Tips for Harvesting and Preserving Produce from the Vegetable Garden

When people see my veggie patch, I’m usually met with comments about how much weeding must be involved.

Actually, weeding takes a very small portion of time. I tend to pick a few weeds out each time I walk past so it never feels like an onerous task.

What is onerous though is the harvesting and preserving.

If you’re blessed with a prolific garden, you’ll probably find that what takes up the bulk of your time is the gathering, cleaning, storing and preserving.

Because you don’t just come back from the garden with one carrot. You come back with 10. You don’t just come back with a couple of zucchinis. You usually have a dozen needing to be picked on the same day. When one tomato is ripe, there are a hundred more close behind it.

This is an enormous blessing and something I don’t take for granted but it’s important to mentally prepare for this and to have a plan for how you’ll store all the gorgeous produce and how much you’ll gift out. The last thing you want is to have incredible home-grown produce going mouldy in the bottom of the fridge.

Here are some things you can do to help ease the harvesting load a little:

🌱 Keep all jars and containers and use them to store produce in the freezer – for example, grated zucchini can be frozen for bulking up casseroles over winter.

🌱 Home-grown tomatoes are the best things fresh from the garden but when you have a glut they can be frozen to make pasta sauce later on.

🌱 Excess herbs can be dried and used for seasoning or teas.

🌱 Pumpkins store incredibly well as is.

🌱 Celery and leek can be frozen but they also make great gifts for friends and neighbours.

🌱 Stone fruits can be stewed and preserved (best if you’re short on freezer space) or frozen for use in crumbles and pies over winter. They can be used to make cordial, juices and fermented beverages.

🌱 Wash the bulk of the dirt off near the garden (particularly for root vegetables), then wash the rest off in the sink using a bucket and strainer to catch the water and return it to the garden. Less waste and less dirt potentially building up in your pipes.

Would love to hear from you. How do you manage a wonderful harvest?

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