This is a really busy time of year. Right now I have garden produce filling the house every day. (That’s why I am a few days late getting this posted.)
But I love it. This is when the summer garden is at its best. But it can also be a frantic time trying to get all the food put away before it spoils.
Here are some hints to make it a little easier:
- Save big projects for the weekend when your children and spouse can help for a couple hours. Many hands make light work.
- Put tomatoes and fruit juice or pulp into the freezer to can later in the fall when everything else is done. Jams and jellies can be made any time from frozen juices. When frozen tomatoes thaw most of the tomato liquid separates from the meat so that when you sauce it, it is a thicker sauce that does require lots of boiling.
- Do chopping, peeling and other food prep in the evening while enjoying family conversations or watching a TV show. This makes the work go faster and you can begin the actual food preparation first thing in the morning when you have more energy and fewer distractions.
- Put dense foods (squash, pumpkins, all root vegetables, cabbage, etc) into the garage
- Use a variety of food preservation methods. Freezing is often the easiest—just wash and chop the food before putting it into freezer bags. Dehydrating is also easy. For most foods you just wash, chop and put the food on dehydrator trays. Once you put it into the dryer, just forget about it until the next morning. Be aware that for both freezing and drying, some foods require blanching. Use this Drying Chart to see how to prepare foods for drying.Canning can be the most time and energy intensive method of preserving food. But for some foods it really is the best way to preserve. Tomatoes (including salsa, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce), pickles (cucumbers, peppers, beets, green tomatoes and relishes) green beans, pie filling and jams or jellies are best canned. The food is more stable, more easily incorporated into recipes and stores the longest.
So… plan ahead and do what you can to reduce your canning burden. But make the most of your garden’s bounty. In the winter you will be glad you can put the goodness of garden vegetables on your table.