Canning, Freezing and Storing Your Fall Harvest

by Russell van Kraayenburg

Keep enjoying your homegrown vegetables long after the growing season has ended with a little Fiskars know-how.

Cucumber in jar
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Continue to reap the benefits of your garden throughout the year. Two great ways to hold on to fruits and vegetables are to make jams and pickled vegetables. Both are simple and easy and give a different twist to fruits and vegetables through fall and winter.

To Pickle Vegetables:

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1. Use your All-purpose Kitchen Shears to collect fruits or vegetables for pickling. With cucumber, trim just below the leaf to allow for regrowth. Once inside, use the Fast-prep Kitchen Shears to remove the rest of the foliage from the cucumbers. These shears limit messes because you can simply snip right over the bowl or sink.

2. Wash, rinse and dry your vegetables thoroughly. For soft, porous fruit, like cucumbers, you can leave them whole, or cut them into spears. For harder vegetables, such as parsnips or carrots, slicing them will allow the pickling process to work quicker.

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3. Add your vegetables to a large 16 ounce jar and set aside.

4. In a large pot, add the vinegar and seasonings. For a 16 ounce jar of pickled cucumbers, use 1/2 cup vinegar, one-half cup hot water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 cup chopped dill, 4 garlic cloves, chopped, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper kernels and1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds. Heat the mixture until the salt and sugar are dissolved, stirring frequently.

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5. Pour the brine into the jar with the cucumbers. Close the container and place in the refrigerator for a week. Pickled vegetables can also be left at room temperature. Be sure to store them in an air-tight container, in a cool, dry place.

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To Make Jams, Preserves, and Jellies:

1. Use your All-purpose Kitchen Shears or pruning shears to collect fruit for jam. With blackberries, I like to trim sections of the plant back to make carrying the fruit inside easier. Once inside, I use my Fast Prep Shears to remove the rest of the foliage from the berries.

2. Add your fruit (berries can be left whole; larger fruit should be chopped) to a large, heavy-duty pot with equal parts sugar, and 1% each lemon juice and pectin, by weight. Stir everything together and bring to a boil.

3. Cook the jam to 105°C (221°F). Use your spoon or an immersion blender to break up some of the berries or fruit. (For preserves, you can leave the fruit whole or in large chunks; for jellies, the fruit should be completely blended, and seeds strained.)

4. Test the jam's consistency by taking a spoonful and placing it on a plate. Put it in the freezer for a few minutes until it has cooled. If the jam is thick, it is ready. If it is still thin, continue boiling for another few minutes.

5. In the meantime, prepare your jars. You will want to sterilize them by first by washing with detergent, then rinsing well. Lastly, boil the jars in a large pot of water for five minutes.

6. Fill each jar with jam. Top with the lid and return the tightly closed jars to a large pot with boiling water. Boil for a few minutes. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Of course, you can also freeze most of your vegetables too. Simply place cleaned and dried vegetables into an airtight container, or vacuum-sealed bag. Place in the freezer and you're done. Most vegetables will last 3 months in the freezer.

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