Monday, September 3, 2012

Preserving the Harvest

Wow, Labor Day, already!? Goodness, but the summer has just flown by! But the end of summer fun means the beginning of other wonderful things, like Harvest Time! This time of year, pretty much every weekend (and some time during the week, when I can manage it!) is spent canning, baking, freezing and drying… preserving all the good stuff which is overflowing from the garden and farm. Yes, it’s quite a bit of work, but making use of all this seasonal goodness and stocking up for the winter months really cuts down our grocery bill. Here is some of what we’ve been up to the last couple of weeks:

Freezing zucchini, green beans and broccoli
Roasting and freezing squash
Baking and freezing zucchini bread
Canning pickled green beans
Making and freezing tomato sauce
Drying tomatoes in the dehydrator (“sun-dried” tomatoes!)
Making veggie chips in the dehydrator
Peach preserves
Freezing peppers
Making and freezing vegetable soup
Making and freezing pesto

Here’s what we’ll be working on in the coming weeks:

Canning applesauce, spiced apples and spiced peaches
Making dried apples
Drying herbs, for cooking and for making teas
More veggie chips!
More preserves!
More pesto!

And maybe more, depending on what Mother Nature gives us to work with!  There is something very comforting in starting the fall and winter months with a well-stocked freezer and pantry. In addition to reducing the amount we need to spend on groceries over the winter, it also means we’re prepared if we end up with a nasty New England storm… if we get snowed in, we have plenty to eat!  

Even if you do not have your own garden, you can still make use of the bounty that is available this time of year. When your favorite produce items are in season, plentiful, and thus, cheaper, buy extra from your farm or market, then can or freeze the surplus for later in the winter. If you are new to preserving food, check out They have lots of great information about canning and freezing, along with step-by-step recipes, to get you started.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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