HOISINGTON — With all of the fresh vegetables now in season, K-State Extension Agent Donna Krug held a class earlier this week on safe ways to preserve that garden produce in Hoisington.
Coming from as far away as Ness City and Ellsworth, the audience learned about safe freezing and drying of vegetables. They also sampled dried okra, dried mango and dried green beans.
There has been a return to the time tried ways of food preservation as fresh, nutritious food has become more available and desired.
“More of us are freezing and canning,” said Krug.
She began the class recommending blanching before freezing. “We always recommend blanching before freezing to stop any bacteria from growing.”
Blanching is plunging the vegetable or fruit into boiling water and then plunged into ice water. Plunging it into the ice water should be for the same amount of time that the vegetable was in the boiling water. This will stop the cooking process.
Then Krug described drying. Many vegetables and fruit can be dried, including herbs, in a food dehydrator or oven. “Store these in a glass jar,” she said. She recommends glass over plastic because plastic may leach into the vegetables.
Herbs can be dried in a paper lunch bag. Krug said to rubber band the bottom of the stems and place it into the bag. “This is a way to keep it clean and let it dry,” Krug said. Also, leaves that fall to the bottom of the sack can also be used.
In addition, the reminded the class to dispose of any leaves that looked like they were spoiled.
Krug will teach a second class on canning from 4-8 p.m. on July 31 at the First United Methodist Church. Call Teddy Williamson to register at 620-653-2165.