Once you've harvested your produce, you want it to last so that you can enjoy it for as long a time as possible. This guide shows you how to preserve and store your produce.
Suitable harvests for storing are:
Storing ensures that your harvest can be edible for months after it is first picked. It is a simple method of keeping food fresh for which you need some boxes or crates and brown paper. To prepare your produce, cut the ends of vegetables such as beetroot and carrots, clean off any dirt and soil and leave in the sun for a while to prevent mould forming. Wrap up your produce with the paper and line the bottom of your container. With potatoes, make sure no sunlight reaches them as it will cause green inedible growth to appear.
Suitable harvests for freezing are:
At Thrive freezing is often used as a way of making sure that much of the harvest gathered in summer can be used throughout the year. This way client gardeners can still practice cookery skills throughout the seasons and even cater for events with soups and crumbles using a wide choice of ingredients. Put fruit and vegetables in airtight freezer bags or containers before freezing. Some fruits or vegetables will benefit from being blanched before the freezing process to prevent them suffering from ‘freezer burn’. To do this, simply place the fruit or vegetables in a pot of boiling water for a third of their usual cooking time, drain, allow to dry and towel off before packing them into the freezer.
Suitable harvests for drying are:
Take your produce and wash it before patting dry with a towel. Slice it thinly, making sure to remove core and seeds where necessary. Place the slices on a baking tray and cover with baking parchment. You can then either leave this outside to naturally dry out in the sunshine or place in the oven on a low setting for several hours. Look for shrinking and a crisping up of the produce to occur and then once complete, store in airtight containers.
Suitable harvests for pickling are:
Pickling can take a little longer than other preserving methods but it will ensure that the crisp vegetables you put in at the beginning remain so at the end. There are varying degrees of complexity to the process from simply washing and preparing your vegetables to adding herbs and spices to bulk up the flavour.
There are also a range of treatments for vegetables before the pickling itself begins. Onions and shallots will benefit from being placed in boiling water for around 20 minutes to make peeling them easier and then placed in salt overnight in the fridge before placing in vinegar. Carrots and beetroot can either be lightly roasted or par boiled before pickling takes place.
Pickling is achieved by placing your produce into sterilised jars with a vinegar solution (white wine vinegar works well). Jars can be sterilised by washing them thoroughly and placing them in a pre-heated oven at a temperature of 150c for 20 minutes.