Gauteng Smallholder Gauteng Smallholder November 2011 - Page 39

IN THE KITCHEN Preserving the time-honoured way T he time of year has arrived when smallholders can start to squirrel surplus produce away for use next year when the garden is barren once more. Home preserving, of meat, vegetables, fruit, fish and even eggs, was a time- honoured activity in the kitchens of our grandparents, but many of the skills and techniques have been lost to modern generations, who now have the convenience of ready-prepared foods and factory-frozen produce in If you don!t have your grandma!s recipe book, here!s how to bottle and preserve fruit and vegetables like your ancestors their supermarket refrigera- tors. At the same time, the slow- food movement, sensitivity among consumers to concepts such as food-miles and the high-cost of bought food itself are driving modern housewives back to the old ways of their forebears. So, if you are unlucky enough not to have inherited an old recipe or preserving book from your grandmother, here are some tried and tested hints to get you on your way to enjoying a fully stocked old-style pantry. Our forebears had various methods of ensuring the preservation of the harvest: they could use sugar, smoke, vinegar or salt. Nowadays we have technology to make our work easier, with a micro- wave oven to speed up the cooking, a freezer and small dryers offering further options. Whichever method you are going to use it is most important that you use only the best fruit or vegetables. Overripe or blemished fruit or stringy old beans will not give you the best product – choose tender young produce in perfect condition. As far as recipes are con- cerned, some basic ones are given hereunder, but you can download any number from the internet. Many are to be found in the “homesteading” 37 forums (that's what Americans call smallholders). Be aware, however, of some terminology. K Canning is what American “homesteaders” call bottling K A Mason jar is that Americans call what we refer to as a Consol jar. K Many American recipes use quarts and pints for measurements. To metricate Continued on page 39