Harvest, Knowledge, Membership

Harvest preservation

Preservation allows you to preserve vegetables that don’t store well in so that you can enjoy them long after harvest time. Chemical, physical and biological preservation prevents or slows down the multiplication of microorganisms in food that causes spoilage.

„Spoilage“: Natural process initiated by microorganisms that results in chemical, physical and biochemical changes. Pest infestation is also a form of food spoilage.

How can I preserve my harvest?

Canning

  • Heating to 100° C (canning pot) or 120°C (pressure cooker) kills microorganisms
  • When cooling down, a vacuum is created, which makes the lid airtight
  • Vegetables and meat must be boiled down a 2nd time after 24 h or in a pressure cooker at temperatures above 120° C to protect against botulism
  • The most nutrients are lost in the preservation process of canning
  • Stored in a cool, dry place and protected from light, preserves can be kept for about a year

Place your canning jars (jars with sealing ring/spring clips or twist-off jars) and kitchen utensils in boiling water for 5 min and let them dry. Clean and inspect your harvest and sort out vegetables with rot. Prepare the vegetables as needed (e.g., cut, blanch) and layer them in the jar until just below the rim. Cover everything completely with salt water. Clean the rim of the jars. Seal the jars and place them in the canning pot in a way that they do not touch each other. Fill the pot with water until the level of the filling in the jars is reached and heat the pot (the exact temperature depends on the type of vegetable). Different vegetables need to be boiled down for different lengths of time, not for more than 120 min, though. Remove the clamps only when the jar has cooled down completely.

„Botulism“: Rare but serious food poisoning caused by the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum. The spores of Clostridium Botulinum occur naturally in the soil and on the skin of almost any vegetable. In the absence of oxygen in low-acid foods, the spores germinate and form toxins. Only at temperatures above 120° C are the bacterium and its spores killed. Infestation of cooked foods with the bacterium is usually not detectable, which makes it so dangerous.

Fermenting

  • During fermentation or lactic acid fermentation, lactic acid bacteria convert carbohydrates into lactic acid under exclusion of oxygen
  • Lactic acid fermentation lowers the pH value in the fermented product, which makes it more difficult for (putrefactive) microorganisms to multiply
  • Fermented vegetables are easier to digest and contain more vitamins
  • In addition, lactic acid bacteria promote your intestinal health
  • The fermented product will keep for about 4-6 months in a cool, airtight container.

Place your fermentation jars (jars with sealing ring/spring clips or swing top) and kitchen utensils in boiling water for 5 min and then let them dry. Clean and inspect your harvest and sort out vegetables with rot. Cut the harvest into pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster the fermentation process. Larger pieces produce a crunchier result. Blanch vegetables that cannot be eaten raw. Layer the vegetables in the jar and weigh them down with weights (e.g., special fermentation weights). Make a 3% brine by dissolving 30 g of natural salt in 1 l of water. Cover the fermenting material completely with the brine (!) and leave 2 cm space to the upper edge. If the jar is too full, liquid may leak out during fermentation. Seal your jars and store the vegetables at room temperature to start the fermentation process. After 2-7 days, move the ferment to a cooler place (refrigerator or cool basement). Depending on the type of vegetable and the size of the pieces, the fermented vegetables will continue to ripen here for 2-6 weeks. The longer the storage time, the more acidic the ferment becomes.

Dehydrating or Drying

  • Heat and air circulation remove as much water from vegetables that microorganisms can no longer multiply
  • Valuable vitamins and ingredients are preserved
  • Drying takes a lot of time and energy, a dehydrator is worthwhile for frequent drying
  • Stored in canning jars in a dark and dry place, the dehydrated food will keep for a maximum of 1 year, afterwards taste and aroma will diminish

Clean and inspect your harvest and sort out vegetables with rotten spots. Cut the vegetables into thin slices and blanch them briefly if necessary. Preheat the oven (set the temperature to 40-60° C depending on the type of vegetable). Place 1-2 kg of your harvest on a baking tray or wire rack lined with baking paper (in the dehydrator without baking paper). Leave the oven door a gap wide open to allow steam to escape. The dried goods are ready when you can squeeze them between two fingers and no more juice comes out. Place your canning jars (jars with sealing rings/spring clips or swing tops or twist-off jars) and kitchen utensils in boiling water for 5 min and then let them dry. Put the dried vegetables into the jars and seal them airtight.

Inserting in oil

  • For centuries vegetables have been preserved in oil
  • Today we know that this is not a safe preservation method for private households
  • The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) strongly advises against preservation in oil, since it cannot be guaranteed that a propagation by the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum can be prevented!

Hi, I’m Lisa from Permapot. I’ve been growing my own vegetables in my small urban garden and on my terrace for 4 years now. With Permapot I would like to make it easier for you to get started with urban gardening!

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