After working hard to fertilize and grow such a productive garden, it would be a tragedy to allow any of the harvest to rot and spoil. After eating your fill and giving some to friends and family, there is always some left. The great thing about gardening is that you can pack away food to get you through the year if you want. This has been done for centuries with no preservatives added. Whether you want to practice freezing, drying or canning fruit and vegetables, we’re telling you how to do it!
Drying or dehydrating
Herbs are great when dried, and they will last a long time if kept in a cool dry place in the dark. You could store them in dark-colored jars or keep them in a cabinet or pantry. Bundle your herbs and place them upside down in a dark place for drying. You may also use a dehydrator. Read our full how-to guide on drying and storing herbs right here. Dehydrators are also great for drying all kinds of vegetables and fruit, such as tomatoes, apricots, mushrooms, or kale.
This is the number one thing that my family always did after harvesting the vegetables. This means that you are heating the vegetables and placing them in canning jars to preserve them. You would need a pressure cooker or an automatic home canning system, with sanitized jars, a jar lifter, oven mitts, and a little bit of time. Set aside some time to do this project, because it can take a while, depending on what kind of tools you use, and how much you have to can. There are several ways to can something, and you could also pickle, and make jams as well. It was always an ongoing event at our house. This method will allow you to set your finished products in a pantry or shelf, not worrying about spoilage. The food will last for months and sometimes years when my grandma did it. Watch the video below to see a great how-to guide.
This is a common method but will take up a lot of space in your freezer. First, you can prepare your vegetable dishes such as soup, stew, or flash as you normally would. Then, get freezer bags or containers that can withstand the freezer, and fill them. Make sure that you put dates on each container because frozen foods will go bad after a certain amount of time. If you want to freeze fruit without cooking, such as berries and peaches, wait until they are fully ripe and wash them well. Next, cut up the peaches and place them on a pan with none touching each other. Then, put the pan in the freezer and keep it there until the peaches are frozen. Now you can pick the peaches off the pan and put them in a freezer bag. The frozen fruit will last for about a year and vegetables will last for up to eighteen months.