PRESERVING THE SEASON’S BOUNTY
Preserving the Season: Winter
Ahhh…winter in Southern California is mild and can bring many warm days! It also is the season for our ‘cold season’ crops, many of which can be preserved by canning, freezing or dehydrating. Here is a list of some of the popular winter crops with links to how they can be safely preserved:
Citrus - although lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus are commonly eaten fresh, there are several food preservation methods suitable for citrus fruit. You can preserve them to enjoy beyond the growing season by dehydrating, canning, making marmalade, and freezing.
- Drying orange peel and lemon peel is a common way to preserve the flavor of citrus fruit. You can dry the entire rind or just the zest (the outer colored portion, without the white pith) using a solar dryer, conventional oven, or food dehydrator. The white pith is bitter, so removing the zest or colored portion usually results in better flavor.
- Drying sliced oranges and lemons or any other type of citrus (such as grapefruit, lime, or tangerine) is another way to preserve citrus fruit flavor for use in a variety of recipes. Dry 1⁄4-inch slices with or without the rinds, as desired. Some rinds contribute more bitter flavors than others. Try dried citrus fruit slices in recipes such as Asian orange beef stir-fry, Italian lemon chicken, as a salad garnish, baked into a dessert tart, or simply to flavor a pitcher of ice water.
- Candied orange peel is a drying method that simmers sliced wheels or strips of orange peel in simple syrup before drying. To remove bitter flavors, blanch the wheels or strips of rind in 1 to 3 changes of boiling water, before simmering in syrup. Sugar-infused dried fruit creates chewy, sweet candied citrus fruit for snacks or garnish.
Persimmons – Persimmon varieties can be astringent (Hachiya) or non-astringent. The non-astringent/(Fuyu varieties are wonderful fresh in salads, salsas, smoothies or just sliced with a sprinkle of lime juice. This wonderful fruit can be dehydrated and frozen. Both Hachiya and Fuyu varieties can be frozen by simply putting them whole or cut for future use into a freezer container/bag.
Avocados - avocados are best eaten fresh. If you must preserve them, freezing is the only recommended method.
From the Helpline
Ever wonder what questions other Food Preservers ask? Here are answers to commonly asked questions....