У чому проблема?
Зима та свіжі овочі й фрукти
At the end of March, the initiators of the all-Ukrainian campaign "Gardens of Victory" called on every household, internally displaced persons, and every urban family with a summer cottage or garden to plant them with Victory plants. Why? To effectively use all available plots of land — every usable piece of land, even in the courtyards of high-rise buildings — to grow food and prevent a food crisis in Ukraine.
The initiative motivated people to grow more vegetables, berries, and greens. For the fourth month, gardeners have been sharing photos of their crops on social networks, being proud of the first harvested vegetables, and sharing them with the needy and the military. In turn, it raises people's morale in this difficult time and makes it possible to distract oneself from the grief that war brings.
Winter is ahead. And it is already evident that it will not be easy. Now the task is to grow and harvest and, if possible, save it for the winter. It's time to remember my grandmother's stock of cans and learn to preserve food myself.
What is the solution?
Learn how to can
Don't know how to can? Let's learn! And don't let memories from your childhood frighten you when your mother or grandmother set aside whole weekends for processing vegetables and fruits, taking out a considerable arsenal of special tools for canning from the pantries. Rubryka has selected several simple recipes for home preparations for the winter, which do not take much time and do not require special skills or equipment.
So, let's go to the kitchen! Just half an hour or an hour of your time, and in winter, you can enjoy the deliciousness made with your hands.
How does it work?
Preserving fragrant greens
Option 1 – drying
First, let's figure out which greens can be dried. Such plants include parsley, dill, basil, celery, spinach, sorrel, green onion, cilantro, fennel, savory, sage, mint, and lemon balm.
- Greens must be carefully sorted, washed, and well dried from moisture.
- The roots need to be cut first.
- Remove yellow, dry, damaged leaves.
- Getting rid of thick leaves, rough stems, and old plants is also necessary.
One of the easiest ways to dry is in the fresh air.
- To do this, we hang small bunches of greenery (up to 10 twigs) under the canopy, on the balcony, or even in the room with the leaves down. That way, the air access is good, but at the same time, they are not blown by the wind, and the sun's rays do not reach them.
- The distance between the bundles should be about 7–10 cm.
- It is necessary to check the "readiness of the product" periodically. Drying takes from six hours to several days. If the greens are dried correctly, they will be the same color as fresh. They should not crumble into dust.
You can dry horizontally on the windowsill.
- Place herbs on parchment paper or foil. It is best if the layer is single, no thicker than 1-1.5 cm. Otherwise, the drying process will be long and of poor quality. Mix the herbs twice a day.
Drying in an electric dryer or oven:
- Chopped greens are dried for 2–4 hours at a temperature of 40–45 degrees, periodically checking readiness.
- You can also dry greens in a microwave oven. Then the herbs should be laid out on a paper plate between paper napkins.
- Dry the herbs at maximum power for three minutes. If some haven't dried out, bring them to readiness for another two to three minutes. Herbs should be stored in clean, dry, tightly closed jars to prevent moths from reaching them.
By the way, dried herbs can replace salt, which allows you to reduce its use. Basil, for example, copes well with this task.
Option 2 – salting
Ingredients for preparing greens for soup and salad for the winter:
- 500 g of dill with stems;
- 500 g of parsley with roots and stems;
- 2–3 pods of fresh salad pepper, or if you like spicy, then chili;
- 250 g of rock or sea salt.
- Sort the greens and wash them well.
- Finely chop the green part of the herb – dill and parsley.
- Finely chop the pepper.
- Add salt and grind to get a thick mass – this way, it takes up half as much space.
- We put the seasoning in clean jars and put it in the refrigerator. Greens for soup and salad for the winter can be stored there for several months.
- Add the seasoning to the soup to taste or make a delicious sauce for the salad: add 1–2 teaspoons of salty seasoning to 150 g of sour cream, mix, and it's done!
Option 3 – freezing
- It is best to freeze greens in portions.
- First, prepare the greens (sort, wash, dry).
- Then you need to chop it very finely or even use a blender.
- Then, put them in ice or cupcake molds, and fill them with vegetable oil or water. You can stew vegetables, fish, and meat with cubes of greens or add them to soups and porridges.
Bonus: basil oil
This recipe will help preserve the aroma of basil. Preparing basil oil for salads will take only 10 minutes of your time. Then this delicate dressing will be "cooked" in the refrigerator without your participation.
