Spring gardens may be bursting with fresh peas and carrots. So how can they be preserved beyond the spring season?
Both vegetables can be preserved by canning, freezing and dehydrating. Carrots can also be pickled. Always start with fresh picked produce at the peak of maturity for best results. Wash with water. Use small sized carrots, scrub and peel to remove areas where dirt and bacteria can hide. Edible pea pod varieties are best frozen. Green and English peas can be frozen, canned or dehydrated since they are removed from the pods.
If freezing or dehydrating peas and carrots, both need to be blanched to achieve the best quality, texture, color and flavor.
For canning and freezing peas and carrots, see Preserve it Fresh, Preserve it Safe—Vegetables.
For dehydrating peas and carrots, see https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/uga_dry_fruit.pdf.
Peas and carrots must be pressure canned. Pickled carrots are water bath canned. Learn more at www.rrc.k-state.edu/preservation/index.html
Once you heat, or even soak, your vegetables in your pickling solution, pH changes start to happen. (Heating makes the interaction happen faster.) The vegetables become more acidic, which is what we want to happen in pickling. However, the pickling solution then becomes less acidic. So if your recipe is a hot pack for canned pickles, and you have heated your vegetables in the pickling solution (“brine”), then you should not use leftover brine from filling jars for another round of the recipe. The expected ratio of acid to low-acid ingredients and ultimate pH adjustment in the next recipe will not be the same.
In some recipes, sliced raw cucumbers are soaked for hours in the pickling liquid (vinegar, sugar and/or salt, for example). Then the liquid is drained off the cucumber slices into a pan. The soaked raw slices are filled into jars while the liquid is then heated and poured over them. Even though this is a raw pack in terms of filling jars, this vinegar solution had its original pH (acidity) altered from that initial soaking before it was heated and poured into jars. It should not be used again for a canned pickle recipe since it is now of unknown acidity.
Learn more at https://preservingfoodathome.com/2018/06/26/that-leftover-pickling-brine/.
Recipes for pickles with reduced sodium content are provided in Guide 6 of the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar. Use only tested recipes formulated to produce the proper acidity. While these pickles may be prepared safely with reduced or no salt, their quality may be noticeably lower. Both texture and flavor may be slightly, but noticeably, different than expected. You may wish to make small quantities first to determine if you like them.
However, the salt used in making fermented sauerkraut and brined pickles not only provides characteristic flavor but also is vital to safety and texture. In fermented foods, salt favors the growth of desirable bacteria while inhibiting the growth of others. Caution: Do not attempt to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by cutting back on the salt required.
Recent low prices for eggs have enticed shoppers to stock up on eggs. One method to preserve them is by pickling.
There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs. Pickled egg recipes are for storage in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs should never be at room temperature except for serving time, when they should be limited to no more than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F.
For tips on pickling eggs, see http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/pickled_eggs.html.
Home pickled eggs stored at room temperature have caused botulism. See www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4934a2.htm for details.
Horseradish makes its greatest growth during late summer and early autumn. For this reason, delay fall harvest until late October or early November, or just before the ground freezes.
Store horseradish roots for fresh grinding in dark plastic wrapping in the refrigerator. Protect the roots from light to prevent their turning green.
The most common way to preserve horseradish is pickled. This pungent sauce is stored in the refrigerator. For instructions see http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/pickled_horseradish.html
Make a Horseradish-Tomato Relish using this recipe from Oregon State University