Preserving Green Beans

Preserving Green Beans

Ah, the mighty green bean. 

It’s one of the quickest – and most prolifically – growing vegetables you will find. Although green beans are packed with tons of health benefits, including fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals, it’s easy to get sick of them over time. 

Luckily, there are several methods of preserving green beans at home. You will not only be able to enjoy your green beans in the off-season, but you won’t feel guilty about not being able to eat them all up now, too. 

Freezing Green Beans

One of the most common methods of preserving green beans is to freeze them. In fact, frozen green beans are better for you than any other type of green beans (with the exception of raw beans, of course). 

This is because freezing the beans helps to preserve their nutrition content even when they need to be stored for a long period of time. 

To make sure you are storing highly nutritious beans, you need to blanch them first. This sounds complicated but is actually quite easy. 

To blanch your beans, simply dunk them in boiling water. Let them boil for about three minutes, and then freeze them – this will ensure that they retain their color, texture, and vitamins after they have been frozen. 

You can freeze your green beans after blanching by simply stashing them in freezer-safe containers. However, if you don’t want them to clump together, I recommend freezing them individually on a cookie sheet first. Once they have frozen (this will take about 12 hours) you can put the separate beans in a container and freeze in bulk.

Make Dilly Beans

Dilly beans, also known as pickled green beans, are delicious to eat fresh out of the jar. They can also be added to salads or stir-fries for a unique spin on a classic dish. 

Dilly beans can be made out of yellow, purple, and of course, green varieties of beans. You can use sprigs of fresh dill or dried dill – whatever you have on hand will work. 

Here’s a quick recipe for making dilly beans.

Sterilize your canning jars and leave them in hot water until you are ready to use them. Then, fill a water bath canner with water and bring it to a boil. 

While you are doing this, you should wash and trim your beans. Pack them into pint jars. Then, add ⅓ tsp crushed red pepper, 12 tsp mustard seeds, and ½ tsp dill seeds. You can also add some garlic to taste. 

Combine equal parts (5 cups of each is recommended) vinegar and water in a large saucepan. Once this has heated, add ½ cup of pickling salt. Once the mixture has been borough tot a mobile, you can pour the liquid over the beans, allowing half an inch of headspace to remain. 

You will process the jars in a water bath canner for about 5 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and allow them to cool for 24 hours. 

Don’t want to go through the entire time-consuming process of water bath canning your green beans? Not a problem. You can just stick them in the refrigerator instead. Just make sure you let them sit for at least 24 hours so that they develop their full flavor first. 

Ferment Your Green Beans

Fermenting green beans is a fantastic method of preserving green beans that will serve you well. Fermented green beans are rich in nutritious probiotics, and you really don’t need any fancy equipment to get started. 

All you need to do is dissolve two teaspoons of non-iodized salt in three cups of filtered water. After washing your green beans, pack them into a canning jar. Make sure they are packed in tightly. Pour your brine over the top of the green beans, ensuring that they are totally covered. 

Cover up the jar loosely with a lid, placing it on a tiny plate to catch the overflow. Leave the jar at room temperature for up to two days. After about 24 hours has gone by, you’ll notice that there are some bubbles in your jars. You might also notice a refreshing sour scent. This is a good sign that the beans are fermenting!

After the beans have begun to ferment, you can transfer the jar to your refrigerator. Generally, the door is the best spot as it will allow a bit of warmth to reach your beans. 

Fermented beans are generally ready about one or two weeks after you make them. You can also store them for the long term  – just make sure you move the jar to a cooler section of the refrigerator. 

Dry Green Beans

You can easily dry green beans in order to preserve them without refrigeration or freezing. Also known as “leather britches” in the southern portions of the United States, dried green beans keep indefinitely and can be dehydrated easily. 

In fact, when they are rehydrated, they taste not unlike canned or frozen green beans. 

To dry your beans, start by washing them and snapping off the ends. You don’t have to blanch them before drying, but it does help retain their color. Otherwise, they will develop a darker color as they dry. 

Using a large needle, like an embroidery needle, along with some unflavored dental floss, thread a green bean. You can do this by piecing it about one inch down from the end of the bean. You will make a strand of green beans, threading them on with about half an inch of space between each. 

The goal here is to make it so that air can reach all the surfaces of every bean. When you reach the end of the string, remove the needle and tie a knot. 

You will hang this bean strand somewhere in which you can get good air circulation on all sides. Once the beans are dry, they will have shrunk quite a bit. Their texture will be comparable to leather, a bit brittle in nature. Usually, it takes about a week for your beans to dry. 

Once they’ve dried completely, you can put them in clean glass jars and stash them in a cool, dark place. To use them, you will need to pour hot water over them and allow them to soak. This will help them rehydrate and soften. 

Make Bloody Mary Green Beans

Most Bloody Mary beverages have celery as the stirring mechanism. Switch things up with your green beans! You can easily make stirring sticks for your Bloody Mary with green beans. 

