Don’t drive yourself crazy as the fruits and veg come pouring in. Canning every single piece might make you nuts if you’re a successful gardener. Think about how you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor this winter and use this guide to decide what the best way is to keep each fruit or veggie ready to eat mid-winter.
Build a Root Cellar
Potatoes, beets, carrots, turnip, onions, garlic and cabbage will all store beautifully through the winter without taking the time to can or the space to freeze them if you live in a cold climate. Follow the instructions from Mother Earth News to create a traditional and highly effective root cellar in your basement for the most time and energy efficient way to preserve your veggies.
“Fresh frozen” is not contradiction. When you freeze a vegetable as close to picking as possible, you preserve it at it’s delicious peak. After washing and prepping your fruit and veg, dry them thoroughly and lay in a single layer on a tray. Transfer to an airtight container as soon as they’re solid for fresh, unlumpy veggies. Ideal for beans, corn, peas and berries. Health bonus? No salt required.
Learn How to Can, Stan
Let’s face it: some things demand canning. Pickles, sauces, and soft-fleshed fruits and veg likes peaches and tomatoes are difficult to preserve for long without the help of some glass jars and a water bath. But don’t wing it! Some vegetables, like green beans, put you in danger of botulism poisoning if you use a water bath instead of pressure canning. If possible, find a more knowledgeable friend to work with. Many hands make light work, right? And do your homework first.
Dry ’em Out
Dehydration is also a decent way to preserve food, though removing the liquid from your fruit and veggies does remove a useful source of hydration in your own diet. If you don’t want to spring for a dedicated dehydrator (though they are pretty efficient for energy and space and not terribly expensive), you can dry tomatoes, apples, beets, and a number of other tasty treats in your oven on a low setting.