Ever since I was a kid, I was taught that fresh food is king. The best way to eat the freshest food is to eat it right out of the ground, right? Well, that may be the case, but what about the rest of the year? What about eating tomatoes in the fall or winter here in New England? If you grow as many vegetables as I do, there’s no way to be able to eat them all before they spoil. Well, my fine readers, there is one way to enjoy the season out of season, and that’s preservation. There are two preservation techniques I swear by and that’s canning and pickling.
How exciting is it to be able to bust open a jar of tomato sauce made with ingredients we grew ourselves? We can have a sense of pride that we toiled over our garden and added only the best ingredients. No preservatives necessary!
Smoking a few tomatoes to make sauce takes advantage of two preserving techniques that I love to use; smoking AND canning. Check out that apple wood smoke.
Pickling with a simple “quick pickle” brine is nice too. It’ll keep your crisp vegetables fresh for a quick snack or a burger topper. This one is a really spicy quick pickle with cayenne peppers, radishes, cucumbers and herbs.
Of course, our grandmothers have been doing this technique for a while; canning is a popular way to allow us the luxury of enjoying our gardens year-round.
Making tomato jam is yet another technique to preserve your plethora of sweet tasty orbs. I use this in place of ketchup, there’s nothing like it!
At the end of the season, I end up with loads of green tomatoes which are great for pickling too! I use that same simple pickle brine and canning technique to make this amazing side for all meals. Toss some pickled green tomatoes on a salad, chop it up into soup or your favorite vegetable, awesome.
Check back for a few recipes for canning, smoking and pickling that you can use to keep your gardens memory for a few more months.