To make Bloody Mary beans, you should trim and wash your beans. Place a teaspoon of celery and mustard seeds into a pint-sized canning jar along with a few black peppercorns. Once the spices are in the jar, add your beans. Layer them and then add a clove of garlic, a dash of chile pepper, and some fresh thyme. 

Add more beans until they are all packed tightly together. Then, add a mixture of hot sauce, water, salt and vinegar to a stockpot. Bring it to a boil and then pour it over the beans. Leaving an inch of headspace, totally cover the beans. 

Wipe the rim of your jar with a cloth to make sure there is no debris on the ring of the jar. Screw on your canning lids and store the jars in the refrigerator for two months. If you want longer storage, you can process the beans in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. 

Canning Green Beans

Green beans are considered low acid vegetables, which means you must process them in a pressure canner if you do not add any vinegar. Water bath canning raw, unprocessed green beans is not safe, as the temperatures don’t get high enough to eliminate the likelihood of botulism contamination. 

Luckily, canning green beans in a pressure canner is incredibly easy. You will need to wash and sterilize your jars and lids as you would if you were using a water bath canner. 

While you are doing this, you can also be preparing your green beans they should be washed and trimmed so that they can fit into the jars. 

Raw pack your string beans into hot jars, making sure you leave about an inch of shed space. If you want to add salt, you can, but this is not mandatory. 

Boil several cups of water on the stove. Once it’s hot and boiling, you can ladle it over your beans, allowing for about one inch of headspace.

Once the jars are full and the lids are fastened securely, you can move them to the pressure canner. Once the canner is full, add more water until the jars are completely submerged.

Follow your canner’s specific instructions for how long can your green beans. Usually, you will need to clean them for 0 minutes at 10 lbs pressure. Depending on your altitude and the manufacturer of your canner, you may need to add more or less time. 

Why Preserving Green Beans is the Way to Go

There’s no reason to throw out all of your extra green beans! Instead, consider one of these easy methods of preserving them. With a little bit of work now, you’ll be enjoying green beans all throughout the cold winter months. 

After all, there’s nothing better than green bean casserole on Thanksgiving Day, is there?

Preserving Cherry Tomatoes

Preserving Cherry Tomatoes

When you’re flipping through the seed catalogs, your eye might instantly jump to the images of the boisterous, hefty Beefsteak tomatoes. You know – the tomatoes whose images alone seem to take up half the page! 

But the real star of the show is the cherry tomato. Tiny and unassuming, this little fruit is the real star of summer. 

If you were lucky enough to haul in a bumper crop from your garden this year, you might be wondering what in the world you could possibly do to preserve all those cherry tomatoes! Luckily, there are some easy methods of preserving cherry tomatoes that can help you make quick work of putting these adorable little gems up for winter.

Flash Freeze Them

One of the easiest ways to preserve cherry tomatoes is to freeze them, but a pitfall that many people experience is that, once they are thawed, they clump together in messy gobs. 

A simple way to avoid that is to freeze them on cookie sheets first. There is virtually no prep work involved – all you need to do is layer the tomatoes on cookie sheets (try not to let them touch, but if you do, you should be able to pull them apart later). 

Place the sheets in the freezer. Leave them there for twelve hours or so  – or until they are solid. Once they’ve hardened, you can funnel them into quart jars or into other freezer-safe containers. You’ll be able to pull them out one by one when you’re ready to use them! 

Dehydrating Cherry Tomatoes

Another easy method of preserving cherry tomatoes is to dehydrate them. To do this, you will need a dehydrator. After washing your tomatoes, slice them in half and place them with the sliced side up in the dehydrator. You can process them for up to 24 hours at 135 degrees.

Make Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes have all the best flavors of summer, and a tray of roasted tomatoes is one of the best ways to use up your crop of cherry tomatoes. To do this, all you need to do is add a few handfuls of unpeeled garlic cloves and thyme to a baking tray with your tomatoes. Pop them in the oven for two and a half hours at 225 degrees. 

Make Tomato Jam

Tomato jam is a classic homesteading recipe that works well with all kinds of tomatoes but is especially beautiful with cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes tend to have smaller seeds than other varieties, which makes them perfect for making jam. 

The classic tomato jam recipe calls for five pounds of tomatoes and three and a half cups of sugar. You’ll also add eight tablespoons of bottled lemon or lime juice, a couple of teaspoons of ginger, and cinnamon, cloves, salt, and red chili flakes, to taste. You will combine all of the ingredients in a stockpot, bringing it to a boil. You will then simmer for up to an hour and a half. Once the jam has cooked down, you can pack it into your jars, leaving about ¼ inch of headspace. You will process the jars in a water bath canner for twenty minutes. 

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

A batch of pickled cherry tomatoes is one of the most unique ways you can use up your bumper crop of these fruits. Once completed, you can either can your pickled tomato in a water bath canner or let them remain in the refrigerator. 

