For delicate vegetables, blanching involves being lightly steamed. For tougher vegetables, place them in cold, unsalted water; bring to the boil, then skim the top, leave to simmer for a few minutes and drain. Plunge the vegetables into cold water before drying off, and they will seem even fresher when defrosted.
Vegetables also freeze well when boiled and pureed. Those with high water content, such as courgette and marrow, benefit from being lightly sautéed before freezing.
Root vegetables can be frozen, although they will store for a while left in the ground or in a cool, dry place. While some, such as young, small carrots, can be frozen whole, most benefit from being pureed before freezing. Soft fruits freeze whole particularly well and hold their flavour, while tree fruits are better pureed before freezing.
Certain herbs, such as mint and basil, will freeze well.
Simply pick the leaves and freeze in the quantities you will require in small polythene bags.Soft fruits freeze whole particularly well and hold their flavour, while tree fruits are better pureed before freezing.
Certain herbs, such as mint and basil, will freeze well. Simply pick the leaves and freeze in the quantities you will require in small polythene bags.
This is one of the most traditional methods of preserving food, possibly practised by our
distant ancestors with nuts and roots. Drying fruit and vegetables correctly is something of a balancing act-if you dry them to fast at too high a temperature the fruit will lose nutrients and flavour as well as becoming tough and chewy. But if you dry them too slowly at too low a
temperature, you run the risk of allowing micro-organisms to start to breed.
There are three basic methods of drying fruit and vegetables: sun-drying, which requires bright sunshine and a really hot, dry day and so is not suitable for the climate in some countries; oven-drying, which simply requires a reliable oven, preferably a convection oven; and air drying, which requires an air drying, which requires an airy, insect-free area.Oven-drying
Certain fruit and vegetables make better candidates for oven drying than others. For example, any fruit with high water content, such as melon and citrus, will lose much of their flavour, Similarly, small soft fruits containing lots of pips end up as all hard pips and no fruit when dried. The time you need depends on what you are drying and how thick the slices or chunks are. As a rough guide, allow two hours for slices of 6mm, and four times that for 12.5mm slices. lf you are planning to do this on a regular basis then it would be worth buying a commercial dehydrator. If it is only likely to be an occasional event then a regular convection oven is sufficient. It is vital to keep the temperature between 49'-60"C (120"-1 40"F). Arrange the fruit and vegetables on trays, making sure that there is enough space on either side of the tray for air to circulate. There must be at least 7 5cm (3in) between
Vegetables for freezing
Carrots: choose small carrots, wash and remove tops, blanch, then seal in polythene bags, can also puree.
Brussels sprouts: select tight, small sprouts and remove the outer leaves, blanch.
Cauliflower: divide into even-sized florets, wash, steam blanch and bag up.
Spinach: trim the stems, wash, steam blanch, before freezing.
Peppers: wash, remove stem and seeds, slice then bag.
Aubergines: after washing, slice, sauté, then sort and seal in polythene bags.
Courgettes: wash, slice, sauté then freeze.
Broad beans: choose small beans, shell, blanch and sort into bags of similar size.
Runner beans: after washing, slice into 25mm (1 in) lengths, blanch and seal in Polythene bags.
the trays. These trays should be rotated and moved around the oven occasionally, so that the fruit and vegetables are evenly exposed to the heat. As soon as the juices have dried up, turn over the fruit and vegetables every now and again to ensure they dry at an even rate.