It’s the middle of the summer, and the garden is producing loads of fruits and vegetables. Are you taking advantage of this and preserving some for later in the year when fresh food is hard to come by? You need to know how to preserve fruits and vegetables so you can stretch your harvest for months to come.
It’s so sad that today less and less people are preserving their harvest. We’ve gotten used to fast everything and it’s a shame.
Farmer’s markers are full of goodies. Neighbors are giving away extra produce because they are sick and tired of eating the same veggies over and over. But you are smarter than that, right? Here are 5 ways to preserve your harvest.
How To Preserve Fruits And Vegetables
Freezing garden harvest
Freezing garden vegetables and fruits is my favorite way of preserving the harvest. It’s fast and it preserves the nutrients the best.
The only disadvantage to freezing food is that you’re limited by the amount of room you have in your freezer. Of course, if you’re serious about preserving your hard worked harvest, you might just invest in a second freezer, like many of us do.
Remember to label all your frozen food containers, so you know how long it’s been in the freezer and be able to pull the right container when you’re ready to cook. (you’ll save yourself the trouble of needing to learn how to make strawberry soup instead of tomato soup 😉
You can freeze produce straight from the garden to use in dishes later, or you can actually make freezer friendly meals and freeze those for easy dinners during the holidays or other busy times.
Freezing is also a great way to preserve summer fruits that only last a short time once picked: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.
Best freezer storage containers
50 Food Containers with leakproof lids – 25 oz | Microwave & Freezer safe | Plastic Meal Storage by Prep NaturalsReditainer Extreme Freeze Deli Food Containers with Lids, 32-Ounce, 24-PackArrow Home Products 04365 30 Piece Freezer Storage Container Set
Canning garden harvest
While it takes a bit longer to preserve food this way, canning is one of the most versatile ways to preserve food. Canning works for tomatoes, beans, jellies, pie fillings, and so much more!!!
Once canned, your food will store for quite a long time in your basement, cooler, or pantry shelves. No need of electricity: they can be eaten right out of the jar if needed.
Here are some slow cooker recipes to use some of your canned foods.
Dehydrating food for long term storage
Dehydrating food is a great solution if you don’t have a lot of space, as your produce will shrink with dehydration.
There are several methods to dehydrate your food, and not all methods work for everything. For example, you can dry herbs in a shaded breezy place (like a garage or carport).
You can also use your oven on a low setting to dry out foods. Or, for the fastest and most efficient way use a dehydrator.
If you’re not familiar with dehydrated foods, try some simple foods first: apple slices, berries, banana and kale chips and even dried veggies to use in soups.
Need a dehydrator? These are great!
Gourmia GFD1750 Food Dehydrator With Touch Digital Temperature Control, Ten Drying Trays Plus Beef Jerky & Sausage Hanging Rack, Sleek Design, Transparent Window & Free Recipe Book – BlackHamilton Beach 32100A Food Dehydrator, GrayNutriChef Food Dehydrator Machine – Professional Electric Multi-Tier Food Preserver, Meat or Beef Jerky Maker, Fruit /Vegetable Dryer with 5 Stackable Trays, High-Heat Circulation – (PKFD06)
Pickling to preserve food
Does pickling preserve food? Absolutely! And it’s delicious too!
The most popular picked food is cucumbers, but there are so many more picked foods that are delicious! Try pickled zucchini, beets, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage, just to begin with.
Pickling food is easy: cover your desired picking veggie with a solution made of salt, sugar, water, and various pickling spices.
Pickled vegetables make a great addition to sandwiches and salads, and are a great side dish for many meals throughout the year.
Cold store harvest to keep it fresh
Many of the garden vegetables and fruits can be stored in a cool place for a long time. Things like root vegetables, apples, and cabbages store well in a dry, cool, and dark place.
Remember the root cellars? That’s what they were made for. We keep some of these in our garage, but a basement could work too.
As you can see, you have options! Don’t let your harvest go bad: preserve it for later use now that you know how to preserve fruits and vegetables. Do you use any other methods? Please share in the comments.