It should be noted, however, that pickled cherry tomatoes are often too delicate to be canned and can become very soft when exposed to that kind of heat. However, it can still be done if you don’t mind a softer consistency in your cherry tomatoes!

The recipe includes a brine made out of ½ cup of vinegar of choice (most people use apple cider vinegar along with ½ cup of filtered water, two teaspoons of pickling salt, and two teaspoons of sugar. You can also add spices like coriander, mustard, and red chili flakes to taste. Once you brine has been brought to a boil and allow to simmer, you can pour it over the tomatoes in your jars. 

Make a Quick Tomato Sauce

It can be more tedious to make tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes than it is with larger varieties, but rest assured, it can still be done! All you need to do is add four tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet, along with some thinly sliced garlic and your other spices of choice (like basil, salt, and black pepper). 

You will need about four cups of cherry tomatoes, too. Add them to the pan once the oil has heated. Smash the tomatoes down as you stir, cooking and smashing until you reach the desired consistency and texture. Keep in mind that a cherry tomato sauce might be a little thinner than what you’re used to, but it will still taste fantastic ver pasta! Plus, it can be frozen or canned for later use, if you’d like.

Let Them Sun Dry

If you live in a location that is naturally dry and sunny, you’re in luck – you can make your own sundried tomatoes! To do this, simply spread the tomatoes out on baking sheets after cutting them in half. Lay the trays out in the sun. They will dry naturally over the course of a few days – that is, if the birds don’t get to them before you do! 

Make a Cherry Tomato Confit

Cherry tomato confit tastes great on toast, salads, and even pasta- it’s even a great snack when eaten fresh out of the jar!

To do this, all you need to do is toss some cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, and thyme into a baking dish. Cover the whole mixture with olive oil before baking for 45 minutes. Once the mixture has cooled, you can store it in a glass jar for several weeks before it goes bad.

Whip Up Some Tomato Juice

Making tomato juice is one of the most often overlooked methods of preserving cherry tomatoes. All you need to do is wash your tomatoes before putting them in a stockpot. Cook them until they are thoroughly heated. You don’t need to add liquid – as long as you are on hand to smash the tomatoes down as they begin to break down, they will produce their own liquid.

Bring your tomatoes to a boil, simmer for about five minutes afterward. Put them through a strainer and then return the liquid to the pot, bringing to a boil and repeating the simmering process once more. You can then cool and freeze or can the juice – or drink it up immediately!

Preserving Cherry Tomatoes in Olive Oil

Slow roasted cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil are the perfect complement to a slice of crusty bread and a thick slab of cheese. Plus, they’re easy to make and use up about a pint of cherry tomatoes per jar – not too shabby. 

You’ll just need the tomatoes, of course, along with ¾ cup of olive oil, three sprigs of thyme, six basil leaves, three cloves of garlic, and some salt and pepper to taste. 

After roasting the tomatoes, tossed in oil and herbs,  in the oven at 225 degrees for about two and a half hours, you’ll cover them completely in olive oil in sealed jars. Store them in the refrigerator for no more than 18 days, ensuring that they remain totally covered by the oil in the jars.

Why Preserving Cherry Tomatoes is a Smart Choice

Cherry tomatoes, like all other types of tomatoes, have tons of vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and energetic. Unlike other types of tomatoes, though, cherry tomatoes are incredibly easy to snack on – you can easily get your servings of produce in without even realizing what you are doing!

With so many methods of preserving cherry tomatoes at your disposal, why wouldn’t you want to give a try? 

Preserving Carrots

Preserving Carrots

Were you lucky enough to experience a bountiful carrot harvest this season? If so, you might feel overwhelmed with all the orange in your kitchen. Luckily, carrots don’t have to be eaten or preserved right away – they will keep for quite some time without you having to do anything at all. 

But if you want to keep your harvest crunchy and tasty long into the winter months, there are several methods of preserving carrots that you need to know about. 

Leave Them Right in the Ground

The easiest and simplest method of preserving carrots is to…do nothing at all? 

You read that right. 

You can keep your carrots fresh simply by leaving them in the ground. If you live in a cooler climate, you won’t have to worry about keeping your carrots fresh. Simply cover your rows with a dense layer of mulch, like leaves or straw, before adding a layer of plastic (a tarp will work wonders for this). 

After covering with the tarp, go ahead and cover with another layer of mulch. Your rows will stay nice and insulated so the soil doesn’t thaw between snowstorms and freezing temperatures. Keep in mind that, if you live in a  warmer climate, you won’t have to add quite as many layers of insulation. This method works especially well for raised beds but can be done for ground-planted carrots, too. 

One caveat to this method of preserving carrots is that if you get quite a bit of snow, it might be a bit inefficient to store your carrots in this manner. If shoveling two to three feet of snow out of the way just to grab a few carrots for your risotto doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, you might want to pass on this method. 

