What to Do with Those Extra Summer Vegetables
Are you enjoying the fruits of the labor you put into your garden? If you are like me, who “specializes” in growing an edible garden, you may have already been through a season of endless cucumbers and are now overwhelmed by loads of tomatoes and zucchinis. So what do you do with the surplus fruits and vegetables?
How to Store Surplus Vegetables Long Term
Do you freeze them? Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve fruits and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes, beans and rhubarb. Do you dry them? Dehydrating fruit slices and herbs will give them a long shelf life. Or do you can them?
Canning involves heating food in mason jars to destroy the microorganisms that spoil food. The heating process will also remove air from the container, creating a vacuum-sealed product. But remember, botulism spores in food cannot be eliminated even with heat. If you decide to can your garden produce, follow the USDA’s “Complete Guide to Home Canning” to make sure you are canning safely and correctly.
Best Canned Tomatoes Recipes
Of the three ways to preserve the garden harvest, I like canning the most. Home-canning heirloom tomatoes has become an annual ritual. Below are a few recipes I saved over the years:
- Canned Diced Tomatoes requires the least effort but yields the most versatile product. You can even skip the steps of removing the tomato skin and coring the tomatoes. All you need for this recipe are tomatoes, lemon juice and salt.
- Water-Bath Safe Canned Roasted Tomato Sauce with crushed red pepper flakes is a great dinner staple. I also like to squeeze all the juice out of the tomato cores to make a Bloody Mary.
- Salsa is not only a great appetizer, but also an essential ingredient for this quick one-pot pasta (which is an excellent weeknight dinner recipe). You may also want to make extra salsa to give as gifts!
How do you like to preserve and use your garden vegetables?