Whether you buy your fruit and veggies from the store, the local farmers’ market or grow your own, you probably have a bit more than you need. So, what do you do with those cucumbers than are starting to become soft or those grapes that are attracting fruit flies? We have a few easy options that may help you prolong the life of your ripening produce.
The very thought of pickling—or canning in general—can strike fear in the hearts of some people: sanitizing pickling jars in boiling water, jars blowing their lids, the risk of botulism. This version of pickling is fast, and it pickles only enough food for those required snacking moments, which will use up the last remaining carrots, cucumbers, radishes or zucchini. In just over a day, you can have pickled vegetables that will last up to a month; however, if you smell or taste “off flavours” or you notice there’s fermentation starting to happen (you’ll see bubbles forming in the jar) discard the remaining vegetables.
Two things that should not go to waste: grapes and wine. The easy solution when your grapes are attracting bugs and going a little squishy is to put the grapes in a freezer bag and freeze them. After they’re frozen (usually takes 24 hours) put the grapes, some leftover white wine and a handful of ice cubes into a blender then whir it together. Now, you’ve got yourself a tasty wine slushee.
If you planted zucchini and now have enough to open your own stall at your local market, you may want to consider freezing them (along with your kale, beans and peas too!). However, if you straight freeze them, you run the risk of ruining the flavour, texture and even colour. The enzymes in uncooked vegetables—even when frozen—will still start the decaying process. However, if you blanch your vegetables (partially cooking them in boiling water or steam) it will kill these enzymes. Blanching time is different for every vegetable, but most will take about three minutes before you have to plunge them into ice water.