Store Them Indoors

If you have a root cellar (or in some cases, even just a basement) you don’t need to do much to preserve your carrots, either. All you need to do is pack the carrots into boxes after trimming the greens. Make sure you don’t wash them first- the dirt will help preserve them. 

Your carrots will need to stay at temperatures just above freezing – think 35 degrees – with lots of humidity to keep them moist. When stored in this way, they can last up to six months! This method also follows a similar pattern if you want to store carrots in your refrigerator. They won’t last quite as long (usually only about two months) but it can still add some shelf life to your tubers. 

Can Your Carrots

Canning carrots is one of the most popular methods of preservation. Not only will it avoid the need to take up valuable freezer space, but it will also make it easier for you to keep them for several months or even years, in some cases! 

Note that you must pressure can carrots – water bath canning does not work for carrots since they are low-acid vegetables. Pressure canning is easy to do using the raw pack method. 

To do this, start by washing, peeling, and trimming your carrots, washing once more after the peeling and trimming process. You can slice them or leave them whole depending on the size of the carrots and of your jars. 

Pick your carrots into hot jars, allowing for about one inch of headspace when you add boiling water. You can add salt for taste if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. You will process pints for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, and quarts for 30 minutes at the same pressure. You may need to adjust for altitude if you live at a higher elevation. 

Pickle Your Carrots

You can also pickle your carrots if you don’t want to pressure can them! Adding vinegar will make it possible for you to safely preserve your carrots in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner. 

For about four pint jars of pickled carrots, you will need 3 ½ lbs of peeled, washed, and trimmed carrots. Your pickling solution will consist of five and a half cups of white distilled vinegar, a cup of water, two cups of sugar, and the following spices: 

  • 2 tsp pickling salt
  • 8 tsp mustard seed
  • 4 tsp celery seed 
  • Other spices, to taste

You will combine your brine in a stockpot, bringing it to a boil before adding your carrots. You will then boil them for about ten minutes, or until they are partially cooked. Once the brine is ready, you will pack your carrots into hot jars, leaving about an inch of headspace. You will process your jars for about fifteen minutes in a water bath canner, adjusting for altitude as needed.

Freezing Carrots

Freezing carrots is another easy way to take care of them for the winter. All you need to do is peel, trim, and wash your carrots. Slice them to your desired size before blanching for three minutes. Once cool, the carrots can be placed into plastic bags or other freezer-safe containers. 

After being frozen, carrots will taste great – no different than if you had canned them. They might be a bit softer than if you were eating them raw, but they still are fantastic in soups, stir-fries, casseroles, and other dishes. 

Freeze Your Carrots in Meals

One of the easiest ways to preserve your carrots is to freeze them once they’re already inside a meal. Most casseroles or pasta sauces taste great with carrots added in – and if you take the time now to make these foods and freeze them, you’ll have much less work to do later on. 

Dehydrate Carrots

Dehydrating is another simple method of preserving carrots. Dehydrated carrots are an acquired taste, but taste great in stews and everybody’s favorite carrot recipe – carrot cake!

To dehydrate your carrots, peel, wash, and slice them before blanching for three minutes. Then, you should dry them at 125 degrees for three to four hours – or until they are barely brittle. If you don’t have a dehydrator, keep in mind that you can easily use your oven instead!

Fermented Carrots

Fermented carrots not only taste good but are good for you, too. Although they don’t keep for quite as long as dehydrated, frozen, or canned carrots, they add a boost of beneficial probiotics to your diet – plus, they make for a great side dish. Here’s a recipe for fermented carrots for you to try!

Don’t Forget About the Greens

While you’re hard at work preserving all of your carrots, don’t forget about the tops! There are plenty of ways you can preserve carrot tops, too – which is a great way to use up the entire plant and to allow very little of your harvest to go to waste. 

Carrot tops taste great when eaten raw in salads – like the root part of the carrot, they can also be frozen or dehydrated, too. 

Why You Need to Start Preserving Carrots 

Carrots are one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat – and despite what your mother may have told you, they’re not just good for your eyes! While it’s true that carrots contain tons of vitamin A, which is good for your ocular health, carrots also have a ton of other vitamins as well as lots of fiber and other minerals that can help regulate your blood sugar. 

If you’re not a carrot-lover yet, chances are you will be once you try out one of these many methods of preserving your carrots at home!

Preserving Basil

Preserving Basil

There’s nothing better than garden-fresh basil. Unfortunately, basil is not a perennial in most areas of the world, so if you’re relying on a summer bounty to get you through a winter’s worth of sauces, soups, and stir-fries, you are going to have to come up with some creative ways of preserving basil. 

If your days of fresh summer basil have come to an end – but you have a massive stockpile of this fragrant green herb lying around – here are some ways you can preserve it. 

