If your garden is thriving this summer, you may have more produce than you know what to do with. After donating extra veggies and herbs to family and friends, you might want to preserve some of your homegrown harvest so you can enjoy it throughout the winter.
Tomatoes and peppers
Canning tomatoes is a complicated procedure that requires a fair amount of equipment. And although frozen tomatoes won't taste quite as good, Gardner's Supply Company explained that freezing is a much easier method to preserve your extra harvest. The process is as easy as putting your tomatoes into a plastic bag and then into the freezer. When you're ready to use them, run a frozen tomato under hot water and the skin will peel right off.
Peppers picked from your garden are easily preserved in a similar method to the one described above. Just freeze them on a cookie sheet and transfer into bags when solid.
Zucchini, squash and beans
Summer squashes require a little more preparation before they can be frozen, but it's still an easy process. To freeze your zucchini and squash, Simply Canning recommended cutting the produce into slices and blanching it. To blanch your vegetables, bring a pot of water to a boil. Put in your chopped produce and cook for three minutes. Immediately strain the vegetables and submerge in cold water. Once they're cooled, drain them and pat dry. Now they're ready to be placed into a freezer bag and stored for the season.
Beans need to be blanched in the same way as squash, minus the chopping. The sooner you process your beans, the more nutrients they'll retain. Just blanch the whole bean, blot dry and store in freezer bags.
There are two ways to preserve herbs, both of which are quick and easy. The first technique, as suggested by Gardener's Supply Company, works best with basil, parsley, mint and coriander. All you need to do is remove the stems and run the herb through a food processor. Put the processed leaves in a plastic bag and coat with just a little olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer). That bag can go right into the freezer, and if you flatten it down, it's easy to break off a piece to add to cooking.
The second method is to simply dry them. Sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary and bay leaves are ideal for this method. Just bundle a group of stalks and hang them somewhere dark and dry. When the leaves dry out, pick them off and store in jars.
The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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