Corn+Soybean Digest

Savor Summer Year Round with Soyfoods

Harsh winter days are probably the furthest thing from your mind during these hot days of August. However, if you take some time now, you can retrieve a taste of summer from your freezer or pantry in the middle of January.

With a strong interest in local foods and gardening, food preservation is enjoying a resurgence.

“Preserving food is not something that can be done on a whim, but it is not difficult. It just takes time and planning,” says Gretchen Hofing, Lenawee County-based dietitian and soyfoods health educator with Michigan State University (MSU) Extension.

“Following the directions from a tested recipe published by a trusted resource is the first step in preparing to safely preserve food,” Hofing adds.

Approved resources include “So Easy to Preserve” by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, which also houses the online National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP). Other approved resources are the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving” and university Extension publications, such as “Canning Foods” by the University of Tennessee Extension.

Most fruits and vegetables are suitable for food preservation, including edamame – the sweeter, larger, green soybean.

“Edamame is one of those vegetables that can be easily grown in a home garden and canned or frozen for later enjoyment. Soyfoods support positive health and may help prevent several chronic diseases, making them an excellent candidate for preserving at their freshest and consuming year round,” Hofing notes.

The equipment needed for canning is more extensive than that needed for freezing and depends on the foods that will be processed. A hot-water-bath canner can be used for jams, jellies, pickles, fruits and acidified tomatoes. All other foods must be canned in a pressure canner. Other supplies include canning jars, lids, rings, a jar lifter, funnel and magnetic lid wand.

Freezing vegetables, like edamame, starts with blanching. The NCHFP indicates that for home freezing, boiling-water blanching generally produces the most satisfactory end product. The directions can be found on the NCHFP website.

The University of Tennessee Extension publication “Canning Foods,” contains directions for canning edamame. The directions are for the use of a pressure canner at 1,000 ft. altitude or less and can be found.

Purchasing and consuming soyfoods is a great way to support your health and Michigan agriculture. The Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC) represents the soybean producers in the state and funds soybean research and educational efforts.

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