Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chapter 17 - No Canning or Freezing Required!

Don't Just Think About Planting, Think About The Harvest, too!

It'a spring and you're thinking about planting but now's the time to also think about the harvest and storage of your gorgeous produce.

No process winter storage
means less time in the kitchen 
Gardens always bless us with much more than we can eat or give away.  With a little planning, you can stretch summer's bounty through the winter without much work.

Choose seed varieties with descriptions like "long keeper",  "stores well" or something similar.  This means it will keep without canning or freezing.  Imagine that!

It's the "root cellar" concept but don't let that old fashioned term scare you.  All you need is a cool space like a spare room, mud room or hall way that doesn't have direct sunlight.

Winter squash, onions, spagetti squash, pumpkins, apples, carrots, beets and most root vegetables all store well in root cellars.  Even tomatoes will last for a couple of months.

"Good keeper" produce will
 last for months with out
canning or freezing  
Here's how:
Pick your produce.  Gently brush off the dirt but don't wash.  Remove leaves being careful not to cut into the meat of the produce or remove the stems.  Check for soft spots, blemishes or nicks.  Only perfect produce keeps well.  Store damaged produce separately and use that first.

Pile varieties separately in baskets or card board boxes and put into the cool area.  That's it!
Storage times vary but in general, it's months.  Check peridically and remove (and use) produce as it ripens or becomes over-ripened.

The sweet taste of summer
all winter long
Pick them green, just before the last frost.  Wrap each one individually and completely with newspaper (not the color sections) and place 1/4 inch apart in a card board box.  Don't stack more than 2 or 3 high (according to the weight of the tomatoes) so they don't squash.  Store in a cool place.  Tomatoes will keep till Thanksgiving - sometimes till Christmas.  Remove from storage and ripen on a sunny window as needed.  

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