We can probably all agree that the best part of gardening is reaping the benefits of your efforts. Plump, juicy berries, sun-kissed tomatoes, and crunchy bell peppers are just a few of the delectable summer treats you may cultivate in your backyard. But you don’t have to lament the loss of such riches once autumn arrives; you can extend the life of your fresh produce with several preservation techniques. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Pickling Your Harvest
When most people think of pickling, they immediately think of cucumbers. But did you know that you can pickle just about every type of fresh summer produce? A mason jar, vinegar, water, salt, and the vegetable or fruit of your choice are all you need to try this procedure. Try different spices and seasonings, such as rosemary, thyme, dill, garlic, ginger, or mustard seeds, to find what goes best with your summer harvest.
Keeping your harvest good year-round can be a convenient and simple choice if you have freezer space.
Cut your veggies down to size, considering how you want to use them after they’re defrosted. Once you have cut your vegetables, blanch them quickly in boiling water before putting them in an ice-water bath to stop them from cooking. Next, place dried, blanched vegetables on a baking sheet in the freezer with some space between them (so they don’t stick together!). Finally, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the freezer.
Fruits are even easier, as they do not need blanching (and many wouldn’t survive the process.) Instead, simply cut them, line a baking sheet with parchment paper in the freezer, then transfer them to an airtight container once frozen.
Another popular method for preserving garden goodies is canning. This is a great option if you want your food to last a long time. When canned properly, some foods can last up to five years. If you choose this path, make sure you follow guidelines from a reputable source.
Dry It Out
When drying fruits and vegetables, the water content must be removed so germs are not allowed to thrive. Unlike other preservation procedures, however, drying alters the texture and flavor of the food. You can then store the food in just about any container once it is dried.
Using a specialized dehydrator to dry summer fruits and vegetables for the winter is the simplest method. Simply place your meal in the machine and select the right setting. If you don’t want to spend the money on a dehydrator, you can dry fruits and vegetables in your current oven, but the results vary. Or you can check if a friend has a dehydrator you could borrow after you harvest all your fruits!
What About Fermentation?
Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving fruit that has recently regained favor. Emerging studies demonstrating the importance of cultivating your microbiome have pushed gut health to the forefront of health concerns. Eating fermented foods like Lacto-fermented Vegetables, Fermented Dill Pickles, and Kimchi is one of the best methods to nourish this microbiota!
Some of your favorite fruits and veggies may be off the menu once summer is over unless you’re ready to buy them from the other side of the world. However, you can make summer last all year in your kitchen with some know-how and planning.
If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen so you have a beautiful place to prepare all these veggies, contact Garden State Soapstone today to walk through our showroom and learn about all our natural wood options.