Monday, January 21, 2013

Preserving the Harvest

Shopping for your dinner in the backyard is one of the most gratifying experiences ever. But sometimes we are faced with way too much stuff and we have to figure out how to make the most of it all.  I air-dry flowers and herbs for teas and dehydrate all kinds of edibles to make my own spice blends. I use the "Ball Blue book" and Ball "Book of Home Preserving" of to do all my canning. I follow those recipes closely to prevent botulism. Up until now I have only used a hot water bath for acid-based products. However this year I plan to purchase a pressure canner so that I can can all types of goodies from the garden. I'll add a special post as I learn, so you can join me.

Air drying garlic for year round enjoyment

Air drying chamomile for tea 


Pickling is one of my favorite methods of preservation. For cucumbers, I fill a quart jar with sliced cucumbers, sliced onion, three or four fresh dill heads, several cloves of garlic, black peppercorns, half vinegar/half water, and a teaspoon of salt. No heat processing, just left on the counter for a few days, then straight into the fridge. Usually one quart jar or a couple of pints will last me a year until the next season. I make different pepper blends such as, jalapenos and garlic, banana peppers and garlic, sweet peppers, garlic, and ginger, and others. I like garlic...

Drizzle olive oil over kale and bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes.

All sorts of possibilities with basil...

Fire-roasting or grilling your veggies before canning adds a unique taste.


Most all garden goodies can be dehydrated, too. Great for homemade sausages...chorizo, sage, Italian

Reconstitute cayenne peppers in salted vinegar, add some garlic. Marinate for a few days then puree for a spicy hot sauce.

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