Pick fresh fruits and veggies while in season to help your food budget. Preserve fruits and vegetables for serving when they're out-of-season for a dietary boost and a favor to your taste buds.
Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Line a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper.
Lay individual berries or small fruit pieces (or veggies) onto the tray in a single layer without allowing the edges to overlap.
Place the tray into the freezer.
Allow the fruit pieces to freeze completely.
Remove frozen individual fruit or veggie pieces from tray and place into freezer bags.
Expel all air from the bag and seal.
Store the closed bag in the freezer for up to 1 year.
Jelly, Jams, and Preserves Tips
The firmer the fruit, the firmer the end product. Firmer fruit is usually not as sweet as softer fruit, though.
Unless otherwise specified, white sugar must be used in most jam and jelly recipes as the pectin needs the sugar to set. To reduce sugar, buy low-sugar pectin or use no-sugar jelling techniques.
Most fruit can be turned into preserves without using sugar or adding pectin. A slow cooker with the lid removed works best. On the stove top, slowly cook the fruit mix, reducing heat constantly to prevent boiling, until the desired consistency is reached (hours).
With enough time, heat, and sometimes sugar and pectin, nearly anything can be turned into jelly! Apple rinds, peels, and cores have their own pectin and make a beautiful syrup or jelly. Corn cobs boiled down and filtered to produce a clear liquid becomes a scrumptious jelly. Mint leaves. Clover. Even your favorite teas!
Food Freezing Tips
Pour liquids, such as soup bases and gravies, into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop out the frozen cubes and store them in zip-lock freezer bags for a quick recipe addition.
Freeze entire dinners in individual serving-sized containers for a quick lunch or dinner. We love doing this after big holiday meals! Turkey, potatoes, gravy, veggies, wild rice... everything in single-serve portions in a single container... Lovely convenience!