Having access to fresh, home-grown vegetables in your backyard is one of the best things about summer, but as the season begins to wrap up, you may find your garden producing more veggies than you can eat. To make sure these nutritious goodies don’t go to waste, here are some simple ways you can preserve your garden veggies before the end of summer.
1. Freeze It
Freezing your vegetables allows you to preserve them without sacrificing their nutritious benefits. Prior to freezing, blanch your fruits or vegetables to halt any enzyme action, which will prevent them from ripening, changing color, and losing nutrients. Be sure to use freezer-safe containers or bags, and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Vacuum sealed bags are your best bet for removing all the air and minimizing freezer burn.
2. Can It
Canning is another great way to preserve your garden bounty, and it allows for a little more creativity. With the right canning technique, you can create jams, jellies, sauces, and more. For acidic foods, like fruits, use the water bath method, which involves submerging the canning jars into a pot of boiling water to seal out bacteria. For low acidic foods, such as corn, squash, carrots, beans, and most other vegetables, use a pressure canner. This method involves sealing the jars in a large kettle and allowing steam to process the food at the required temperature of 240º F, which ensures proper sterilization.
3. Pickle It
Pickling isn’t just for pickles (er, that is, cucumbers). You can pickle just about any vegetable, from beets to peppers to asparagus. Pickling preserves food by marinating it in a brine or vinegar solution. You can either skip the canning process and store them in the fridge for about a month, or go the canning route, which will allow you to store them at room temperature for up to a year. Have lots of cucumbers in your garden? Try out the recipe below for homemade refrigerator pickles.
Recipe: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups white sugar
6 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 cup sliced green bell peppers
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Boil until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.
Place the cucumbers, onions and green bell peppers in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Transfer to sterile containers and store in the refrigerator.
Recipe provided by Allrecipes.com