What shall I do?
- We take a bunch of basil, tear it with our hands, and put it in a jar with 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic.
- Pour heated (not hot!) refined olive or sunflower oil to the top.
- We put it in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf for two to three weeks.
- After the appropriate time, we filter and obtain aromatic oil for salads and stews. The finished oil is stored throughout the winter in the refrigerator without losing its properties.
How to can cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers
✅Pickled cucumbers without sterilizationї
The word "sterilization" frightens many who take up preparations for the first time. Although it is not so complicated in practice, the very mention of it in recipes has repeatedly stopped people from being willing to can. Practice shows that sterilization is not always necessary. Still, the cleanliness of the cans becomes critical — the more thoroughly the jars are prepared before placing the products, the better.
- Fresh cucumbers — 2–2.5 kg
- Water – 1.5 L
- Salt – 3 tbsp.
- Sugar — 1.5–2 tbsp.
- Vinegar — 7–8 tbsp.
- Black pepper peas — 20–25 pcs
- Allspice – 2-3 berries
- Bay leaf — 2–4 pcs
- Dill — 2–4 umbrellas or half a bunch
- Currant, cherry, horseradish leaves — 2–4 pcs
- Garlic — 2–4 cloves
- At the bottom of each one-liter jar, previously washed with soda, we put a clove of garlic cut in half, a currant leaf, and an umbrella of dill.
- We wash the cucumbers and, having cut off the tips, tightly fill the jar with them.
- Pour boiling water over the cucumbers and, covering the jars with pre-sterilized lids, leave for 10–15 minutes.
- Drain the water from the cans and pour boiling water again, cover with lids and let stand for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the brine. Add a bay leaf, salt, sugar, allspice, and black pepper to a pot of water. Put it on the fire and, bringing it to a boil, cook for 5–7 minutes.
- Pour vinegar and boil for another 1 minute.
- Drain the water from the cans and fill them with marinade.
- We twist or close the lids on the cans with a can sealing tool.
- After turning the jars upside down, wrap them in a towel or blanket and leave them in this position until they cool completely. Then we remove the cans to a place for preservation.
In the same way, you can preserve young zucchini, having previously cut them into circles.
✅ Pickled tomatoes — a simple recipe
Tomatoes, bay leaves, allspice, black peppercorns, cloves, onions, currant and cherry leaves, bell pepper strips, and parsley.
For the marinade: Per 2 l of water — 9 tbsp. of sugar, 2 tbsp. of salt, 150 ml of 9% vinegar.
Wash the cans well, and pour boiling water over them. Cut the pepper into 6 parts lengthwise. Cut the onion into half rings. Put currant and cherry leaves, spices, and a bay leaf on the bottom of the jars.
Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and put them in jars, layering them with strips of pepper and onion. Put parsley on top.
Pour boiling water over the prepared product, cover with a lid and leave for 20 minutes.
Then pour this water into a pan, add salt and sugar, bring to a boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Pour vinegar and immediately pour this marinade over the tomatoes.
Seal with metal lids, turn over and wrap until completely cool.
✅ Delicious Letscho for winter
- 3 kg of sweet pepper
- 1.5 liters of tomato juice
- 1.5 kg of onions
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons of salt
- 0.5 cups of 9% vinegar
- green parsley
- 1 cup of oil.
- Pour oil into the cauldron until it starts to smoke a little. Add the chopped onion and stew until the onion becomes transparent.
- Add sugar and stir quickly so that it does not burn.
- Add tomato juice, paste, and salt. Boil, stirring, for five minutes.
- Add pepper, peeled, and cut into pieces. Cook for 20 minutes on moderate heat, stirring gently.
- Add chopped parsley and vinegar. Cook for another five minutes.
- Pour hot into prepared sterile jars. Cover until completely cool.
The cooking time depends on the quality of the pepper. Be careful not to overcook. For lovers of spicy sensations, add hot pepper to taste.
✅ Universal vegetable appetizer
When there is no opportunity or time to stand in the heat by the stove, we make an assortment of vegetables – an excellent universal preparation for cold winter days. It can be eaten as a salad, added to potatoes or soups.
- We take young zucchini, onions, carrots, bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. Everything collected in the garden or remained after more classic recipes.
- We wash and dice vegetables with a side of 1–2 cm. We simply mix in a saucepan or cauldron, sprinkle with salt to taste, add a little sugar and let it stand – let the juice flow.
