Are You Ready to Preserve Your Garden Harvest?
Do you want to take advantage of the bounty of the season and preserve your garden harvest this year? I’ve been preserving my produce by canning, pickling, dehydrating, and freezing for years now…but there is always something to learn or a new recipe to try!
Over the years I’ve shared quite a few posts on preserving the garden harvest. In this post, I am sharing links to them so you have an easy reference. I hope you find this handy!
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Easy Ways to Preserve the Harvest from Your Garden
You don’t have to slave over a hot stove all day to preserve some of your harvest! Yay! Here are some easy methods of saving your fresh fruits and vegetables for winter:
- Freezer jam
- Brine curing
- Root cellar storage
We’ll take a closer look at each of these methods in some of my posts!
Jam, Jelly, and Juice Recipes
Making jam doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking! You can make freezer jam quickly and easily. Check out my post below for 2 recipes for Strawberry Rhubarb Jam…one recipe doesn’t even use real strawberries! (I will say that I’m not a huge fan of processed foods, but sometimes I fudge things a bit when we need a quick and easy treat.)
This summer I plan to try making more low sugar and maybe even some no sugar recipes for jam from fresh fruit. I’ve also seen recipes that use chia seed for thickening jam…something I also want to try out. You can customize your recipes according to your taste, dietary needs, or availability of time.
Instructions for Making Jam and Jelly from Scratch
Pickling and Fermenting
Many people can their pickles to save them for long term storage. This is a great way to keep them, but you can also make super easy bine cured pickles to store in the refrigerator! All you need is a non-reactive container for curing, your fresh veggies, non-iodized salt, and vinegar! How easy is that?!
Check out my posts on small batch fermenting and brine curing pickles, peppers, dilly beans, and yellow squash for a simple way to use lacto-fermentation to preserve some of your harvest this summer.
Root Cellar Storage
Storing your harvest in a root cellar or cold space is a great way to keep potatoes, squash, roots, and even apples well into the winter. No canning, peeling, blanching, or prep work needed! Well, you do need to read up on what temperature and humidity each crop likes best for storage and make sure you are saving sound produce that is clean of mold or mud.
I highly recommend reading some books on the subject of root cellars if you’d like to really get into this method of preserving the harvest from your garden. But in the meantime, here are a couple of posts I shared with instructions for some common storage veggies:
Freezing fruits and vegetables is another easy method of preserving your garden harvest! Most veggies require blanching to kill the natural enzymes that will cause deterioration of your food in storage. So be sure to check the proper blanching times for each food you wish to preserve in the freezer before you start.
Here are Instructions for Freezing Some Popular Types of Produce:
How to Cook and Use Pie Pumpkins – with instructions for freezing
Although I can’t recommend canning as an easy method of preserving your garden harvest, it is definitely a great way to keep food for a long time without a freezer!
When canning your harvest, be sure to follow the best methods for each crop. Low acid foods (most vegetables) must be preserved with a pressure canner whereas high acid foods (most fruits) may be preserved with a water bath canner.
Once you learn how to can your fruits and veggies, you’ll agree that this is a great way to preserve your food long term. It does take some time and energy to can food, and it can be pretty hot work on a summer day.
Here are Some Canning Instructions and Information:
How to Pressure Can Meat, Poultry, and Fish – In case you are preserving more than your garden harvest!
Drying your food for storage is another easy method of preserving the harvest from your garden! A food dehydrator is a great piece of equipment to have for your home food preservation projects.
Preparing your produce for dehydrating takes some time as you’ll need to slice or chop fruits and veggies. However, once you load up the dehydrator, you’ve got time to attend to other homesteading projects!
Dried Beans in a Jar – dried beans, such as kidney beans, do not need a food dehydrator. Just lay them out on a screen in a sunny, dry spot and check them often.
Are You Ready to Preserve Your Garden Harvest?
It may seem rather daunting to get started on preserving the bounty from your garden or the farmers market. For me, it is kind of second nature because I grew up helping my parents with this job. However, each year I take a little time to review the instructions for my pressure canner and hot water bath canner. I read through my notes, and double check the instructions for safe food preservation on the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I also check my recipes to make sure I have all of the necessary equipment and ingredients.
The first time you try a new method of food preservation it will take a little getting used to! Leave yourself some extra time to read directions and go through a bit of trial and error. You might be interested in checking out my post How to Preserve the Harvest Like a Pro! for a more extensive list of food preservation tips and tricks!
Are you new to preserving the harvest? Or are you an ‘old pro’? What is your favorite method of food preservation? Feel free to share a link to your favorite food preservation posts in the comments!
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.