Before the frost shuts down your summer garden, have a harvest festival for your tender summer vegetables. You’ll be inundated with things like tomatoes, green beans, and peppers. Do you have a plan in place for dealing with them? Here are a few ways to preserve them for wintertime eating.
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Impending Frost? Time for a Harvest Festival!
When there’s word of a frost coming, I hustle around the yard harvesting what won’t survive. Homegrown tomatoes, green beans, and bell peppers are some of the big harvests that overwhelm my kitchen at this time of year. The truth is that in years past I wasn’t ready for this inundation and it nearly cost me my harvests! This year I was ready with a plan.
There are three main preservation methods: canning, drying, and freezing. I like to use all of these methods to produce a variety of products. In the dead of winter, variety is key!
If you’re nervous to try canning, check out the Getting Started with Canning checklist by Untrained Housewife. As far as dehydrating goes, I ruined quite a few batches of fruit and vegetables on a cheap dehydrator. I now adore my Excalibur dehydrator.
What to do with Tomatoes
Canning tomatoes is an involved and messy process, but if you can follow a recipe, you can “can” tomatoes! Here’s why I prefer my pressure canner. You can even use it to make some delicious creations with your green tomatoes! I adore the green tomato chutney in my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
- 2 Homemade ketchup recipes (lacto-fermented and canned) by Common Sense Homesteading
- Chow chow relish (for those green tomatoes) by Attainable Sustainable
- Try canning garden fresh marinara tomato sauce by Reformation Acres
- Home canned salsa by Common Sense Homesteading
- Home canned spaghetti sauce by Common Sense Homesteading
- Home canned tomato soup by Common Sense Homesteading
- How to can tomatoes by The Homesteading Hippy
- Try canning oven roasted tomato sauce by Little Sprouts Learning
- Preserving tomatoes as salsa by Attainable Sustainable
- Seasoned tomato sauce recipe for home canning by Grow a Good Life
- Try canning roasted cherry tomato sauce by Reformation Acres
- Try canning roasted tomato pizza sauce by Homespun Seasonal Living
- Tomato jam by Better Hens and Gardens
- Homemade sun dried (really oven dried) tomatoes by Better Hens and Gardens
- How to dehydrate tomatoes and making tomato chips by Grace Garden and Homestead
- How to make “sun dried” tomatoes (another variation) by Homestead Lady
- Making tomato powder by A Farm Girl in the Making
When your harvest festival doesn’t draw enough tomatoes to warrant more canning, try stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to store in the freezer for warming wintertime chili.
- Fall freezer tomato sauce by Better Hens and Gardens
- Handy homemade spicy diced tomatoes by Little Sprouts Learning
- Try freezing homemade crockpot tomato sauce by Grow a Good Life
What to do with Green Beans
- Canning beans for the time crunched by Homespun Seasonal Living
- Dilly green beans by Attainable Sustainable
- How to can green beans by Common Sense Homesteading
- How to pressure can green beans by Flip Flop Barnyard
- Lacto fermented dilly beans by Grow Forage Cook Ferment
- Lacto-fermented green beans by Learning and Yearning
- Pickled dilly beans by Common Sense Homesteading
- Try canning spicy lemon pickled beans by Timber Creek Farm
Dehydrating green beans is really easy to do because you know they’re done when they are crispy. This is way easier than dehydrating apples, for example, because for apples you want them to be a little soft and chewy, which takes some monitoring to get them to the right stage of moisture.
For green beans, you set it and forget it. I takes about 9 hours in my dehydrator. I add them to wintertime chili, and they’re good in soups, too (meals in which moisture will rehydrate them).
Freezing green beans is a pretty straightforward process. But when the freezer is full, it’s time to find another way!
What to do with Bell Peppers
The end-of-season peppers get added to my green tomato chutneys, and they can be made into a number of delicious salsas, sauces, jellies, and relishes in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
- How to can bell peppers by The Homesteading Hippy
I like to dehydrate bell peppers in strips until they are leathery (about 7 hours in my dehydrator), then use them for chilis and stews. Or I rehydrate them in water before adding them to omelettes, burgers, or meatloaf.
- How to dehydrate peppers for food storage by Grow Forage Cook Ferment
Freezing peppers is my first love. Here’s how I freeze them and use them later. And here’s more on freezing (and a little on drying) peppers. I chose the largest peppers to freeze in halves for wintertime stuffed peppers.
- How to freeze peppers (another variation) by Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers
With a little planning ahead, you can make sure that your late season harvest festival goes off without a hitch and that all the produce gets saved for abundant wintertime eating.
What kinds of creative ways have you found to use up the end-of-season bounty?
This post was shared on Tasty Tuesday.