By Abbagail at Sage & Shepherd Ranch
Growing a garden is such a fun experience and it's made more fun when you can preserve the fruits of your labour to enjoy all year. Although you may not be planning to have enough to last the whole year, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a little abundance. Trust me, you’ll have way more tomatoes and zucchini that you know what to do with!
Preserving food doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. There are so many different ways to do so, so choose one that suits you best. Here are the five best ways to preserve your garden harvest.
This is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to preserve your garden harvest, as long as you have freezer storage. I recommend buying good quality freezer bags and always labelling what you are putting in and the date! If sealed properly frozen fruit or vegetables can last for about a year. You can freeze things like beans, peas, zucchini, whole tomatoes, carrots, kale etc.
Another easy and cost-effective way to preserve a variety of things! You can purchase a dehydrator for less than two hundred dollars, but you can also use your oven. At the lowest temp, approx. 150 degrees you can dehydrate things like tomatoes, herbs, peppers, potatoes, broccoli, etc.
This is an appealing method to a lot of people as mason jars have stolen the hearts of a lot of country girls - including me. Perhaps a little more costly depending on if you are water bath canning or pressure canning, plus mason jars. But the best thing about canning is that it frees up space in your freezer and grows your pantry for the winter. You can water bath can or pressure can things like sauces, soups, jams, pickles, etc.
4. Freeze Dry
A mix between freezing and dehydrating, and it will last for up to 25 years!! However, the cost of a freeze dryer is on the higher side. But well worth the investment if you wanted to make your own travel meals. You can freeze dry anything!
5. Fun Extras
This last way to preserve your foods is to add them into fun things or use them to make something to eat right away. For example use fresh fruit to make fruit wine, infuse vinegar, or use herbs to make compound butter or herbed salts. You can also make pestos, kale chips, or tomato soup for consumption right away.
As you can see there are many ways to preserve your harvest, and they are all great in their own ways! Not one vegetable prefers one way as it depends on what you're planning to make with it, your storage arrangement, and your budget.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to know if you try any of these in the comments below. If you want more inspiration on gardening and homesteading, check out my blog.
About Sage & Shepherd Ranch
S&S Ranch is run by husband and wife, Abbagail & Mackenzie. We started with a few chickens for ourselves, and then we fell in love with the ability to control where our food comes from and the act of farming itself. We raise our animals in a regenerative manner which means we sequester carbon, build top soil, rotationally graze animals holistically and mimic nature as much as possible.
All of our meat is organically-fed, non-gmo, and never given vaccines, antibiotics, or hormones. We offer organically-fed and pasture-raised chicken, turkey, and pork, and 100% grass-fed and finished lamb. Plus pastured eggs, charcuterie, dry rubs, and bone broth. To purchase meat visit https://www.sageandshepherdranch.com/#/
I also blog about gardening, and homestead living over at https://www.sageandshepherd.com