Freeze Basil Leaves

This is perhaps the easiest and most low-maintenance method of preserving basil around. All you need are some freezer-safe containers and, of course, your freezer. Just know that the leaves will shrink as they freeze, so you will be left with slightly less basil per cup than you would if you were cooking with fresh,  unfettered basil. 

To freeze your basil, start by blanching it. This will allow it to retain its flavor and color. Boil some water and blanch your basil leaves for just two seconds (make sure the stems are removed before you do this to make your life easier later on). 

Then, transfer the leaves to an ice bath. Strain them to remove any excess moisture. Dry them completely before storing them in a freezer safe-container, like a plastic dish or even vacuum-sealed bags to save space. 

If you have quite a few leaves to preserve, you can always separate multiple layers with parchment paper  – this way, whenever you want to use some basil leaves in a recipe, all you have to do is open the container, pull them out, and put the container back in the freezer. 

Pureeing and Freezing Basil Leaves

This method of preserving basil adds a step to the last tip, but it’s definitely worth it. If you like to have fresh pesto or even basil-based salad dressings around, this is a must-try recipe for you. 

Start by removing the basil leaves from the stem, just as you would if you were freezing whole basil. Wash and dry the leaves to remove any trace of dirt or other contaminants. Then, puree your leaves in a food processor or blender. Add a bit of olive oil to create a smooth, silky consistency. You will want to add this at a ratio of about one tablespoon of oil per one cup of basil. 

Next, freeze your basil. You can freeze an entire container of it if you’d like, but an easier (and more convenient) way to do this is to freeze sections in an ice cube tray. This will allow you to pull out small chunks, later on, to be used in your recipes. 

Dehydrated Basil

Most people rely on this trusted method of preserving basil because it is the most familiar. Home cooks often use small jars of dehydrated herbs not only because they last longer, but because they are inexpensive and often more potent. 

To dry your own basil at home, you have several options. You can use a food dehydrator (in which your basil will be allowed to dry for about three hours at the lowest temperature) or you can dry basil in your oven. 

Start by removing the leaves from the stem and then washing and drying them completely. Set your oven to the lowest possible temperature before placing the leaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. This sheet should then be placed on the top rack of the oven. 

Bake your basil for three hours or until the leaves have become dry and crumbly. They may lose a bit of their color, but that’s nothing to worry about. Let the basal cool after removing it from the oven, then crumble the leaves and store them in airtight containers. 

Finally, basil can also be dried by hanging it in a bunch. This can result in the loss of some flavor in your basil, but it’s a good option if you don’t thaw a ton of time, space, or resources. You will want to use basil that has not flowered yet, as this has the most flavors. 

Start by cutting the leaves from the stems. Leave a small length of the stem at the bottom of each leaf to help you bundle the leaves together. Make sure the leaves are washed and dried before you begin. 

Gather up the leaves in bunches, tying them together at the stems with a twist tie or rubber band – you may have to make more than one bundle if you have a ton of leaves.  Hang the bundles from a hook or a tack inserted into the wall to dry. They don’t have to be hung in the kitchen but you do need a spot that has well-circulating air and moderate amounts of sunlight. 

Your basil will need to be hung for about two weeks, after which time it will be ready for use.

Salting Basil

You can even preserve basil by salting it! This method of preservation won’t last forever, but it’s a good way to keep basil fresh into the future. To do this, trim and wash your basil as you normally would. 

Then, layer your leaves into a large crock, sprinkling a light layer of salt over every layer of basil leaves. Do this until you have added all of the leaves. Press down after every layer to remove the excess air.

Leave about two inches of headspace at the top of the crock. Press down firmly and add some more salt to keep everything compact. You should then store the jar in a cool, dry, dark space. 

Basil Vinegar

You can even make your own basil vinegar, which will serve as an excellent salad dressing later in the year. If you only have a few leaves to use up, it’s a great alternative to taking up space in your freezer. 

All you have to do is place a few sprigs of basil into a glass jar filled with vinegar. Let the jar sit at room temperature for two weeks, and shake it every couple of days. You can add other spices, too, such as red pepper flakes, to give the mixture some added flavor. Keep in mind that this same process can also be done with olive oil instead of vinegar, which will also make it perfect for salads and stir-fries.

Do I Need to Spend Time Preserving Basil?

Keep in mind that basil will store short-term in the refrigerator, too. It will usually last for a few days – if you put the sprigs in water that can help prolong its shelf life in there, too. 

However, with all of these methods for preserving basil at home, why wouldn’t you want to? It’s so easy to store basil for the rest of the season that every home cook should consider doing it. Or, if you’d rather use fresh basil year-round, you can always consider growing your own windowsill herb garden, too!

Preserving Bananas Is Easy With These 9 Genius Ideas

Is there anything better than a nice, ripe banana? I don’t think so!

