Putting Up Food in a Rainy Year

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Trug of Butternut Squash

My town is currently 17.47 inches above normal for rainfall this year. If you’re experiencing a similarly rainy year and you like to can, freeze and root cellar, know that it’s going to affect all of your prep and cook times, as well as the shelf life of any foods that you plan to freeze or store. Here are some things to expect:

  • Tomato sauce, salsas and fruit butters are going to take longer to cook down. Consider doing them in the crockpot this year, so you aren’t strapped to the stove
  • Dehydrating is going to take longer, too. Don’t be surprised if you blow past the recommended drying times
  • Foods like onions, potatoes, apples, pears, winter squash and carrots aren’t going to keep as well in storage. I chopped and froze all of my onions this year because they were just too wet to store. Usually buying keeping varieties of fruits and vegetables is a sure bet for long-term storage, but it won’t be in a rainy year
  • Pumpkin and buttternut squash puree will need to be drained in a cheesecloth-lined colander before you jar and freeze it. I roasted a half bushel of squash the other night, and drained two large mixing bowls of water out of it!
  • The extra water content in fruits and veggies means they’re going to freezer-burn faster than usual. Take the time to towel-dry any foods that you have to blanche, so you aren’t adding more water to the mix
  • When you pull fruits and veggies from the freezer, you’ll probably have to extend the cooking time of the recipes that you use them in to cook off the extra water that they release

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