When it comes to preserving a garden harvest, you have many other options than just canning jars. In fact, it’s actually quite easy to preserve your entire harvest without ever having to can at all.
Although canning is indeed an economical and space-saving method for storing food – it’s not the only choice.
In addition to canning, we also use a combination of freezing and drying to preserve large portions of our harvest each year. And in many cases, we actually prefer those two methods over canning for taste and ease of use.
For us, there are just some foods that simply taste better when preserved by methods other than canning. A great example is sweet corn.
It’s not that canned corn tastes bad, it’s just that freezing it seems to preserve the super-sugary freshness better. And who doesn’t love the incredible taste of just-picked sweet corn?
Here is a look at how to preserve your garden harvest – without ever having to fire up your canner up at all!
How To Preserve Garden Without Canning
Freezing is an excellent choice for storing food, especially when it comes to vegetables, soups, sauces and salsa. Yes, it does require a bit of energy via electricity – but it is an efficient way to process food. And – extremely safe!
One thing is for sure though, to get the most from your freezing efforts, a food saver is a must! Not only does it preserve food fast and at the highest level of freshness, it’s also an incredible space saver too! Product Link : Food Saver
But the real key to success is using it to save food how you will use it most when you need it. For us that means freezing both individual, and family size vegetable packets.
The larger sizes are perfect when preparing a big family meal. But the small packets are even better, because they are just the right size for a meal for two. And that means little waste, resulting in stretching your hard-earned harvest even farther.
But, to really get the most of your freezing efforts, you can freeze more than just individual packets of vegetables.
Case in point, ready-made vegetable stir fry packets. We mix in onions, peppers, sweet peppers and sugar snap peas to make homemade instant stir-fry packets.
We also make frozen packets of frozen vegetables for roasts, casseroles and more. They are simply wonderful for creating quick and tasty meals on a moment’s notice.
Creating Freezer Bricks – The Ultimate Way To Preserve Garden Fresh Food
We also use the freezing method to preserve ready made foods into what we call freezer bricks – and they are perfect for having sauces, soups and even salsa at the ready!
We start by making our homemade pasta and spaghetti sauce, soups and various salsas. After they cool, we then quick- freeze them into temporary 1 quart plastic rectangular slim-style containers. (See : Homemade Freezer Spaghetti Sauce)
Next, we pop them out of the container, and seal them with the food saver. The ultra-thin “bricks” store easily and efficiently.
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. See : Making & Saving Homemade Harvest Soup
The best part, once they are in the food saver bags, they store easily and efficiently in the freezer. Recipes : See : Freezer Spaghetti Sauce
Drying – Preserving A Garden Without Canning
In addition to freezing, we also preserve quite a bit of our harvest by drying
With many crops, such as garlic, potatoes and onions, we simply dry and cure our crops to preserve. Beyond the drying process, all that is needed is a cool, dark spot – and the produce can keep over the entire winter.
But the drying process can also be used to create so much more! Like sun-dried tomatoes, homemade hot pepper flakes, taco seasoning, chili seasoning, chipotle peppers, and garlic powder too! (See : How To Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes)
It can all be done easily with a small dehydrator, or even with an oven turned on low (175 degrees) to dry and preserve all kinds of goodness.
Late each summer, we use our oven to dry and grind down hundreds of our peppers to make homemade hot pepper flakes, pepper powder and more. And then we blend them with additional spices to create taco seasonings, chili powder, and even popcorn seasoning. See : How To Make Hot Pepper Flakes or How To Make Chili Powder & Chili Seasoning.
Here is to preserving your garden harvest without having to can! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary
As always, feel free to email us at email@example.com with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. This article may contain affiliate links.