How to Preserve Your Summer Harvest
Jul 26, 2021
We all love our fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer, but how can we keep enjoying them throughout the winter? Whether you want to store the bounty from your own garden or your local farmer’s market, here are some tips for keeping your harvest tasting delicious all year long!
Try blanching and then freezing your vegetables
Blanching helps to preserve the flavour, colour, and nutritional value of the vegetables. To blanch them, boil the vegetables for around 1-3 minutes and then place them in cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, the vegetables can be packed and frozen in freezer bags or plastic containers. You can also freeze many fruits as long as they aren’t too watery. Berries such as raspberries and blueberries are great choices!
Try drying or dehydrating your vegetables and/or fruits
You can do this using an electric dehydrator, or simply dry them in your oven. When you need to use your dried harvest, the items can be rehydrated and used in soups, casseroles, or other baked dishes. You can also add dried fruit when making your own cereal, oatmeal, or granola!
Try canning your fruits or vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables can be easily canned using a boiling water bath, and you can also use this method for jams, jellies, salsas, and chutneys.
For a great rhubarb chutney recipe from one of our members, Evelyn Peck, check out this video thanks to funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program!
Some vegetables with low acidity, such as beans, squash, peas, carrots, and corn require a pressure canner for canning.
For more information on canning, including recipes and instructions, you can check out Pick Your Own’s canning guide: https://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm
Cucumbers and zucchini are popular choices, but you can pickle many different vegetables! Pickling involves making a brine, boiling it, and pouring it over the vegetables that will be preserved. Some pickled items can be stored with the brine in the fridge and must be used within a fairly short amount of time (for example, refrigerator pickles), or you can use a canning method if you want your pickles to last longer.
Check out our workshop!
We will be hosting a pickling and preserving workshop with Joan McLean this September, thanks to the New Horizons for Seniors Grant! Stay tuned for more information!
By Kate at FWIO