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Five tips: How to succeed in canning and fermenting

Erich Haller, managing director of Obsthaus Haller, reveals how fruits and vegetables are edible even into the depths of winter.

Autumn is here, the fruit is ripe - now it just needs to be preserved. If you want to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables even during the winter months, it is advisable to start thinking now about which method best suits your taste. Erich Haller, the manager of the Haller fruit house, knows the important aspects of pickling, preserving and drying.

Although pickled vegetables are available everywhere in the supermarket, nevertheless, they can be made quickly and easily at home. All that is needed is water, sugar, vinegar, spices and the vegetables in question. "Just about any firm-cooking vegetable can be pickled," says Erich Haller. Cucumbers, beans, pumpkin, cauliflower, but also mushrooms and tomatoes are suitable for this method. Many types of fruit can also be pickled very well in vinegar. "Apples, pears or plums make super vinegary fruits. The sweet and sour taste completely reinvents a familiar dish," recommends the expert.

Another classic method is canning or preserving. The process is associated with a trace of nostalgia for childhood days. Canning involves heating the fruit or vegetable to a high temperature and then sealing it to prevent oxygen or germs from entering. But not only crops can be boiled down; a wide variety of sauces or stews can also be preserved in this way. On a stressful day, you can enjoy a homemade tomato sauce in no time, even in winter.

Fermenting and freezing

Fermentation is a method of preserving food that was previously used only in high-end restaurants and has now found favour with amateur restaurateurs. The process preserves the food by adding fungi and bacteria. In this way the "final product" not only gains a special flavour, but the method can also be beneficial to health; during fermentation, lactic acid bacteria are produced that support gut health.

The best-known fermented dish is undoubtedly sauerkraut, but carrots, beet and horseradish are also ideal for this process. Even the popular Asian specialty 'kimchi' is produced in this way," explains the expert. However, when fermenting, it should be noted that the longer the product ferments, the more intense the flavour becomes.

Freezing should also not be forgotten. At around minus 18 degrees, fruit and vegetables are preserved in a particularly gentle way. By freezing, bacteria or germs are ultimately also deprived of the breeding ground for reproduction. At the same time, all important vitamins and nutrients are preserved.

The drying

Similar to freezing, drying food is by no means a new way to preserve products. In the past, the sun was responsible for this task, but today it is done by the oven or a dehydrator. During the process, the water is removed from the fruit or vegetables, so that the rotting process cannot occur in the first place.

The resulting final product is often durable for years after drying. "Many fruits and vegetables taste quite wonderful when dried. But herbs also remain edible in the long term. And my personal insider tip: spring onions. Infused with water, they taste almost like fresh from the garden," Erich Haller enthuses in conclusion.

Tamara Kalny