When you’re lucky enough to have an abundant harvest or to live close enough to farms to take advantage of farmer’s markets, you’ll want to put every last tomato and peach to good use. Preserving the harvest can let you enjoy the fruits of your labor for months to come. There are several methods for preserving your fruits, vegetables and herbs. Which method you choose will depend on the type of fruit or vegetable you are preserving and your ambition level.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation has an excellent, up-to-date web site with information on all types of food preservation. Specific links are listed below, along with some general tips and recipe suggestions. We may live in the age of supermarkets, but you’re still going to need some help finding uses for all those end of the season green tomatoes.Root vegetables and vegetables that can be cured, like onions and winter squash, will last the longest.
Some basic tips for storing fruits & vegetables:
- Only store fully mature, healthy vegetables. Any bruised or immature vegetables should be eaten fresh or preserved by other means.
- Clean of soil and allow the outside of vegetables to dry before freezing.
- Keep a few inches on stem on winter squash and also cut the green tops of root crops to an inch or so.
Some basic tips for freezing fruits & vegetables:
Recipes for freezing fruits & vegetables:
Some basic tips for canning fruits & vegetables:
- Choose only disease free fruits or vegetables and wash them well before processing
- Use clean jars and new seal lids
- Process in boiling water or a pressure canner for the specified amount of time
Recipes for canning fruits & vegetables:
Some basic tips for drying fruits, vegetables & herbs:
- Be sure the fruits and vegetables are fully mature and disease free.
- Provide good air circulation while drying, to prevent spoilage.
- Don’t rush the process. Partially dried fruits, vegetables and herbs won’t last long.
Recipes for drying fruits, vegetables & herbs:
Some basic tips for pickling fruits & vegetables:
- Always follow a tested recipe. Even in vinegar, spoilage can happen. Canning pickled products by the boiling water methods further stops spoilage.
Recipes for pickling fruits & vegetables:
Some basic tips for making jams and jellies:
- The freshest, sweetest fruit makes the best jelly
- The acidity level has to be right for the fruits to gel. Lemon juice is added to low acid fruits.
- Don’t alter sugar amounts in recipes. Sugar helps preserve and gel the fruits.
Recipes for jams & jellies: