Recently, I came across a challenge on Instagram that encouraged folks to find something in their garden each day of August that could be preserved. The challenge was best suited to Northern Hemisphere climates and end-of-summer produce but I loved the idea so thought I’d give it a go for a few days to see what I could come up with.
We moved to our current home in March of this year and within a couple of weeks my husband had put in nine beautiful big veggie beds for me (pictured above), however I’d been rather disappointed by the output. I’d put loads of winter vegetables in, but it felt like nothing except the pak choi really produced for me over the autumn and winter months.
Committing to this little preserving challenge for a few days produced some happy results and I hope it might for you as well.
On the first day, I went out to my garden and spied nothing that could be used with our dinner that evening, but an enormous amount of parsley that would shortly go to seed. I didn’t want it to be wasted so with the goal of preserving in mind, I picked it all, blitzed it and froze it in small portions in an ice cube tray for future soups, casseroles and roasts. I was thrilled to find a good use for something that would otherwise have gone to the chooks.
On the second day, as I was wracking my brain for something I could pick and preserve NOW, I remembered some mint that the previous owner had left here in a pot. I picked it all and turned it into mint sauce which I have in the freezer for the next time we need it.
The third day saw me cutting back a huge excess of shallots. I use shallots a lot, but couldn’t quite keep up with what was coming out of the garden so I did a complete wipe-out, chopped them up and froze them in portions, ready to throw in soup or stew at a moment’s notice. Incidentally, the next day I needed shallots for chicken soup and it was pouring rain so having the shallots already in the freezer saved me from a drenching and having them pre-cut saved me a few minutes at a hectic time of day. Win-win.
What I loved about this challenge is that it made me look at my garden in a different light to previously. Whereas before I would look at my garden in terms of what could be used immediately (for dinner that evening) rather than in terms of what could be harvested and preserved. It was well worth doing and something I’ll try and do more of in the future, even if just once or twice a month. It reminded me that there is almost always something amazing in the garden… if only we have our eyes open for something different.