Preserving the harvest 2013

As the garden winds down, the freezer and pantry shelves are filling up. Here’s what I have “put by” so far this year:

10 quarts peaches

2 dozen pints pizza/pasta sauce

about 6 dozen ice cube sized portions of pesto

about 6 bags frozen bell peppers

about 4 bags frozen green beans

1 bag frozen peas

1 bag frozen apricots

10 pints apricot pineapple jam

2 bags frozen blackberries

2 pints dried basil

20 quarts chili, frozen

1 bag sun dried tomatoes

2 bags frozen shredded zucchini

I am pretty much out of freezer space at this point. I still have a box of bell peppers and over 100 lbs of tomatoes to do something with. I already wrote down in my garden notebook: PLANT LESS TOMATOES NEXT YEAR!!! But that doesn’t really solve the problem of what to do with the basement to ripen over time. We try to be able to still have 1 or 2 to put on a salad for Christmas dinner. Some years it happens, some it doesn’t.

harvesting tomatoes

I’d like to make some sort of tomato based soup and freeze it, so that its a quick dinner later in the winter. My husband is not a big fan of the carrot tomato soup that I love. Anyone else have an idea?

I don't normally store pears on the windowsill, but I liked the sunlight shining though the fruit for taking a picture

Apples and pears are still on my To Do list for preserving, but other than that, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve already completed. It’s not a highly varied list, but it is all things I know that we eat, and it’s all food that we grew ourselves or sourced locally (peaches, blackberries).

At this point, I feel like the way to go is to learn how to overwinter crops or otherwise “extend the harvest”, rather than find more ways to freeze or dehydrate. (My bulging freezer heartily agrees.)  Even though my fall crops got eaten by grasshoppers this year, I know that if I just spread some spinach, kale, and lettuce seeds outside right now, they will be the first things to grow in the spring. I have done this already, and it works! Maybe next year I will finally get the knack of fall planting/overwintering.

Do you have a fall garden? Are you able to overwinter any crops successfully? Please share in the comments section. I’d love to hear about it.



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