I am so excited to be just weeks away from Spring. I love all the yummy foods that Spring and Summer offer us. Sometimes I think I could make a whole meal off of fresh fruits and veggies. I really try to stock up and serve my family as much as we can while they are in season. I also love to preserve the fruits and veggies so we can enjoy them all year long.
Even though I love preserving foods I have never been real comfortable with canning. I would often help my grandma can produce when I was younger, but now I just prefer other ways of preserving produce. If you don't want to can, or don't have the equipment don't worry. There are plenty of ways to preserve produce without canning.
I think freezing is one of the easiest ways to preserve produce without canning them. I love to freeze strawberries, raspberries, corn, green beans, mushrooms, and garlic. It's also very cost-effective to do because all you need is the containers that you are going to freeze them in. I highly recommend these containers from Amazon. I think they really work well at preventing freezer burn. You can see my tips for flash freezing here.
Although dehydrating can take a little more work, it is a great way to preserve foods. You can dehydrate carrots, tomatoes, onions, celery, corn, and broccoli very easily. It's also fun to dehydrate apple or pineapple chips. For a chewy fruit leather taste, you can dehydrate watermelon. A dehydrator makes life so much easier, but if you don't own one you can always use your oven. Just heat your oven to the lowest setting and leave them in for as long as they need about 6-8 hours. If you want to get a dehydrator they start at around $20. I have this one here and love it.
I use the dark storage method when I don't have enough room in my fridge. You can store potatoes, apples, onions and garlic in your basement or cool dark room. I recommend wrapping up the apples each separately in a newspaper before storing them. You can place them in a box in the cool dark room. I have been successful with storing apples & potatoes for 4-6 months using this method. If you are storing both apples and potatoes you will want to make sure you don't store them next to each other. Apples give off a gas that can spoil the potatoes.
Put that crisper drawer to work in your fridge. Some produce will last for months when stored in the fridge. So stock up when you see a good deal. Apples, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions, and squash will all last for 3-4 months in the fridge. Make sure you examine all the produce before you store it because you know what they say. One bad apple will ruin the whole bunch!
Preserving your food doesn't mean a day in the kitchen spent canning. There are some easy and affordable ways to preserve your food without all the equipment and time!