This time of year is one of the most rewarding for us gardeners! Whether you’re homesteading, large-scale farming or tending a family garden in your backyard, there is nothing quite like the excitement of harvesting your own food. And for those of us in the north with our short growing season, the summer is packed with tending, picking, washing, canning, freezing, and of course eating, the harvest. Whatever method you choose to preserve and store your produce, you’re probably busy at work these days!
Here is what we’ve put up so far this season:
- Frozen strawberries (I intended to make preserves, but ran out of time while they were fresh)
- Frozen Raspberries
- Frozen Blueberries
- Canned Peach Applesauce
- Canned Peach Preserves and Peach Peel Jelly – love this!
- Pickles using an old family recipe (I’ll also be trying my hand at lacto-fermented garlic dill pickles later this week)
- Frozen swiss chard and chopped celery for soups, stews, etc.
- Onions curing for storage
- Dried herbs – dill, rosemary, basil, oregano, mint and cilantro
The Peach Peel Jelly was a first for me this year. My cousin was visiting when I canned peaches, and I sat there looking at the bowl of “waste” peels and pits, and said to her “someone has to have figured out something useful for these”. Although I’d happily give it to the chickens to produce us yet more food in the form of eggs, or to the compost pile to someday nourish our soil and produce more veggies, it just still seemed wasteful to not use those lovely peels somehow in the kitchen. A quick internet search showed me that, yes indeed, someone has thought of a way to use those peels – in fact, a very delicious way to use them! The Peach Peel Jelly turned out lovely, with a nice mild and sweet flavor. I’ll definitely be doing this again! (And will probably try a similar method to with our apple peels this fall!). Here’s a link to the recipe I used, although there are many versions of this out there.
I’ll be adding to the list much more in the coming weeks, as we’re beginning to swim in veggies from the garden. What are your favorite ways to preserve the harvest?