Who’s scared of preserving? You think that lots of thing might go wrong and you’ll end up getting a nasty food poisoning. If you’re intrigued by the magical art of preserving flavours for an entire year then follow my 11, easy, tips. Trust me: everything is gonna be fine.
#1 Perfect preserving materials : always start with intact, unspoiled surfaces. It’s ok to recycle but do not use broken or deteriorated jars. Remember to always use new metal lids or rubber seals.
#2 Fresh & healthy food for your preserves: always use perfect, unspoiled produces. Do not use frozen or defrosted food to make preserves.
#3 Washing like a maniac: always wash thoroughly hands, jars, lids. Use a soft sponge, hot water and plenty of soap. Let everything air dry on a clean tea towel. Sterilize your metal lids or rubber seals in boiling water for a few minutes. Wash carefully your vegetables as well.
#4 Don’t skip cooking before preserving: don’t skip this step since high temperatures kill off bacteria. Cook your produce as if you would eat it straight away. Don’t forget to season it properly with salt, pepper, herbs and spices.
#5 Fill the jars properly: you should fill your jars while the food is still hot, the hotter the better. Don’t fill it to the top, leave a bit of room. Remove air pockets with a sterilized chopstick.
#6 Sealing forever: before sealing clean perfectly the edge of the jar.
#7 Kill them all: place your jars in a sterilizer or in a big pot filled with boiling water where beforehand you will have placed a tea towel at its bottom to prevent the jars from cracking during the process. Boiling time depends on your preparation. For more information you could check this and this out. Bear in mind that only a pressure cooker will be able to properly sterilize non acidic food or meat or fish or poultry.
#8 Chill out: once boiled and sterilized leave your jars in the sterilizer to chill naturally. It takes some time but don’t rush it or the lids might pop open.
#9 Leap of faith: once cooled release the closing mechanism of the jar. If everything worked out the lid should stay in place and not open unless you use a lot of strength. If it is loose you have to start again the boiling process using a new metal lid or a new rubber seal.
#10 Storage: do not readjust the closing system. Store the jars in a cool, dry, clean and dark place and eat within 12 months.
#11 Spot the bad guy: if a jar’s lid is loose, opened or you spot mould on the top of your preserve something went wrong and do not eat it, toss it.