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Preserving the surplus

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Normally when we talk about bulk-buying things, we're thinking about food and goods that won't perish. But what if you spot a great deal on fresh fruit or vegies?

Not to worry, you can still satisfy your bulk-buy urges and get a great deal. All you need to do is learn how to preserve your fresh food for later.

Lots of locavores are getting into preserving food, so they can stay local even when it's winter and some of their favourites are out of season. This means there are lots of tips online and in books for you to learn from.

This week I'm trying to preserve all the tomatoes our garden has given us. I'm drying them in the sun (lovely hot weather here in Perth!), then packing them in canola oil in a reused jar. They'll sit in the cupboard until later in the year, although they'll have to be refrigerated after I open them. You can do the same with chillies and garlic too, with the garlic going in the fridge right away.

Other foods you can preserve are:

Take a look at Taste.com.au's jams, preserves and chutneys section for more ideas.

Don't forget your freezer, which you can use to put away a lot of pre-cooked vegies for eating later on. Making a big batch of minestrone soup works for me, and lately I've been freezing fruit. I took a big batch of peaches and put them in ziplock bags with orange juice to prevent freezer burn. I'm looking forward to eating those in winter with my porridge!

Now that I'm buying more food in bulk though, I think I'm going to have to branch out a bit further. This Storing the Surplus guide from Allotment.co.uk seems like a pretty good guide to freezing food, I'm going to try their methods.

How about you? Have you tried preserving food before?