Friday, 2 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Storing your Garden Produce

Week 22 - Ways to preserve your harvest

Are you having a great year in the garden?  Do you have more produce than you know what to do with?  If friends are refusing your gifts of yet more runner beans and marrows, don't throw them away but read on to see how you can store your produce though the coming months.

7 Ways to Preserve your Harvest

1.  Shed storage and Clamping

This of you old enough to remember "The Good Life" on TV will probably also remember that Tom and Barbara could not have guests to stay as their spare room was completely full of stored fruit and vegetables!  A cool and frost-free shed or garage would possibly be a better choice for the average gardener where apples, potatoes, pumpkins, onions etc can all be stored, often right through the winter.  Some need light, others need dark and crops such as marrows do really well hung in nets or pairs of old tights to keep air all around them.  Some such as carrots do better stored in boxes of damp sand or you can take this further and create specialist vegetable clamps outside for potatoes and root crops.  You can find more details here on clamping.

It is important you only store non diseased/damaged produce and regularly check the store, removing anything that is showing signs of going bad.  Oh and I do have a small confession to make - I do store my pumpkins indoors ... although on the shelves up to the loft, not in the spare room!

2. Freezing

Once freezers became commercially viable storing many vegetables for long periods with much less risk of damage was handed to gardeners.  Produce could either be stored as it is or made into all sorts of ready made dishes.  Do remember to label everything well (I can assure you I didn't mean to add currants to my pork stew as I thought they were kidney beans) and add the date so you can eat the older produce before the newer things.

3. Drying

Any vegetable gardener who has had a good year will probably tell you that soon enough you will start to run out of freezer space so drying is a great alternative.  You can buy special fruit, vegetable and herb dryers/dehydrators or use a very cool oven, the heat of the sun (if you are lucky enough) or air dry products such as beans and herbs.

4.  Bottling and Canning

Bottling and Canning involves storing fruit and vegetables in specialist glass jars or cans.  Fruit in a sugar solution and tomatoes (whole or as a sauce) can safely be bottled using an oven or water bath to heat the contents and create the airtight seal.  However all other vegetables can only be canned or bottled using a specialist pressure canner otherwise there is a high risk of botulism developing.  Once properly bottled/canned produce can be stored for long periods and is ready to use straight away without the need to defrost or cook.

5. Salting

This method was popular in the past but is less so now.  Salted produce must be thoroughly soaked to remove the salt before cooking but many people say they prefer salted over frozen vegetables as the resulting product is more like fresh.

6.  Fermenting

Using lower salt levels allows for fermentation of vegetables to create such dishes as Sauerkraut and kimchi.  However when most people think of fermentation they think of alcohol and all sorts of fruit and vegetables can be fermented into wines or ciders.  You can also make fruit liqueurs by soaking fruits such as currants in vodka or eau de vie. 

7.  Preserves

Pickles, chutneys, relishes, ketchups, jams, jellies .... there are so many ways of preserving fruit and vegetables.  Some of my favourites include chilli courgette pickle, strawberry jam, spicy peach chutney and marrow and ginger jam.  Do you have a favourite preserve?

Have you managed to grow enough fruit and vegetables to store some for the coming months?  If so what is your favourite way of storing your produce through the year?

A Green and Rosie Life


  1. I need to get on board with this, there are so many things that grow in the garden and then go to waste because I don't know what to do with them afterwards. A project to learn X #PoCoLo

  2. So many great ideas Rosie. I freeze and make pickles and this year I'll be storing potatoes while they last somewhere, not in the spare room either. The shed could be an option. Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo and while choosing one photo is tricky, if you can it'd be great to include in our summer collage


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