Make Your Garden’s Bounty Last a Little Longer
You’ve gotten past the beginner gardener’s challenges, like learning when to fertilize and how to germinate seeds. Now you’re looking your successful harvest, hopefully more fruits and veggies than you can eat or share with your friends and neighbors. Fortunately, canning and preserving are fun and easy ways to enjoy your harvest during seasons to come. Try these recipes to give your harvest extra longevity.
Start Simple With Sauerkraut
If you’re growing cabbage, it’s easy to make sauerkraut. This simple lactic acid fermentation is a great sandwich garnish, but it’s also awesome in cold dishes like avocado and bean salads. Full of healthy B vitamins, fiber and vitamin C, raw sauerkraut is easy to make using:
- A head, or about five pounds, of purple or other cabbage,
- Three tablespoons of sea salt, and
- Mason jars.
Chop the cabbage into one-inch strips. Throw them into a mixing bowl as you go. When the bowl is full, take a break from chopping to mix in some of the salt. With a fresh cabbage, you’ll see the leaves begin to “sweat” as the salt draws out their moisture. This liquid will become the brine.
Put the salted cabbage in the jars. Press it down with a clean pestle or spoon. Repeat the above steps until you’ve filled up the jars or chopped all the cabbage. Press the material down until it’s fully submerged, cover the jar with a breathable cloth, and let it sit in a dark place.
For quicker results, ferment in warm areas, but avoid sunlight. Each day, press the kraut down to keep it submerged. It should be done, or nice and tangy, in a few days.
Simple Tomato Sauce
This is an easy way to enjoy tomatoes that would otherwise fall prey to birds and deer. Gather:
- Around 15 pounds of tomatoes, and
- About 1/2 cup of lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
Simmer the tomatoes and lemon juice for 30 to 90 minutes depending on how thick you like your sauce. Chop, cut or blend the tomatoes beforehand to reduce the chunkiness, or add salt for longer preservation. Saute garlic, onions or a bit of garam masala in the pot before tossing in the tomatoes to add unique flavor. Once you’re done simmering, can the sauce as is.
Peppers are prolific growers. If you’re blessed with an excess, gather those you’d like to can. To remove tough skins, roast them in an oven at around 400ºF until their surfaces bubble. Let the peppers cool under a moist cloth and peel them.
If you like to can with salt, you can add it now before filling each jar loosely with peppers. Finally, pour in boiling water until it’s about an inch from the top rim. Wipe the lip clean, tap the jars to force out air bubbles, and seal them.
These recipes are great for helping summer harvests last year round. Visit our Pinterest page for even more exciting project ideas! To kick your garden into high production or grab your canning gear, visit Rocky’s Ace Hardware today.