But if you live where I live – in one of the colder areas of the world to say the least, and one where bananas definitely do not grow in the wild – you need to get creative when it comes to storing those tasty fruits past their normal period of ripeness. 

Even if you’re lucky enough to grow bananas on your own property, you may feel overwhelmed with an inundation of the fruits come harvest time. 

Interested in preserving your own bananas at home? Here are several ways to do it so that you can continue to enjoy these tasty, nutritious fruits long past their harvest. 

How to Store Fresh Bananas Properly

There are several studies out there arguing whether bananas ripen quicker together or separately – and although the difference is subtle, the truth of the matter is that bananas left attached in an original bunch tend to ripen more slowly. 

Therefore, you should avoid separating your fresh bananas whenever possible. This will help them last a bit longer without requiring you to do anything else! You should, however, always store your bananas at room temperature – there’s no need to refrigerate them.

Hanging the fruit is another good rule of thumb.t his will allow air to circulate around the fruit and will prevent bruises from developing as the fruits essentially crush each other. 

If you can’t hang your bananas once you bring them inside, at least wrap the ends of the stems in plastic. This will release the escape of ethylene gas – something that you must do because as the fruits release more gas, they will ripen more quickly.

You can store your fresh bananas with other fruits if you don’t plan on preserving them, but remember that storing bananas with ripened fruit will hasten their ripening while storing them will unripened fruit will slow it down.

Store in the Refrigerator 

You should try to avoid storing unripened bananas in the refrigerator. Not only will it slow down the ripening process, but it can impact their final flavor and texture. 

However, if your fruits have ripened and you aren’t quite ready to eat them – yet don’t have time to try one of these other methods of preserving bananas – then you should put them in a plastic bag that can be sealed and stored in the refrigerator. This will give you at least one more week before the bananas need to be eaten up. 

Wrap in Plastic 

We already mentioned the benefits of wrapping the stems of your bananas in plastic, but did you know plastic wrap is another great method of preserving bananas all on its own?

If you have a leftover piece of a banana or even a whole banana whose stem and peel is no longer intact, consider covering the open pieces with plastic wrap. You may want to store it in the refrigerator, as it will get mushy and attract fruit flies otherwise. You can use the peel in your garden.

Store Slices

Have some banana slices to store? Don’t worry! You can either flash freeze them (which we’ll detail below) or you can cover the slices in a bit of lemon juice, vinegar, or pineapple. When stored in the refrigerator this way, the lemon juice or other additives will help prevent browning and keep them fresher for longer.

If you store your bananas in some kind of acid, remember that you don’t necessarily need to saturate the banana. This will make your banana taste sour. Instead, provide the fruits with a light coating-  usually, a gentle brushing is all you need. 

If you find that the acid flavor is still overwhelming strong, keep in mind that you can use sweeter – yet still highly acidic – alternatives such as apple juice or pineapple juice. You can also simply soak the bananas in a water solution that is made with crushed vitamin C tablets.

Make Banana Leather

Who doesn’t love those roll-up fruit leathers that we feed to little kids all the time? You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy the taste of fruity banana goodness! All you need is a dehydrator. 

To make your own banana leather, you will need to process your bananas into a puree. You can elect to combine them with other ingredients, like Nutella, strawberries, or cinnamon if you so choose. Once you’ve pureed the mixture, you will roll out the blend on the trays for your food dehydrator (layered in parchment paper to reduce mess and cleanup, if you’d like). 

Once in the dehydrator, it will take about three or four hours until your leathers are complete. They will then last for several months without any refrigeration or special storage.

Flash Freezing 

Freezing is a great method of preserving bananas. Not only will it free up space on your kitchen counter, but there’s nothing more delicious than a frozen banana in the dog days of summer. 

Always freeze bananas with the peels removed. It is very difficult – if not impossible! – to peel bananas when they are frozen, and doing so after they have thawed can be even more challenging. 

You can throw them whole into a freezer-safe container, or you can flash freeze them first. To flash freeze, peel the bananas and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer for twelve hours, then remove the bananas and place them in a bag. This way, they won’t stick together. 

Once placed into a freezer-safe bag, your frozen bananas will stay good for up to one to three months. They can be eaten frozen or consumed in dishes like smoothies, banana bread, and other recipes. 

Use a Solar Oven 

If you’re lucky enough to have a solar oven, here’s a great way to preserve your bananas (you can build your own with this article). It can take some time to dehydrate bananas using the solar oven, but really all you have to do is slice the bananas into slices before putting them inside. Then, you’ll have an unlimited number of banana slices to last you long into the future months!

Dehydrate Them

Don’t have a solar oven? No problem. If you read our article about preserving apples, you might know that dehydrating fruit is a great option. You can easily dehydrate bananas using a regular oven or a home dehydrator, too. 

Dehydrating bananas is a great way of preserving them because they can be stored for up to a year and don’t take up any freezer space. Plus, dehydrated bananas taste great as a snack while hiking, mixed into trail mix, or even just eaten by themselves while you’re relaxing on the couch at home! 

