines on safelypreserving all types of foods. It has more than 150 tested recipes with detailed instructionsfor any home preserver. If you garden, your supply may be in the backyard.center_img “Preserving food yourself means having an abundant supply of a variety of foods when thefresh products aren’t readily available,” said Judy Harrison, a foods specialist with theUniversity of Georgia. The book covers fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, seafood and even nuts. It tellshow to safely can, freeze, dry, jelly or pickle just about any food. It even tells how to storepreserved food to keep peak quality. Harrison said preserving foods stops or puts off the normal spoiling process. Bacteria,yeasts, molds, enzymes and physical damage all play a part in food spoilage. Correctlypreserving foods kills microorganisms or prevents changes in color, flavor and texturecaused by naturally present enzymes. Some foods are better suited to one preservation method than another. Others are tastywhen you use any safe, approved method. “Also consider which method you prefer to use and which produces a product your familylikes,” Harrison said. You can buy a copy of “So Easy to Preserve” through your county extension office.last_img

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