Preserve vegetables: drying
Drying vegetables or fruit is a well-known technique to extend their shelf life.
- During drying, moisture is removed from the vegetables. As a result, microorganisms lack their food source. Even enzymes that are responsible for breaking down ingredients can no longer work.
- Dry your finely chopped vegetables with the help of a dehydrator or in the oven at low temperatures for several hours. Alternatively, you can use sunny and dry periods to let your vegetables dry naturally.
- Dried vegetables will last for several years if you store them in a dry and dark place. However, diabetics should note that dried fruit contains more sugar than fresh fruit.
A varied method: insertion
You can pickle your vegetables in either vinegar or oil to preserve them. This method is particularly suitable for pickled cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, carrots, and pumpkin.
- The vegetables are covered with pickling liquid, which means that they no longer come into contact with oxygen. This greatly slows down the process of spoilage.
- Boil a decoction of vinegar, mustard seeds, pepper, and bay leaves. Cut the vegetables into small pieces and cook them in the broth. Pour the vegetables into sterilized jars and cover them completely with the broth. Close the jars with the appropriate screw cap.
- Before you enjoy the vegetables, you should let them steep for about 5 weeks. If you store the pickled vegetables in a dark and cool place, they will keep for several months.
Completely without preservatives: boil down
The canning method is particularly suitable for tomatoes, red beans, and peas.
- The vegetables are heated to kill germs that would lead to spoilage of the goods.
- Cut the vegetables and pre-cook them if necessary. Fill it into mason jars or screw-top jars, leaving at least a finger’s width of air at the top. Then place these closed jars in a large saucepan with water so that the jars are about ¾ covered.
- Let the water boil for 10 to 45 minutes. The longer the jars stay in the hot water, the longer the vegetables will keep later. Vegetables preserved in this way can be kept for several years.
The right environment: storage
Some types of vegetables naturally have a very long shelf life if stored correctly.
- Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and pumpkin should be stored in a dark and cool place. Maintain a constant temperature between 5 and 10° Celsius. The humidity should be at least 80%.
- Be careful not to store the vegetables together with fruit. Fruit gives off the ethylene that makes your veggies go soggy.
- Use your basement, garage, or shed as a storage location. Cover potatoes and carrots with soil and sand. This will keep your root vegetables fresh for several months.
Healthy and practical: fermenting
Fermentation is a technique that has been used to preserve vegetables for centuries. Cabbage, carrots, and beets are particularly suitable for this method.
- The vegetables are covered with brine that cuts off the oxygen supply. Lactic acid bacteria grow under these conditions. They are particularly healthy for our digestion.
- Cut your vegetables into small pieces and fill them in jars or a fermenting pot. Cover everything completely with brine. The fermentation lasts about 4 to 10 days. Make sure that no more bubbles form.
- Then fill the fermented vegetables in screw-top jars and store them in a dark, cool place. In this way, the ferment can be kept for several months.
Off to the freezer: freezing
The easiest way to preserve vegetables is to freeze them. You can also get a lot of vitamins with this variant if you pay attention to a few points.
- Cold kills bacteria and that is exactly what makes frozen vegetables durable.
- Be sure to process your vegetables as soon as possible after harvesting. Clean and cut the vegetables. Some types of vegetables, such as peas or broccoli, should also be blanched before freezing.
- Pack the prepared vegetables in small portions and as airtight as possible. Frozen vegetables can be kept for several months.
Can be preserved through oxygen deprivation: vacuum packing
This method does not work entirely without technical aids. In return, you get all the nutrients they contain when vacuuming vegetables. You can also use it to preserve all waxy vegetables.
- The reason for the long shelf life of vacuum-packed vegetables is the lack of oxygen. It is based on removing all the ambient air from the vegetables in their packaging.
- To vacuum vegetables, you need a vacuum sealer and suitable plastic bags. Wash and cut your vegetables. Put it in small portions in a bag and put it in the vacuum sealer.
- Vegetables preserved in this way stay fresh for several weeks in the refrigerator. You can store it in the freezer for up to 2 years.