Whether you dehydrate your bananas in a kitchen dehydrator or do this in the oven, make sure you slice your bananas evenly. This will help you make sure they can all be done at the same time. It’s not a bad idea to put a bit of lemon juice on the banana slices first, too, as this can prevent browning. 

If you use a dehydrator, you will need to process them for about six hours. They will be crisp and crunchy by the time they are done. 

If you choose to do this in your oven, you should preheat your oven to 225 and lay your banana slices on a baking sheet layered in parchment paper. Try not to let them touch. You will bake the slices for three years, turning them every thirty minutes so that they cook evenly. 

When they are done being dehydrated, there will be no moisture left. You can store them in an airtight container.

Bake Your Bananas

When all else fails, don’t worry – there are still plenty of methods of preserving bananas in recipes, too! From banana bread to banana muffins, there are all kinds of options out there for you to use up these tasty (albeit expiring) treats.

Canned Bananas

Canning bananas is not recommended for safety reasons (bananas produce a puree-like consistency that is generally regarded as unsafe for home canning). However, that’s not to say that you can’t include bananas in your favorite canner-approved banana recipes! Some of the best include banana jam and banana chutney. You can learn more about canning fruit in this article.

Try a Variety of Methods of Preserving Bananas at Home

Depending on your taste, space, and time preferences and availability, you may find that you don’t love all of these methods of preserving bananas equally. A banana that has been frozen will taste quite different from one that has been dehydrated!

As a result, you should experiment with the many methods to find the ones that you like best. Bananas are not only inexpensive to buy or grow, but they’re also good for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you are going to store them if you find yourself lucky enough to have a ton at home – these methods are all great options for you to try!

18 Different Ways To Preserve Apples

18 Different Ways To Preserve Apples

Whether you have apple trees growing right on your own property or you just scored a killer deal on a bushel at your favorite farmstand, knowing how to preserve apples is an essential skill. 

An apple a day keeps the doctor away – but for most people, apples are hard to come by during the winter months! 

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of all of the different methods of preserving apples so that you can have these tasty, nutritious staples on hand at all times. 

Here are some of the best strategies so that you can try your own hand at preserving apples this year!

Storing Apples

Many people don’t bother with any other methods of preserving apples because these fruits are so easy to store. Apples hold up well in a root cellar or another method of cold storage – you won’t have to do anything except put them in a wooden crate in a cold, dark location. 

When provided with the proper conditions (usually, temperatures above freezing but less than 55 degrees), apples will last for several months to a year in root cellars or cold storage. 

Canning Apples 

There are several different ways you can preserve apples by canning, either by canning them whole or in slices. You can add sugar or not – the choice is up to you. Here’s a good recipe for canning apples that you should know about. 

Make Applesauce

If you decide to preserve your apples by making applesauce, don’t worry – you don’t have to peel and cut them if you don’t want to. Instead, you can steam your apples and then process them by running them through a sieve. This will catch all the peelings and seeds. 

Once your applesauce is complete, you can always can it in a water bath canner. That way, you’ll have plenty of applesauce to last you all season. Alternatively, you can just stash it in the freezer.

Make Apple Butter

Making apple butter is a classic method of preserving apples. It goes nicely on bread and pancakes, and it’s pretty easy to make. Here are some instructions for you to follow. 

Whip Up Some Apple Pie Filling

If you like baking apple pies, you no doubt know the frustration that arises when you are preparing to make a pie and alas…find that you have no apples in the pantry. Preserving apples by whipping up some apple pie filling is the best way to prevent this tragedy!

Or, you know…you can always eat the apple pie filling out of a jar with a spoon! 

To do this, whip up your favorite apple pie recipe as you normally would, combining about 12 cups of apples, 2 ¾ cups of sugar, ¾ cup of Clear Jel, and your favorite spices. You will need to can the filling in a water bath canner, but if you don’t want to go through all the hassle of canning it, you can just store it in the refrigerator or freezer instead. 

Make Apple Jelly

Apple jelly is another classic recipe for preserving apples. Did you know that you can make it with just two ingredients -apples and some natural sugar?

Here’s a recipe for making apple jelly. You’ll love how it tastes, plus, it will last for years in storage. 

Freeze Your Apples

You can easily freeze whole or sliced apples to be used later on in baking – or eaten as is. You can freeze them by themselves or with a bit of added sugar. 

To do this, wash, peel, and core your apples. Add ½ tsp of ascorbic acid if you are worried about browning. Then, place your apples in freezer-safe containers, making sure you label and date them. 

If you want to prevent your apples from sticking together, you can always flash freeze them first, leaving space between each piece as you freeze them on a tray. Once the slices have frozen, usually within three hours, you can pack them into a container and not have to worry about them clumping together. Frozen apples last about a year in storage.

