Harvest time is here in my garden. I’ve kept up fairly well with my zucchini and tomatoes, but there’s a limit to how much one family can eat! There are easy ways to preserve garden vegetables for another time. And some of my ways are below!
Too Many Strawberries?
We freezer strawberries for use later. Just rinse, hull, and then either slice or freeze them whole. If you know what you are using for them ahead of time and it calls for sugar, just add the sugar in also. Then when you need them, defrost and they are ready to go!
Harvesting Zucchini and it’s coming out your ears?
Zucchini can be grated, placed in freezer bags, and popped in the freezer. Measure the amount you’re freezing and label on your bags. On a cold winter morning, thaw a bag and make zucchini bread to heat the house and the bellies in your home! A batch of zucchini bread typically uses 2 Cups of grated zucchini. You will want to make sure your zucchini is drained for best results in your bread.
Harvesting Tomatoes and sick of canning? Try these two options.
First: I’ve been told by a wise friend that she freezes whole tomatoes (stem removed) on parchment paper lined cookie trays. When completely frozen, she places them in a plastic bag. As she needs one, she just takes out of the freezer, thaws, and uses as desired. Pretty cool! (literally….)
Second: I remove the stems and cut into chunks and place in the biggest sauce pot I have. I FILL the pot and let the tomatoes simmer. They will reduce dramatically. Now I have several options. I can make a big spaghetti sauce by adding garlic, onion, green pepper, red pepper, basil, thyme, oregano OR I can add cumin and chili powder to make a southwestern sauce OR I can cool the tomatoes and freeze them in bags for another time.
Quick and easy spaghetti sauce: My favorite thing to do with zucchini and tomatoes is simmer a large pot of tomatoes until reduced to a somewhat thick consistency and add grated zucchini and other spaghetti sauce seasonings. Two birds with one stone — or, rather, in one pot! Looking for a different version of spaghetti sauce? Try this easy crockpot spaghetti sauce.
Onions need to be harvested before the frost. I use a lot of onions in my cooking but not as many as I harvest. I braid mine together so I can hang them to dry. This preserves them a lot longer.
Carrots are one of those garden vegetables that a few can go a long way. More than once I’ve had too many to eat and I don’t enjoy canned carrots. A great way to preserve them is to dig them out of the garden before the ground is frozen and then bury them in sand. I’ve used an old toy box before but you can use any container that will hold sand. Just place your carrots in the sand, cover completely and then as you want them, dig them out. My carrots last most of the winter and they are even sweeter!
Extra Vegetables: One of my favorite things to do is make Salads in a Jar. They are great to make cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, and carrots last longer. What vegetables I don’t have in my garden, I purchase from Sam’s Club (get a huge discount for membership through Living Social!) and then make my salads. Buying in bulk from Sam’s and then using canning jars to preserve the ingredients a little longer saves me the most money while keeping our diets on the healthy side!
What are some ways you preserve your vegetables to make them last longer?