We're all guilty of it - that moment when we open the fridge to see something that's going off. Without a second thought, we throw it into the bin. Here's a simple three-step process to help you make the most of your food.
The problem is that we overestimate both how much food we need and how long the food we buy lasts. It’s hard to predict just how much food the family needs for the upcoming month, but we do have a solution for extending your food’s lifetime and not letting it go to waste.
Preserve your food to extend its shelf life
Preserving has become a popular food trend in Aussie kitchen’s with 61 per cent of those already preserving their food doing it to avoid seeing their produce go to waste.
Foods preserved at the peak of their ripeness can last for up to a year with Jarden Branded Consumables easy three-step process and Ball® brand preserving products:
1. Fill your jars with prepared food
Make sure to leave head space between the food and the rim – the opening where the lid is screwed onto the jar – as this allows for food expansion. Remove any air bubbles by sliding a spatula inside the filled jar and pressing the food against the opposite side of the jar. Screw the lid on fingertip tight – as tightly as your fingers can get it, without having to exert any extra force, as air still needs to escape in the next step.
2. Preserve the food by boiling jars
If you are preserving acidic foods like fruit or tomatoes, use the water bath preserving method.
Lower jars on a rack into a pot of simmering water and ensure they are covered by about 2.5cm of water. Cover the lid and heat the water to a steady boil. The exact boiling time will depend on the food you’ve preserved. For beginners, it’s best to follow a preserving recipe, which will offer an exact boiling time. For strawberry jams, about 10 minutes of boiling is sufficient, while tomato sauce requires as much as 35 minutes.
If you’re preserving alkaline foods like vegetables, seafood, poultry and meat, use the pressure preserving method.
Lower your jars into a pressure canner with simmering water, then cover the lid and boil for the recommended time given in your recipe. Once the jar has been boiled for long enough, turn off the heat and let it stand in water for about 5 minutes. Then remove jars from the water and let it stand to cool on a wire rack or a towel for about 12 hours.
After the jar has cooled down, press on the centre of the lid. If the jar is correctly filled, it will not flex up or down. If the lid does flex, you may need to re-process the jar.
Whole Preserved Tomatoes
You will need:
1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice (per jar)
½ Tsp salt (per jar) (optional)
2 Ball® (16oz) Glass Preserving jars (or similar variety), lids and bands
1. Prepare waterbath preserving pot. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water. Heat jars in simmering water until ready to use. Do not boil. Set lids and bands aside.
2. Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Immediately dip in cold water. Slip off skins. Trim away any green areas and cut out core. Leave tomatoes whole or cut into halves or quarters
3. Add 1 Tbsp (20 ml) to each hot jar.
4. Pack tomatoes in hot jars until space between tomatoes fills with juice leaving 1/2 inch (13 mm) head space. Add 1/2 teaspoon (2-1/2 ml) to each jar, if desired. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Centre hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
5. Process filled jars in boiling water for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when centre is pressed.