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How to Preserve Your Summer Harvest

Is there anything more gourmet than homegrown vegetables? Only fresh vegetables that have been hand-selected and lovingly preserved! Knowing how to preserve your garden harvest not only helps to keep your veggies fresh for longer, but it also allows you to experiment with new and exciting textures, flavors, and presentations with every meal. Here are four great ways to store your beloved fruits, veggies, and herbs!

In a Pickle

Many of your favorite garden veggies can be made into tangy, delicious pickles! Pickled veggies add a high note and a touch of crunch to sandwiches and burgers while also making great side dishes and snacks, straight out of the jar. To try your hand at pickling, boil two cups each of vinegar and water and add two tablespoons of kosher salt and anywhere from three to six tablespoons of white sugar, depending how sweet you want them. Add the prepared veggies to sterile jars and fill to the top with brine, allowing to cool, uncovered, for two hours. Finally, store the sealed jars in the fridge and enjoy for up to three weeks.

Great for preserving beans, asparagus, beets, cabbage, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, green tomatoes, ripe tomatoes.

You Can Do It!

If you want to know how to build up a long-term food supply, canning might be the best method to preserve your garden harvest. Properly-canned veggies can keep for up to five years in storage, which adds significant savings on your grocery bill. To can vegetables safely, you’ll need a pressure canner, and to follow the product directions very carefully. Generally speaking, you’ll need to boil your vegetables for five minutes to kill any foodborne pathogens and use sterile cans and lids. Cans should be stored in a cool, dark environment (like a cellar) and should be discarded if you find any dents or evidence that the jar doesn’t have an airtight seal.

Great for preserving beans, asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, peppers, corn, mushrooms, peas, tomatoes, and summer squash.

Learn how to make Bread & Butter Pickled Green Tomatoes

Feeling Dehydrated?

Like you and I, vegetables are chock-full of water. If that water is removed, the fiber, flavor, and nutrients remain, but the plant no longer has enough moisture for its usual decomposition process. Dehydrating is a great way to prepare your own veggie chips, natural fruit snacks, garnishes, dry herbs, and flavor blends for reconstituting into soups, stews, and sauces. Using a dehydrator machine is the most effective way to preserve your harvest this way, but placing your garden produce in a single layer on a cookie sheet and baking for long periods at low heat can also do the job. Your veggies are done when they’re brittle enough to snap and crumble. Store in airtight bags or containers in a cool, dark place.

Great for preserving apples, bananas, beets, berries, beans, corn, citrus, peas, pears, peaches, potatoes, apples, mangoes, onions, root vegetables, and herbs.

It’s Freezing In Here!

One of the simplest methods to preserve your garden harvest is simply by freezing them. Before freezing, veggies will need to be blanched, or placed in boiling water for one to two minutes before getting plunged in an ice bath. If done right, blanching will make your produce’s colors pop while preparing the plant matter to retain flavor, water, and nutrients during the freezing process. Lay the blanched veggies out in a single layer of paper towels and allow them to dry completely before bagging and freezing. This will prevent icy clumps from forming and make them much easier to thaw and prepare later on.

Great for preserving corn, peas, broccoli, berries, apples, pears, peaches, mangoes, green beans, kale, cauliflower, onions, peppers, celery, summer squash, herbs, and salad greens.

Once you’ve got the know-how to preserve your garden harvest, you’re ready to get creative with your next culinary adventures! Visit our garden center in Newport Beach today for more edible inspiration.