March 20, 2013
Eating food fresh out of the garden is best because the longer food is out of the ground, you are getting less and less nutrients from it. Second to eating out of the ground is freezing, as it preserves all of the nutrients and freshness. Third is dehydrating. Dehydrating keeps 95% of the food’s nutrients. Fermenting falls somewhere along the spectrum as well but admittedly, I know nothing about fermenting so I will stay silent on the issue. The final way people save their food from the garden is by canning. I am not a fan of canning for two reasons:
1.I do not have a fancy pressure cooker.
2. Canning is PROCESSING. Tomatoes seem to be the only fruit/veg that is better when cooked (because of the licopene) but I do not can tomatoes because of point #1.All other fruits or veggies lose nutrition when they are canned – mainly because the longer you cook food, the less nutrition the food has (raw food is best).
I realize if the power goes out for days, which is not unlikely during hurricane season around here, those who can have no worries while those who freeze (me) are sweating a bit. However, I would rather have the possibility of losing part of a harvest every once in a while to definitely losing nutrients every time I eat my harvest out of season. One day, I hope to have a dehydrator, which could take care of both issues for a lot of food 🙂
Here are some more tips for freezing for those of you who are interested. I have talked about the nestling method I use to freeze beans, coleslaw, pumpkin puree, smoothies, etc. Some other freezing methods:
- TOMATOES: freeze WHOLE tomatoes – just stick in a freezer bag! When you want to use a tomato in a recipe, let it thaw enough so that the skin loosens and then it comes off so easily.
- FRUIT: freeze on baking sheet – once frozen, put in freezer bags so you can scoop out by the handful.
- PEPPERS & CELERY: chop, then freeze on baking sheet – once frozen put in freezer bags so you can scoop out by the handful
One tip I recently learned from Chiot’s Run is to freeze in canning jars. This way, you do not have to worry about the BPA from the plastic leeching into your food AND you can reuse the cans & lids indefinitely so it saves a lot of money as well! I have tried this with broth thus far and plan on doing it more and more as we harvest from the garden this year 🙂
What other ways have you found to preserve your harvests? Any other freezing tips?