It’s August in the garden and if all of your hard work has gone as planned you may be overrun by garden goodness right now. So after you’ve eaten your fill of sautéed zucchini, tomato sandwiches and stuffed jalapeños what do we do with the rest of those blessings? That can be answered in several ways so here’s a few tips for freezing, canning and drying your harvest to make the most of your garden in the months to come.
Freezing fruits and vegetables allows you to preserve them at the peak of ripeness and at the point that they contain the greatest amount of antioxidants. Freezing is very easy and requires very little equipment but you must have reliable freezer space for your harvest. A complete guide can be found at https://www.tasteofhome.com/
This is a method we sometimes forget but drying our herbs and seeds is an amazing way to preserve a bountiful harvest. When picked at the right time (morning), your home-grown herbs can be dried with the maximum amount of essential oils intact. Your very own herbs can be far superior than the store-bought versions that have been stored for months and sometimes years. Melissa Norris of Modern Homesteading has an amazing video with some valuable tips. You can find her at https://youtu.be/UUtWgVZ9VwE
This time-tested method of food preservation is an amazing way to sanitize and store your food without the need for freezer space. Salsa’s, pickles, jams and so much more can last for years when processed properly. There are several methods and you will need a few special items but the long-term benefits are worth it. Check out the amazing recipes, tutorials and guides available at www.freshpreserving.com
Finally, one of the sweetest ways to preserve your garden harvest is through the memory of sharing with your family, friends and neighbors. Nothing tastes like the fresh, sun-ripened foods that are grown in local soil and sharing that bounty only makes it that much better. The effort we put in, as gardeners, is best rewarded when we can share a bit of our garden wealth. If you happen to be in the West Nashville area join BELL Garden as we share with the Bellevue Food Bank. If you are a neighbor in need, the food bank is open every Tuesday night from 6-7:30pm at Bellevue United Methodist Church 7501 Old Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37221 (Bellevue). For more information to donate or receive please visit https://