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Vegetables for winter

/PRregister.com/ Crave winter veggies in the summer? Want to add fresh pickle relish to your summer picnic menu? Canning and preserving offers you the opportunity to still eat fresh and local by canning produce in season and at their peak of freshness, and then enjoying them in the off-season when you crave summer veggies in the winter or vise versa. While they may not be “fresh off the vine,” they will still have the flavor of another season.

Winter vegetables are now at their peak. All the cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and broccoli are available, as well as fantastic root vegetables like carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, beets, and more. You can make pickled veggie mix, spicy chutneys, and fresh relishes this time of year.

Canning low-acid food is a bit trickier than canning high-acid foods like fresh fruit. You must use a pressure cooker, rather than a hot water-bath to can. This is necessary to supply enough heat to destroy the bacteria that causes botulism. Do not take short cuts in recommended preparation or processing procedures. Failure to properly process low-acid foods in a pressure canner can result in botulism, which, if not treated, can be fatal. Since most people do not have a pressure cooker, are concerned with safety issues, and prefer an easier method, there is an alternate solution for preserving fresh winter vegetables. Canning plain vegetables in a pressure cooker takes a fair amount of cooking time, thus leaving veggies a little limp and blah, so pickling is a great answer to preserving these vegetables.

Pickling offers a flavorful and easy alternative to canning plain vegetables. They do not need to be pressure canned because they are prepared with vinegar which raises the acid content, thereby avoiding the problem of botulism. There are fantastic recipes for all kinds of pickled vegetables, relishes, and chutneys that can tickle the taste buds and brighten a winter meal with sparkling fresh flavor.

Pickled giardineira (assorted veg), pickled beets with onion, cabbage relish, hot onion chutney, and more can be made with the hot water bath canning procedure. All you need is fresh produce from your farmers’ market, cutting and chopping utensils, a large pot, and canning jars and lids.

Last modified onSaturday, 20 August 2011 00:28

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