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Preserving Food For The Year

When you relocate to your dream home in the sun, it can bring out the garden god or goddess in you and you may therefore find that you have been taken more of an interest in your garden as of late. Greece is known for its warm climate and so you may have decided to use the good weather and planted your own fruit or vegetables this year?! Producing any kind of food product by yourself is a real achievement, especially if it is your first time. But what happens at the end of

the summer when you have buckets of fruit and vegetables leftover and you are unsure of what to do with them?!

It is great during the summer months to have salad, vegetables and fruits at hand and are only a few steps away, compared to the long walk or drive to a shop or market. But quite often we end up with a lot more that what we really need and although the idea of throwing them in the bin seems like the right thing to do, the hard work of the last few months is in the back of our minds and stops us from throwing all our hard work in to the bin. It is rational to think that you simply can't eat the rest of the produce, as this would not be a very sensible thing to do. However, we can save and preserve our produce and enjoy it through the winter months when we have not fresh produce growing in the garden.

Pots and Jars
It is a good idea to save any jars that you buy from the shop and store them until you need them at a later date. Jars are a very useful way to store fruits and vegetables for long periods of time. Many Balkan countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey are very good at using leftover food to make tasty new dishes and they are also good at storing food in different ways too.

You can store fruits in jars by chopping the fruits in to small pieces and taking away any stones or seeds. Then you put the fruit in to a jar and mix your own preserve, which is made up of sugar and various other simple ingredients which you will be able to find at home. The recipe depends of course, on what you plan to do with the fruits, but storing them in a sugar/syrup is a natural way of preserving fruits.

If you don't have such a sweet tooth, you may want to consider using your old jars to store vegetables and pickle them in vinegar and salt. If you do your research you will be amazed at what vegetables are good pickled. Some pickling recipes contain other ingredients such as garlic, salt, sugar and other types of vinegar, but it depends on which recipe is best for you. There are a number of vegetables that you can enjoy in a pickled variety, such as: gherkins, onions, cabbage, carrots, peas, mushrooms, green tomatoes, chilies and more.

Another way of preserving and combining your leftovers from the summer season is to mix them in to your own homemade chutney or relish. There are a number of ways and recipes to enjoy your own chutneys and relish, so you will be able to mix and match your own to your own taste.

It is very important to follow your recipe carefully and always remember to sterilise your jars before using them!

Freezer friendly
There is nothing better than seeing a freezer or fridge full of good food, especially when it hasn't cost you a fortune to earn its keep there! If you prefer keeping your fruits and vegetables plain and simply then blanching and freezing them would be another great option! You can store them in food bags or plastic containers and use them in your cooking throughout the autumn and winter season. Freezing vegetables and fruits is a good way to ensure that you will have a variety of different types of fruits and vegetables in the freezer at all times, especially if you struggle to get a good range of inexpensive fruits and vegetables out of season.