What to do with your garden harvest


A large garden harvest after all your hard work is very satisfying, except... everything seems to come at once. So what do you do? garden harvest
You can only eat so much so with the rest of the harvest you can...sell them, give them away, can, dry, freeze or make craft items.

I have never tried canning but freezing and drying are pretty easy. First and foremost, save some seeds to plant in your next garden (assuming these are not hybrids which will not breed true). For harvesting ideas here are some of the things I do with my harvest:

  • Squash: Great for roasting, frying and making many squash breads. You can also stuff the squash flowers with ricotta cheese with some spices and fry them up.
  • Tomatoes: Boil into a sauce for a couple hours and freeze or, better yet, simply rinse the tomatoes in water, pull off any stem and freeze whole. If you need to remove the skin do it when the tomato unthaws when it is very easy.
  • Green Peppers: Rinse, cut in half, get rid of the seeds and freeze.
  • Hot Peppers: Rinse and freeze whole just like with tomatoes.
  • Parsely: Tie whole plants together near the bottom of the plant and place in a brown paper bag with holes all through the sides and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks to dry. Then strip the leaves and put into an airtight container.
  • Basil: Make pesto in serving size portions and freeze. To do this use a blender to make paste of 2 cups basil leaves, some olive oil, pinenuts and garlic. Freeze and serve as-is over pasta. Or you can dry the plants the same way as for parsely.
  • String Beans: Rinse, cut up and boil in water for 3 minutes then freeze.
  • Gourds: Carve them into small birdhouses.

When freezing vegetables try to get all air out of the bag to avoid freezer burn unless you have a vacuum sealer (which is something I plan to buy). When drying, don't leave plants to dry for longer than 2 weeks or you will lose a lot of taste.

My garden harvest is largely eaten immediately and given to family and friends but I do manage to freeze enough to last a few months. I hope I have stimulated your imagination so, 'good luck' with you harvest - it is worth the wait...


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