What are you going to do with all that food? By September you might be running out of recipe ideas and friends and family to share your vegetable garden bounty with. Why not preserve your food? Freezing, canning and storing vegetables is an easy way to save the tastes of summer and enjoy them during the cold, dark days of winter.
- Freezing- This is the simplest way to preserve. Pick the healthiest vegetables at the peak of maturity, blanch them, and seal them into freezer bags. Beans, sweet corn, peas, and broccoli are some of my favorite frozen veggies. You can even make pesto and freeze batches in containers.
- Canning- Although it requires more time, equipment and effort than freezing, I love the flavor of canned tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. They last longer in storage than freezing and there's such as variety of recipes, such as dilly beans and bread and butter pickles. I even toss garlic and basil in my canned tomatoes for some Italian flavor.
- Storing. Some vegetables can be stored, as they are, indoors. Winter squash, pumpkins, potatoes and onions all can be stored many ways at home such as hanging onions or garlic in a pantry. If stored according to their temperature and humidity requirements, they can last for months, allowing you to cook your own vegetables for holiday meals.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation has information on the proper ways to can, freeze and store vegetables.
Stay tuned for more from Charlie next month!