If gardening is a favorite hobby of yours, you usually end up with a lot of fruits and vegetables at the end of each season. Not knowing what to do with the leftover fruits and vegetables afterwords, could result in major waste. Preserving vegetables from your Fall harvest is something that you may want to learn how to do, in order to avoid this. Preserving the harvest can let you enjoy the fruits of your labor for many months to come.
There are several methods for preserving your Fall harvest vegetables. These methods are: storing, freezing, canning, drying, and pickling. I will describe, in great depth, two of the most popular ways to preserve your Fall harvest vegetables.
Storing is the easiest method used. However, storing is not always the way that will let your vegetables last the longest. Most vegetables do not have a long shelf life. Vegetables that are able to be cured, and root vegetables always last the longest in storage. Winter squash and onions are amongst these vegetables. For storage the materials needed are: airtight containers, a basement area, a sink to rinse your vegetables in, and of course your vegetables.
The first thing you need to do is look at all of your vegetables. If any vegetables are bruised or immature, you shouldn’t use storing as a way to preserve them. Store only the fully mature, healthy vegetables. Next, make sure you separate each kind of vegetable. After that you’ll want to rinse off each vegetable. Make sure they are free of dirt, and clean before you get them ready for storage. After they are rinsed you will want to let them air dry. Before placing the vegetables into the storage containers, if you have winter squash keep a few inches of stem on them. Also, cut the green tops of roots to about an inch. Last, place the sorted vegetables into the airtight storage containers. Bring them down to a basement area. The basement is a moist area that is a perfect place for storage. Successful storage depends on a proper choice of crops, suitable temperature and humidity, careful harvesting and preparation, and your own special care during the storage period. Just make sure you open the airtight containers every once in a while, checking to see if your vegetables are still fresh. Do this once a month for adequate care.
Freezing can be the best method for retaining nutrients, color, texture, and even flavor, in your Fall harvest vegetables. For freezing your vegetables you will need a freezer, a large pot, a stove, a roll of paper towels, and plastic bags made especially for food freezing.
The first thing you will do is called blanching your vegetables. Blanching stops enzyme actions which cause loss of flavor, color, texture and nutrients even in frozen storage. Put the large pot on the stove and scald the vegetables in boiling water for a short time. Next, take the vegetables out, group each kind of vegetable and towel dry them. After they are all towel dried stick them inside the plastic freezer bags. Last, stick them inside the freezer. Make sure the freezer temperature is at zero degrees farenheit, or lower. You could also set your freezer control for -10 degrees farenheit the day before freezing, in order to speed the process. Freeze the vegetables immediately after you put them inside the plastic freezer bags.