Making the Most of Your Garden Harvest
Tending your garden has kept you in motion all summer. Now all your hard work has paid off in a garden overflowing with a harvest of colourful vegetables and fruit.
Do you have more fresh produce than you can handle? There are many ways to make the most of your veggies and fruit so you can continue enjoying their fresh taste and countless nutrients during the colder months of the year.
How can you make the most of your harvest?
- Sharing - Spread the wealth with friends and family.
- Freezing - Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh ones, so freeze extra produce to use throughout the year. Blanch, or boil the vegetables for a few minutes, cool and portion into freezer bags. For information on freezing specific vegetables, visit www.GardenGuides.com.
- Batch cooking - For large amounts of zucchini or pumpkins, use them in soups or stews. Then portion them into small containers and freeze for quick lunches and dinners.
- Roasting - Roasting vegetables is a great way to concentrate the flavour of your produce to enjoy throughout the winter. For example, Roma tomatoes are good for roasting. Cut lengthwise, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with Italian seasoning or other herbs, and place on a pan cut side up. Roast at 375oF for 30 minutes. For a meatier and deeper flavour, slow-roast at 200oF for 8-10 hours. Freeze roasted vegetables for up to three months for use in pastas, soups, stews or on pizza.
- Canning - Try canning extra tomatoes for pasta sauce or make into salsa. Extra fruit? Try making applesauce, jams or jellies. For recipes and instructions, visit www.homecanning.com.
- Dehydrating - When moisture is removed from vegetables and fruit, they can last for up to six months. You can dry almost anything from your garden-just wash well, chop or slice into thin pieces (about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick), then lay out to dry.
Two methods of drying:
1. Oven drying - Set the oven to under 200oF. Prop the door open and set a fan to blow across the opening to remove moisture. It may take 6 to 16 hours.
2. Commercial dehydrator - Set at 150oF for 6 to 16 hours, until your vegetables or fruit are crisp.
Note: Do you have peels or spoiled vegetables or fruit? Don't throw them away! Consider starting a compost to add nutrient-rich fertilizer to your garden next summer.
Christy Lanoo, Dietetic Intern