How to Preserve Your Fall Harvest


Home Canned Fresh Vegetables

Whether you buy your produce from your local farmer's market or harvest it from your own garden, you should always try to preserve as much of your food as possible so that none of it goes to waste. There are many ways to preserve your summer and fall harvests. Most methods will preserve the food for up to a year or longer.

Canning

All types of food can be canned including meat. Cut the fruits, vegetables or cooked meats into small chunks and cover with a brine or juice. There are two different types of canning, cool seal and hot bath. For a cold seal process, the foods are placed in the jars while they are at their hottest and the lids screwed on tightly. As the food cools, the cans will seal. The hot bath canning method is more reliable, however, because the filled jars are placed in a boiling water bath and then allowed to set until the lids begin to seal.

Freezing

Meats, vegetables, fruits and grains can all be easily frozen. Meats can be frozen either cooked or raw. Most cooks recommend blanching fruits and vegetables before freezing them. Grains can be placed in the freezer as long as they have been thoroughly dried and are in an airtight container.

Drying

Many people dry sliced fruits and use them as snacks throughout the year. Meats can also be easily dried and preserved. Once the foods have been thoroughly dehydrated, they need to be stored in an airtight container. 

Canned foods will remain viable longer than other preserved foods. It is recommended that frozen foods be used within the year and dried or dehydrated foods within six to nine months.

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