From yard to table: preserving the harvest

The number of home gardeners grew this year, so there’s bound to be more people looking for ways to preserve the harvest.

package-chiles-blogLast week my local grocer was running a special on canning supplies, but there wasn’t anything special about those prices.

If you’re growing your garden to save money on groceries, it might not make sense to invest in canning supplies when there are some other, more frugal alternatives for taking the harvest from yard to table. I’ve never owned a water bath canner, but I’ve been growing and preserving my herbs and vegetables for years.

Most fruits and vegetables can be prepared for freezing which eliminates the need for canning supplies. I think roasting and freezing tomatoes is an easier and more delicious way to preserve them.

Fall wouldn’t be the same without the fun of roasting chile peppers, peeling them, filling baggies full and stacking them in the freezer. Green beans are blanched then frozen.

Basil is whipped into pesto that freezes well. Herbs can be clipped and dried or mixed into an herb butter that can be frozen. I’ve also preserved basil by making an herbed vodka.

Refrigerator pickles are a great way to preserve cucumbers and green peppers or just the peppers by themselves.

However, if you’ve grown a big garden and you have a big family, you might want to check out the Ball brand’s products that celebrate the company’s 125 anniversary. Commemorative products include an anniversary edition of its “Blue Book Guide to Preserving” and a Fresh Preserving kit that includes everything a canning newcomer needs to get started.

Whenever the economy declines, sales of canning supplies rise significantly and this year is no different. But there are alternatives to expensive canning supplies for those new gardeners who started gardening to save money.

Please check back often throughout the season for more ways to preserve your harvest.


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