As a gardener, it is so satisfying to see the results of your hard work - an abundant garden full of fresh fruit and vegetables. But what can you do with excess harvests after you have shared as much as you can with family, friends and neighbors? After all, your harvests are perishable.
There are many great ways to preserve your excess produce.
Pickling is one of the easiest methods to preserve vegetables to enjoy over the longer term. What makes a pickle a pickle? On the most general level, pickles are foods soaked in solutions that help prevent spoilage.
There are two basic categories of pickles. The first type includes pickles preserved in vinegar, a strong acid in which few bacteria can survive. Most of the jarred cucumber pickles available in the supermarket are usually preserved in vinegar.
The other category includes pickles soaked in a salt solution to encourage fermentation - the growth of "good" bacteria that makes a food less vulnerable to "bad" spoilage-causing bacteria. A common example of a fermented pickle is kimchee.
Basic home pickling requires very little equipment and is an inexpensive way to enjoy your harvests throughout the year. The segment Pickling & Fermentation provides instructions and recipes for your expermentation.
Drying & Dehydrating
Your harvests can also be preserved by drying and dehydration. There are several different methods for drying food — you can air dry or sun dry the produce or you can use a solar or electric dehydrator, or an oven. A solar or electric dehydrator uses a built-in fan and low amounts of heat to produce a light flow of hot air over the fruit or vegetable to draw out most of their water.
Course segments provide recipes to some of Hawaii's favorite pickles, as well as instructions on different ways to dry and dehydrate produce.