Preserving the Harvest
Summer is quickly approaching and it’s an exciting time to enjoy the bounty of produce that warm weather brings! This is also a great time to preserve some of this produce for later use, so you can enjoy it at other times of the year.
Some of the methods we use the most often are pickling, freezing and drying. These are all fairly simple techniques, but great ways to keep farm produce available throughout the year.
Pickles are a great way to preserve many types of produce. While you may be most familiar with pickles made from cucumbers, you can use the same process with lots of other vegetables. We’ve made lots of pickled radishes, pickled zucchini and summer squash and this year we even experimented with pickled green peaches (maybe you’ve had a chance to try some at our market!).
There are many options for recipes and methods of pickling. You can make a quick pickle (to preserve your produce for a few weeks in the fridge) or use the water bath canning method (to preserve the produce for several months at room temperature).
Here is one recipe for Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes. These are best about 5 days after pickling, but can stay in the fridge for several weeks.
Canning your pickles using a boiling water bath will allow you to make shelf stable pickles, which allow you to save them for even longer. Try this recipe to pickle radishes using a boiling water canner.
Another great way to preserve the harvest is through blanching and freezing. Blanching is when you quickly dip your produce in boiling water. This process stops enzyme activity and helps preserve the flavor and texture of the vegetables once you’ve had them in the freezer. This is an especially great technique for leafy greens such as kale and collards, but can also be used for carrots, beans, peppers, herbs etc. This website has useful guides for freezing all type of produce.
Some items, like fresh herbs can simply be dried to be used at a later date. Hanging your herbs in a bunch in your kitchen can be very simple, as long as you make sure they get enough air circulation. For more tips and techniques, check out this guide.
So, come by the farm during our weekly market on Wednesday from 3-7 and pick up some produce for your preserving project or just grab some of our already pickled items!