Organic Home Garden Series: 5 Ideas to Preserve Your Garden Harvest

If you’ve ever grown your own food, you understand the hard work that goes into it. One of the things you never want to see is your harvest go to waste. Believe me, I know the sorrow of not being able to figure out what to do with my harvest fast enough before it is no longer fresh. On the flip side, this circumstance has really encouraged me to learn and try out different ideas for preserving whatever I grew. And now I am here to share them with you! Here are five ideas to preserve your garden harvest.

  1. Freezing

This is a super quick and simple way to preserve your vegetables, fruits and even herbs. It is recommended that you freeze your harvest within 6 to 12 hours after it has been picked and gathered. Make sure to wash the produce first. Most produce requires you to blanch it before freezing it. To blanch is to simply place your produce in hot water for a brief time, and then plunge into ice water in order to stop the produce from cooking. By doing this, you help neutralize the enzymes that cause rot and decay. Dry your produce, stick into containers or freezer bags, and freeze. You can also freeze using ice cube trays for certain herbs and produce as well.

  1. Pickling

There are so many different ways to pickle! Pickling is essentially preserving or lengthening your vegetables or fruit by fermenting or immersing your produce in vinegar. Some ways are really easy, while others are a bit more complex. An easy way to pickle is to cut or slice the fruits or vegetables you want to preserve. Then, place them into mason jars with honey, herbs, spices, and vinegar. Like I said, there are many ways that this method can be accomplished. Check out this quick pickle method!

  1. Dehydrating

Dehydration is considered one of the oldest ways to preserve fruits, veggies and herbs. It works by removing almost all of the moisture from food. By completely eliminating almost all of the moisture, you are able to slow down the bacteria and microorganisms that cause food to spoil. While the easiest and most effective method is to use a dehydrator, some other ways would be to use an oven, toaster oven, or natural sunlight.

  1. Canning

This is a valuable method because it is known to be one that helps preserve fruits and vegetables the longest. To put it simply, canning is preserving food tightly in cans, jars, or containers. Just like pickling, there are many ways that canning can be done. Some people say that if you can boil water, you are able to can, while others believe it involves many different steps, and is better accomplished with certain kinds of tools—like a pressure canner.

  1. Drying

This method is very similar to dehydrating, except that it doesn’t always require the use of heat. One of the best harvest items to preserve by drying are herbs. Most herbs can simple be gathered, tied at their stems, and hung upside down to dry. Another way would be to lay your herbs flat on a drying rack. The ideal environment for drying would be both warm and dry. Drying is not only a healthy way to preserve your harvest, but it is also inexpensive.

If you have been looking for different ideas to preserve your fruits, veggies, and herbs, all five of these methods can be accomplished naturally in order to help you keep your hard-earned harvest.

Stay tuned for more organic home gardening ideas and tips!