- Put on a small fire. Add 2–4 tbsp. of oil so that it does not burn and is tastier. But let it bubble until ready. In the end, if you like, you can add tomato paste.
- Add vinegar (1–2 tablespoons per 1 kg of raw vegetables), a couple of crushed garlic cloves, and seasonings to taste, and let it boil for another 10 minutes.
- Ready-made vegetable stew — distribute among sterilized jars and seal with sterilized lids. Turn the jars over, wrap them in a blanket and leave them to cool completely. You can store it at room temperature in a dark place.
Sun in a jar — how to can fruits
✅ 5-minute berry jam
Such jam is perfectly stored in the city apartment without a refrigerator, does not turn sour, and does not explode.
- Berries (strawberries, raspberries, currants, cherries) — 1 kg
- Sugar – 1 kg
- Lemon juice – 4 tbsp. (no need to add to cherries)
- Sort and wash the ripe berries; pits should be removed from the cherries. Cover with sugar and leave overnight in the refrigerator.
- In the morning, put the pot with berries on a small fire and, stirring, bring to a boil.
- After boiling, add lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pour hot jam into sterilized jars and seal. It is most convenient to use 250 ml jars with lids. While the jam is bubbling, the lids should be boiled, and the jars can be sterilized in the microwave.
- Turn the closed jam jars upside down and wrap them for several hours until they cool. That's it; our quick jam is ready!
✅ Juicy cherries
For this, we will need only cherries and very little time. Because the cherry is a pretty sour and juicy berry, the cans will stand perfectly even without sugar. Jars with berries in their own juice should be stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or in another cold place, for example, in the cellar.
- Prepare the berries. This preparation method requires large, ripe, and, most importantly, juicy cherries. Wash the berries well and check for rot and worms. After that, remove the pits. You can do this in any way you are used to, and the main thing is that the cherry is not crushed.
- Put the prepared berries in a pan with thick walls and a bottom. Put on a small fire and, constantly stirring, bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the cherries release enough juice. It will take about 5-10 minutes. It is not necessary to cook for a long time; otherwise, the berries will lose their ruby color and vitamins.
- Wash and sterilize the cans well; boil the lids in water for 10 minutes. Transfer the boiling berries to a glass container and immediately seal or hermetically tighten with screw caps.
- Put the cherries in their own juice upside down, wrap them with a blanket and leave them in this position until they cool completely. Put the cooled cans in a cool place.
Will I definitely succeed?
How to sterilize jars and lids
Regardless of the recipe, there are some general rules. They relate to the jars' preparation. Everything is simple with cans — you must check them for chips and cracks and then wash them thoroughly. As for the lids, you should be careful here; they should have the correct, even shape without damage and bends.
- Jars should first be washed with soda and rinsed with water.
- Then they are sterilized in one of the available ways: over a pot of boiling water, in a steamer, microwave, or oven.
Steam sterilization is the most practical, convenient, and very reliable method that does not require special tools.
- To do this, fill a large-diameter pot with cold water so the cans you place on top do not touch the water.
- After that, place a stand with holes, a sieve, or just an ordinary colander in its inner part, on the surface of which you need to place the cans with the neck down.
- After boiling the water, the total duration of sterilization is approximately 10-15 minutes — until the entire can is thoroughly warmed up.
The cans are heated in the oven at a temperature of 110–140°C for about 20 minutes. We put the washed cans in a cold oven and take them out when they cool down a little. Sterilization time does not depend on the number of containers. We get them out of there, wrapping them with a dry towel.
If you have a microwave oven, the process will go much faster.
- Pour 1–2 cm of water into the jars and put them in the microwave.
- We set the maximum power and time for 3–5 minutes.
- We wait until the water boils and large drops form inside the jar.
- Drain the water, and dry the cans with the neck down on a dry towel.
Lids should also be thoroughly washed and sterilized. The oldest and most common method of sterilization, successfully used even by our grandmothers, is sterilization by boiling. To do this, you will need to take a saucepan, boil the required amount of water, and then simply put the lids into the boiling water. They should be boiled immediately before closing the cans with lids. They should be kept in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes.
Remember, lids with rubber bands cannot be sterilized in the oven. And you can't put anything metal in a microwave oven at all.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated in preparing the jars. But correctly performed sterilization of cans and lids is a guarantee of the preservation of homemade products at home.
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