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preserving the harvest

So harvest time is in full swing here at our house! You know it is when every portion of your 2 refrigerators, and all over the counters, there are green beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. As crazy as this time of year is (plus getting back to school and schedules), it's what I look forward to all year! How do I deal with it all? Well-I preserve it in multiple forms. The following are some things I'm doing right now:

1) Hardy Herbs: If you grow fresh hardy herbs like sage, thyme, oregano, mint, rosemary, and lavendar: cut them and tie them together. Hang upside down to dry, and then store. Great way to get cheep, organic herbs!

2) Fragile Herbs: If you grow fragile herbs like basil & parsley: puree them with some water and place into freezer trays. Once frozen, place herb cubes into freezer bags/containers for year-long storage. Or make pesto, and freeze in ice cube containers as well. Here's my oil free pesto!

3) Tomatoes (I do all of these):

  • Can be frozen whole. If doing this, before using, the skins will peel right off. Use as you would canned tomatoes in soups, sauces, and stews
  • Can be canned: To do so, peel (here's my video on how to do this), and add to canning jars along with bottled lemon juice and salt
  • Can be turned into sauce that's either frozen or canned. Here's a recipe for garden fresh sauce
  • Can be made into salsa: Here's my recipe for garden fresh salsa
  • Can be dehydrated: slice in decent slices, place on trays in dehydrator, and dehydrate at 118 degrees until no longer wet. About 18 hours, depending on your dehydrator.

4) Peppers: Chop and freeze, store in freezer containers

5) Eggplant: Can be roasted whole, and flesh scooped out and frozen, or add to sauces, ratatouille, and soups to freeze

6) Zucchini: shred and freeze in 2 cup increments. When ready to use, thaw, and squeeze out excess moisture. Or bake into goodies and freeze baked goods for treats throughout the year.Here's my most recent zucchini recipe for breakfast bars

7) Carrots: Chop and freeze

8) Edamame: harvest pods, blanch for 2 minutes, shock in cold water, dry and freeze in storage bags/containers

Look for a bunch of tomato recipes to be coming down the line....Best of luck and enjoy the season's bounty!

Jessica of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com

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