Thursday, January 22, 2015

Homesteading Tools :: Preserving Food

It's currently the "quiet season" around a homestead. This is the time of year when I like to think ahead to next summer and fall and the things that I would like to grow, harvest, and preserve for our family. Having the necessary tools around can be so helpful. There are several tools that we have found to be very helpful in preserving food for use throughout the year.

When people think of tools for preserving food the first thing most people would think of is a canner. However, we have many ways of preserving food that we grow or that we purchase at their rock-bottom-prices to preserve for use throughout the rest of the year. These are the things that we have and use often to help us preserve food around our home:

Lidded Freezer Trays
I use this tray to freeze juice. We juice greens and watermelons and preserve the juice to use in smoothies throughout the winter. I love that this has a lid which helps to contain the liquid should it spill or get tipped over.

Silicone Ice Cube Trays
I used these trays to freeze pureed foods for Meghan, pureed veggies for use in smoothies/soups, and chopped herbs. These trays are great!

Big Mouth Juicer
This juicer is great for making juices...of course. But I use it in preservation to preserve foods for use in smoothies throughout the winter. Greens are able to grow in plentiful numbers in the very early spring and the fall here in Kansas. I can bring in pounds of them - if I know I have something to do with them. For that reason, I have started juicing them and freezing them. Every few days while the greens are growing like crazy, I pull a large bowl full of them, juice them, and freeze them in lidded freezer trays. This system works really well for me and the leftover green fiber is great in the composter!

Presto Pressure Canner
I have used this canner several times now and it's done a great job! I highly recommend it. Because this canner is so tall, you can purchase a second rack and can two layers of pints - that proved to save a lot of time!

Steam Canner
Yes, I'm aware that the USDA has not done enough research to determine whether steam canning is truly safe. However, I love this canner and have had nothing but success with it. As a bonus, it can be used upside down as a waterbath canner for pints.

This was the first tool we ever purchased for preserving food many years ago before we even moved to this house. It has served us well. It's great for dehydrating herbs to storage, dehydrating greens for powdering, and making treats such as fruit roll ups and jerky.

Jerky Gun
Is this necessary? Absolutely not! But, it's super helpful for making jerky that's an even thickness so that it is all finished at the same time.

Canning Tool Set
I use several of these tools and I find them very necessary to the canning process. Particularly the jar lifter, the magnetic lid lifter, and the canning funnel.

Saucemaker and Strainer
I added this to our tool collection this past fall and can't believe I ever did applesauce without it! The entire process from full apples to canned applesauce took less time this past fall than just peeling and pureeing the apples in years past. This saucemaker is so speedy! It takes lightly boiled apples and separates the sauce from the pulp, seeds, and skin. The applesauce was super tasty and has been enjoyed by all!

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