We keep our harvest, but we don’t can

 

By this time in the season many people have pulled out their ball jars, boiled their lids and are well on their way to filling their pantry with home preserved goods.

We’re not doing any of that, and that’s by design.

 

160 heads of garlic last us until the next harvest.

 

We intentionally grow produce that will stay a long time without the hassle of canning.

  • Garlic stays in the basement until next year’s harvest. (We grow a lot of garlic.)
  • Onions will last several months in a corner.
  • Chives are chopped and frozen into logs that can be broken apart and used in everything from frittatas and quiches to sour cream and chive dip to chive cream cheese and more.
  • Herbs are chopped and frozen in logs for soups and other dishes.
  • Basil (and garlic) are made into pesto and frozen in ziplock bags made flat so we can stack them, and then used on pasta and pizza all year. (Scape pesto is great as a dip or a spread any time.)
  • Beans are chopped into 3″ pieces, boiled, rapidly cooled in ice water and then frozen.
  • Carrots last for weeks in the refrigerator for fresh eating, salads, soups and more.
  • Rinsed and ready to freeze.

    Raspberries are washed and frozen.

  • Potatoes stay just fine for a few months with no work.
  • Scallions are turned into scallion pancakes and frozen in double-layers of tin foil.
  • Peppers, including hot peppers, are washed, chopped and frozen.
  • Tomatoes will get slow roasted and frozen for salads, egg dishes and other meals but not canned as sauce or salsa.

Nothing against all of the work of canning, but for us it just doesn’t provide enough rewards because of what we like to eat.

We grow a lot of cherry and slicing type tomatoes. They can be simmered down to make sauces but it takes a very long time, so we slow roast them, which requires about 10 minutes of actual work even if it requires at least an hour of time in the oven. Sure, we could buy a bunch of paste tomatoes but it just isn’t worth it, for us. I’ll buy a bunch of Pomi brand no-BPA boxes of sauce and turn it into what I want as needed, without sacrificing space in my cabinets or time at the stove.

Basil and Garlic Scape pestos are made, flattened and frozen.

It also doesn’t pay off because of what we tend to eat. There’s no point making three dozen jars of jam because we eat probably two jars of jam a year, and at least one typically goes bad before it is finished. I’m just not interested in spending hours preserving salsa made with local tomatoes because I can buy a jar as needed that tastes really good. I don’t like pickles, so why make them? The list can go on.

The one exception is applesauce. We save unblemished apples for eating, but the less than perfect ones (which is most) get turned into apple sauce that can last us a year or more. To us, that is worth the time and effort, especially since they’re our apples.

So despite not canning, we’ll have more than plenty of preserved produce – the kinds we like to eat – with little to no extra effort.

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