Autumn preservation

The worst thing about Autumn is the bounty it brings! There is so much delicious food to harvest, eat and preserve that it can be overwhelming. We love preserving in jars but sometimes we just don’t have the time. A rushed job leaves a number of failed jars and a mild air of frustration. Our saving grace is our deep freeze. It doesn’t come close to the heritage and beauty of a row of jars of preserves but it does help with time management when a glut of produce comes in.

The one major fault of the deep freeze is plastic. Plastic is a topic I keep coming back to and one I would dearly love to conquer. The deep freeze is especially hungry for plastic, always demanding more. The small items are easy to work living in yogurt containers and such. But the big items always fight for a balance between space and plastic use, a hard plastic container can be re used but is more bulky than a single use plastic bag for space efficiency. If anyone has been able to master this western problem let me know your technique.

This year we are doing some experiments with buckets with lids on them but it looks like I will need another deep freeze to make this work because of the space they need. How many plastic bags makes up a deep freeze how much electricity use justifies saving a plastic bag from being used. These are the fundamental questions of our generation.

Drying is an excellent way of preserving, we have been drying racks of wild mushrooms on simple racks in the sun with great success. They sit well in a glass jar too. Every year I dream up fantastic drying machines that harness abundant solar energy, and are made of recycled material and look really good. Of course every year I have these visions as the Autumn bounty is flowing in and there is no time to process it all! Luckily it is all delicious and we somehow manage to eat huge amounts of berries, apples, pumpkin and such like, hopefully if we can eat enough we will be able to build up a good layer of fat to keep the winter chills away… if we were not running round harvesting and processing all the Autumn produce it might just work…