• The Vegetarian Homestead

Many methods of food preservation

The garden is producing lots of goodies now and it is time to think about preserving the harvest.



There are many ways to store/preserve foods that will last for months if not years. Some of the methods are easy and some are a bit complicated or even impossible due to your climate.


popcorn

But no matter where you live and garden, you can still preserve the summers bounty to enjoy during the cold winter days.


bush beans

Setting a goal to grow at least 50% of our own food comes with the additional labor of preserving that food. We thought about this and have decided to use five methods of preservation. Please know that there are more methods than what I am listing here which I will mention but will not go in to details since I am not familiar with them.


How we preserve our harvest:

  1. Canning.

  2. Dehydrating

  3. Freezing

  4. Curing/drying

  5. Fermenting


Canning


You can preserve almost any fruit or vegetable using this method. It does require some special supplies, time and effort but the end product is safe to eat for many months (if an approved recipe is used and all steps are closely followed). I love canning beans, tomatoes, salsa, pickles and squash.


purple pole beans

Dehydrating


What I love about dehydrating is that the end product takes up fraction of the space it would if frozen. I dehydrated 2 whole cabbages and they fit in one quart size mason jar! You can buy a fancy dehydrator or you can use the sun to dry it for you. I have used our car on a sunny day to dehydrate cabbage, spinach, kale, collards and strawberries. I have dehydrated leeks and zucchini slices as well.




Freezing


If you have the freezer space this method probably takes the least amount of time. You just have to wash, chop, place in bags and stick it in the freezer. I use this method for strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, rhubarb, corn, spinach, kale, grated zucchini and pumpkin puree.


rhubarb

Curing/drying


There are some vegetables that will lasts months if they are dried properly. Onions, garlic, potatoes, winter squash and sweet potatoes. Our cured garlic lasts over 6months at room temperature. I still have winter squash we harvested last November that are still good to eat. This is a great method of preservation if you have the space inside the house to store them.


Kakai Pumpkin

Other methods of preservation: We have not used these but I'll mention them anyway.


Freeze Drying

Root cellar

Oil packing

Salting


I hope you all are thinking about ways to preserve your garden bounty. It is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labor during the cold winter day when everything outside is dormant.


Happy Gardening!

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