October 22nd, 2020

Preserving your garden harvest


By Submitted Article on September 23, 2020.

Alison Van Dyke

COMMUNITY FOOD COLLECTIONS ASSOCIATION

The days are getting cooler and shorter and gardeners are checking the forecast for nightly frost. People are putting their gardens to bed for the season and thoughts are turning to preserving their remaining harvest. Whether you are preserving food because you rely on it to supplement your grocery budget, or just because you need a taste of that summer sunshine in the winter months, you have many options when it comes to preservation methods.

Freezing – probably the easiest preservation method for most people is freezing. Many fruits can be washed and frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet then moved to bags or containers for longer term freezer storage. Have you seen it for sale in the freezer section of a grocery store? If so, you can freeze it at home, too! Vegetables often require a little more work blanching and shocking the produce so that you have a better result when they are thawed, but many can be cleaned and frozen without further prep work.

Drying/dehydrating – Drying herbs and produce is made easy with a dehydrator, but don’t think you need specialized equipment to do dehydrate, you can easily dry many items at the lowest temperature on baking sheets in your oven.

Cold Storage – If you have a cold storage room or an unheated garage, you will have great success at storing potatoes, onions, winter squash, and apples for extended periods of time. Root crops such as carrots, parsnips, beets and turnips are best stored layered in boxes of sand. Otherwise, they will keep for months in bags with holes in the refrigerator. Most cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli will keep in your fridge for months providing they are not cut and are wrapped in either cling wrap, plastic bags or waxed cloth.

Canning – Water bath and pressure canning can be used to preserve many, but not all, types of fruit, vegetables and meat. There are very specific guidelines about what needs to be waterbath canned vs. pressure canned for food safety reasons. Please consult the Bernardin website for complete information on canning processes including food-safe recipes.

Alison Van Dyke is the Food Security Co-ordinator with Community Food Connections Association. For more information please see http://www.foodconnections.ca.

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