Freeze Apples in Syrup

If you want to have some apples in syrup around for a quick snack later on, this is the perfect way to do it. All you need to do is dissolve 2 ½ cups of sugar in 4 cups of warm water, mixing until you have a clear solution. Then, you’ll pour the syrup over your washed and sliced apples, adding a bit of ascorbic acid powder to prevent the apples from browning. 

You can put the mixture into containers, adding just enough syrup to cover the apples and leaving about ½ inch of headspace. That’s all there is to it!

Make Apple Pectin

Like to can? You can make your own pectin with apples! Apples are high in pectin and a DIY apple pectin can be used in all of your own canning recipes for jam and jelly. This is why you don’t need to add any extra pectin in the apple jelly recipe we mentioned above. 

Make an Apple Chutney 

Apple chutney is a classic recipe, with chutneys of all kinds hailing back to origins in India. Usually eaten in small amounts, chutney has a ton of flavor and can easily be made with your own harvested apples. Here’s a recipe for you to try. 

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar

You can even make your own apple cider vinegar at home! Apple cider vinegar is not only shelf-stable, making good use out of all of your apples, but it also has a ton of practical uses on the homestead. 

Apple cider vinegar can be used for everything from sanitizing chicken waterers to providing a boost of probiotics to sick sheep. It’s also a great natural home cleaning agent and a fantastic cure for a sore throat. 

To make your own apple cider vinegar, you will need to ferment it. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it. 

Brew Up Some Apple Juice

Must-try recipe if you have children, apple juice is really easy to make on your own. You’ll need about 18 apples to produce 8 servings of juice, along with sugar (if you choose) and cinnamon. 

To begin, wash and core your apples to remove the seeds. Cut the apples into slices and don’t worry about peeling them. Add them to a pot and add enough water to cover them – avoid adding too much water, as this can dilute the juice. 

Boil the apples for 20 minutes. Strain out the apples and leave behind the apple mush. Repeat the process until all of your juice has been extracted. 

Make Apple Cider

You can make your own apple cider – either hard or not – with all of your extra apples, too! To do this, you will only need some apples, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and water. You’ll also need some cheesecloth and a strainer. 

After combining your ingredients, you’ll boil them, eventually mashing your apples and spices to a pulp. The cheesecloth will be used to help you strain out the rest of the juice from the brew.

Make Apple Syrup 

Just as maple syrup tastes great on your pancakes, so does apple syrup! To make your own apple syrup, all you need to do is combine 1 tbsp cornstarch, ¼ tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 ¼ cups apple juice. You can add sugar, too, to taste. Boil them in a saucepan until they reach a sticky, syrupy consistency, then serve over pancakes, waffles, or Frech toast. 

Ferment Your Apples

Did you know you can even ferment apples? You’ll add apples, some spices, and culture starter water to a quart-size mason jar, stirring together your ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. You will need to use a fermentation weight to keep the apples submerged under the brine. 

The entire process of fermentation takes about three to six weeks, depending on the temperature and yeast content of the brew. The final fermented apples will be packed with probiotics – and loaded with flavor. 

Dehydrated Apples – With or Without Cinnamon

Dehydrated apples are super easy to make. All you need to do is slice your apples into thin slices, doing your best to slice them at uniform thicknesses. This will help them dry evenly so you don’t have to worry about some being dryer and crispier than others!

After slicing your apples (you may want to place them in lemon juice while you are working on the rest), you can place them in your dehydrator. If you want, you can even add a few tablespoons of ground cinnamon on the slices to give them a nice flavor. This will also prevent premature browning so you can eliminate the lemon juice!

Once you have all of your slices ready, put them in the dehydrator, making sure you leave space between each slice for airflow. Set the dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and then dehydrate the apples until they are completely dry. Most of the time, this will take anywhere from six to 24 hours to do. 

After your apples have finished dehydrating, you can store them in a sealed container. They’ll last practically forever! 

Make Fruit Leather

If you were a kid, you likely loved the taste of storebought Fruit Roll-Ups. But you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy these homemade apple fruit leathers! They’re easy to make – all you have to do is puree the apple and combine it with another fruit or nut butter (like Nutella) of your choosing. 

Then, you’ll dehydrate the mixture for four or five hours in your food dehydrator. That’s all there is to it!

Leave Them Right on the Tree

In some cases, the best way of preserving apples is to leave them right on the tree! If you live in a mild climate, you can’t wait to harvest your apples until early November and then hang them in cloth bags on the tree. 

If you live somewhere in which you don’t receive a ton of cold weather or precipitation during the winter months, storing your apples right on the tree is a great way to keep them cold and moist. The cloth bags provide adequate airflow, and you usually can store apples in this way well into winter. 

Don’t let all of your apples go to waste! Apples are loaded with nutrients and have so many uses in the kitchen. Consider trying out one of these methods of preserving apples instead.