Episode 75 preserving soft fruits

Hey guys and welcome to the veg grower podcast episode 75 title preserving soft fruit. It’s the first of August 2016.
Coming up today a few updates on the plots and then in going to discuss how I like to preserve soft fruits such as raspberries and blueberries.
So let’s start down the allotment of which I was down there yesterday the only time I’ve managed to get there all week.
Mainly I was concentrating on weeding again especially around the globe artichokes as that was full of bindweed. The globe artichokes themselves I’ve had to stake in order to keep them from going over my neighbours plot. I followed this by putting over some netting over the Brassica bed. This was in place of the cane frame I had made because the cane frame wasn’t very good and very flimsy. The new netting was purchased from Wilkinson a normally £12 I got them for £3 each. They fold up small and are held in place with tent pegs. On this weeks YouTube video I have filmed them in place so keep an eye out for that.
I then harvested more onions. These has bulked up fairly nicely now and are of a reasonable size. I’ve also harvested all the remaining garlic of which the rest was poor bulbs but always next year as I always say. I harvested a few more raspberries and the last of the gooseberries which has been a pretty good year for gooseberries. I’ve also hoed under the gooseberry bush again and I felt the soil here was a little dry and hard but a sharp hoe managed to cut any weeds off and a good water sorted the soil out.
I’ve also harvested the first of the French beans again a reasonable size but not many but very very tasty.
Now back home well as I record this show it’s some light rain of which I’m glad for but could do with a bit more rain if I’m honest as my water butts are getting empty and I need them full so I don’t resort to using tap water.
I’ve had a bit of a tidy up in the potting shed throwing away rubbing and finding space to place things especially while I have onions and garlic drying in there of which by the way are drying very nicely and intact we have started using some in the kitchen.
We are currently harvesting lots of raspberries from home every few days and I mean a good punnet full every few days plenty for smoothies and eating and also some for the freezer.
I’ve also planted a melon plant in the veg patch in a boot impress pot as I’ve discussed before. This melon plant I brought in already grown and so far it seems to be growing well with a good watering in we shall see if it manages to fruit. In the potting shed I’ve actually put the watermelon plants into bigger pots in order to grow them in here as they seem to be growing better here rather than the greenhouse.
Ok so that’s about it with the updates so let’s discuss preserving soft fruits. Now when I say soft fruits I mean fruits such as raspberries and blueberries not so much tomatoes or salad fruits which I will discuss on another podcast.
Ok my first way of preserving them is freezing a very simple method really I just simply put them in a pot or bag and freeze them in large quantities. This way does let fruit stick to each other so a way to avoid this is to first place the fruit on top of baking paper on top of a baking tray. The fruit shouldn’t be touching and place this tray in a freezer for a few hours. Once fully frozen simply place in pot in the freezer ready for use.
My next method is dehydrating, simply placing fruit in a dehydrator is the only way I do this method as solar is not going to be strong enough in my part of the world.
Dehydrating has interesting results when used on fruit as it can change the sugars in fruit. That being said this method does keep most of the nutrients found in the fruit so it is a healthy snack in many ways.
As with all methods it’s worth experimenting to get this right but if I use blueberries for example I would place the blueberries in the dehydrator and turn it on I keep a close eye but between 4 to 6 hours it’s ready which is when the fruit is dry but flexible or chewy.
Now next is one of my favourite things to do with fruit is jam and easy to do with no special equipment really needed but worth investing in. Jam forms when sugar and pectin reach a temperature that they become jelly like. Not all fruits have enough pectin in them a good example is strawberries they are very low in pectin, there are ways to work out how much pectin is in fruit but I just look up online to find out. If the fruit I’m using for this is low in pectin I generally use sugar with added pectin or I have used pectin in a bottle in the past but I find the sugar with added pectin works best.
The first jam I ever made was raspberry jam I simply took 500g of raspberries added 500g of sugar, put them on a job on a low heat until it started to soften then turned the heat up to get a rolling boil for five minutes and then I bottled in clean sterilised jars and left to cool and it really is that simple.
Another method is to make a chutney from fruit it can make some interesting chutney the mix of vinegar sugar and fruit can make some very very tasty chutney. Again it’s worth experimenting with and testing things out how about a raspberry chutney or a summer fruit chutney as some examples.
Ok so that’s the methods of preserving fruits I didn’t go too much into chutney as I have future podcasts on this methods and I want to save something back for them.
Ok so thank you for listening to this again this week I hope you’ve found it interesting if you would like to add anything let me know in the comments and we shall discuss them further.
As always please visit the website and join in with the community and so until the next podcast thank you for your time.

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