Eco Village being planned for the Hunter Valley
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Preserving food doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming - freezing fruit

I used to be less than enthusiastic about preserving food. I wanted to take advantage of cheap seasonal produce, but was turned off by the seemingly complicated process of bottling (or canning for those of you in the US). The time consuming and messy methods involved in jam and sauce making also deterred me.

I’ve since fallen in love with preserving because I’ve learnt that you’re rewarded many times over for your effort.

I’ve also realised preserving food doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to preserve food is to freeze it.

All those apples we recently foraged from the side of the road were turned into stewed apple* last night.

Stewed apple ready for freezing

We now have a good freezer stash of stewed apple waiting to be added to plain yoghurt, cereal and porridge and to be turned into apple sponge pudding, apple muffins, and apple crumble.

Not bad for something that we foraged for free.

Some fruit can be frozen with very little preparation

Bananas were only 99c a kg at a local greengrocer this morning so I bought a few kg to top up our freezer stash. They’ll be made into chocolate banana ice-cream, smoothies, and Little Eco often enjoys sliced frozen banana in a bowl.

Banannas ready for freezing

I simply peel the bananas, place them in a container and freeze.

Frozen local berries

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are also easy to freeze. Simply wash, air dry on a tea towel, spread out on a baking tray (so that they don’t stick together when freezing), freeze, then place in an air-tight container.

Citrus are easy to freeze as juice

Frozen lemon juice

Simply freeze the juice in an ice cube tray and then put into a container. I made the above batch a few months ago with a super cheap bag of very ripe lemons and only ran out a few days ago. Each time I need lemon juice for a recipe (mostly hummus which I make regularly) I simply grab a cube or two.

The Australian lemon season finished a month or so ago, so i'm planning to buy some while they are still available. I don't wan't to be tempted to buy imported lemons.

*How to make stewed apple

Stewed apple and yoghurt

Peel, core and chop your apples. Place apples in a saucepan, add enough water to cover half of the apples and add a tablespoon of brown sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon for each kg of apples. I don’t actually weigh out the apples and simply guess amounts. It’s hard to go wrong. This makes a fairly tart stewed apple, so if you like yours sweeter add more sugar.

Cover and cook on low heat for 30-45 mins or until apples are soft, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed.

Do you preserve? What’s your favourite preserving method?

Speaking of preserving, Dixibelle wrote a post recently on making fermented kefir drinks. I'm interested and would love to give these healthy drinks a go. Have you made kefir drinks before?