I love eating fresh produce in season and preserving all the excesses during the growing season for the rest of the year. Summer fruits and vegetables are expensive in winter and in summer there is a lot of glut and waste, especially at the small local green grocer who sells his fruit and vegetables fresh, in season and does not keep things in cool rooms for years. The supermarkets hold fresh foods over until they can hike the price so I avoid them. Why buy expensive bad produce, albeit blemish free if one can have uglier and tastier produce for less .
I do not have a glass house ( green house? ) and find it impossible to grow the vegetables that are important for Italian food like capsicum and eggplant in Dunedin. My solution is to have a good relationship with the local shop and to buy fresh produce that he can not sell. A small blemish or spot of rot, a wrinkle here and there, a few tomatoes that are too ripe for locals but just ripe and soft enough for a great sauce can be had for very little money. The shop keeper gets in money he would not have had, and it helps me to process things like eggplant, capsicum, tomatoes and a variety of fruits for use out of season without going bankrupt. I prevent, in a small way the waste of good food and wish I could convince more people to do the same.
Vegetables can be preserved in many ways, as sauce or ingredients for soups and stews or dried. Fruits are made in to jam or pitted and vacuum sealed to bake in to pies and tarts. I always sort fruit and the best specimens are devoured by the troops before being processed.
We have been pretty busy. The worst thing to process are the delicious cherries. Every one has to be pipped before jam can be made or the can be pasteurised for baking. I have a stiff shoulder and my arm and hand hurts. My hands and nails are stained purple and I have purple juice spots on my face. Keeping going is essential, though, because in dealing with this type of product ” time is of the essence “, seriously!