5 Easy Ways to Preserve Your Summer Harvest

You’ve done well all summer with tending and keeping your vegetable garden. Now it’s time to reap the benefits.

Now is the perfect time to start stocking your pantry (freezer, what have you) with farm fresh goods. 

Many times from our gardening efforts we have just enough of a harvest to eat and then sometimes we have some extra to give away and share and if we’ve done really well there may be more to  put up for the winter months when garden fresh produce lovingly preserved tastes as if just picked.

So what are you waiting for? High grocery store prices, great tasting local farm fresh food, and your own good taste should have you high tailing it to the kitchen to make sure you’re eating well this winter. 

What are your options?…

Preserving Your Summer Harvest

Freezing: My favorite is freezing…well I find it to be the easiest so that makes it my favorite. So far this year I’ve frozen onions, green beans, strawberries, raspberries, and marion berries. Many vegetables do well with blanching before freezing. Berries are easy and do well with freezing first on a lipped cookie sheet and then putting in bags for future use. Wash all fruits and veggies (except blueberries) first.

Have a separate stand alone freezer? Then this is a great option for you.  You can freeze jams, and fresh veggies.  BUT never fear! I did pack my little above the fridge freezer for years so you’re not out if you don’t have a spare freezer.

Canning: Canning  is one thing I would love to do but never have and don’t know how but it is a fabulous way to put up your veggies for future use. If you’re a real whiz you can also can fruit juices and soups and stews. Many local shops (nationwide) now offer canning classes ( I know I need to take one). You can use the water bath or the pressure cooker method. My mother has informed she has the pressure cooker all ready for me.

This is a good option if you like to make juices, sauces, and the like from your produce.  You can also can potatoes which do not freeze well. 

Dehydrating: I actually haven’t done this one in a while but when one of my friends sent me some fruit leather across country I thought I’d better dust this one off and start dehydrating again.

You will loose the juices in dehydrating but mixing up your own dried vegetable mixes, some dehydrated fruits for future baking is a nifty trick you can do with dehydrated goods. Dehydrating is great for those with limited space as the finished product takes up significantly less room than the fresh product.

Each of these three ways to preserve excess fresh fruits and veggies are excellent. Even if you don’t grow or purchase 12lbs of one kind of product on a regular basis doing small batches is a good way to get comfortable and find out which method or methods might be for you. For years I froze only one or two bags of a good sale item from the grocery store.

So ready to get started ?

Great Resource Sites:

Pick Your Own: Excellent, excellent resource site for where to find u-pick farms and ALSO how to preserve your haul that you can print in PDF format.

Canning Across America: Join the revolution. Find a canning class near you and yummy recipes too.

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