When it comes to preserving vegetables from the garden, most people think instantly of canning.
Canning is indeed one of the most economical and space-saving ways to store food. But it is certainly not for everyone.
For one, canning can be time consuming. Add to it – if you don’t have the jars and equipment, it can also be a bit expensive to start. And for many, there is of course the worry of canning safely.
Rest assured, it is absolutely safe when properly done, but there are other options than canning when it comes to easily saving your garden harvest.
We have always used a combination of freezing, drying and canning to preserve our harvest.
For us, there are just some foods that simply taste better when preserved by methods other than canning. One of the biggest examples for us is corn.
It’s not that canned corn tastes particularly bad, it’s just that freezing it always seems to preserve the super-sugary freshness and incredible taste of just-picked sweet corn so much better than canned corn.
We actually freeze and dry a lot of our harvest. We dry and store garlic, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes – and even many of our peppers. And when it comes to freezing, we preserve everything from chopped fresh vegetables, to fruit, sauces, applesauce, jam and more. In fact, if canning simply isn’t “your thing,” you can quite easily preserve all of your harvest through drying and freezing.
Preserving Vegetables Without Canning
Freezing – Preserving Vegetables Without Canning
Freezing is an excellent choice for storing food, especially when it comes to soups, sauces and vegetables. And if you are going to go down the freezing route, a food saver is a must!
A food saver lets you safely and quickly freeze an entire garden of goodness. We use it to freeze individual and family size vegetable packets. We have found having the large sizes are perfect when preparing a large family meal. But the small packets are just the right size for a meal for two. The food saver has made freezing food quick and easy. See : Food Saver , or Food Saver Mini Style
One of our favorites is to freeze ready-made vegetable stir fry packets. We mix in onions, peppers, sweet peppers and sugar snap peas to make homemade instant stir-fry packets. They are perfect for creating quick and tasty meals on a moment’s notice.
Beyond freezing fresh veggies, we also use our freezer packets for soups and sauces. We make them into what we call freezer bricks. Not only are they quick and easy to make – they are wonderful for conserving space.
We simply make our homemade pasta sauce or soups, and then freeze them into temporary 1 quart plastic rectangular slim-style containers. Then we take them back out, slip them out of the plastic, and seal them with the food saver.
The bricks are perfect for super-fast meals anytime. They can be thawed on the stove and be ready in 15 minutes or less. The pasta sauce bricks can go into a slow cooker in the morning and be ready when you get home.
The best part, once they are in the food saver bags, they store easily and efficiently in the freezer.
Mary even makes freezer jam too. Our Strawberry Freezer Jam is perfect for freezing and keeping jam on hand whenever needed. And it is incredibly delicious!
Drying – Preserving Vegetables Without Canning
Speaking of efficient, nothing is more cost-effective than storing foods by drying.
With many of our crops, such as garlic, potatoes and onions, we can cure and store the crop in a cool, dark place for use throughout the winter.
But also make our own dried hot pepper flakes, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, chipotle peppers, garlic powder and more from simply drying the harvest. It can be done easily with a small dehydrator, or with an over turned on low (175 degrees) to dry peppers out. The taste of homemade is simply out of this world! Product Link : Master Dehydrator – Presto Mini Dehydrator
Here is to preserving your own great tasting food from your garden this year!