There are many crops to choose for your garden, but these 5 crops are tailor-made for increasing the bounty of your garden. Learn how to properly store your garden’s harvest and you’ll be guaranteed to have plentiful food throughout the whole year.
One of the sustainable ways to live life is by being able to produce your own food. Especially if you’re adopting a healthier lifestyle, making conscious decisions about what you eat, or looking for ways to rely less on the grocery store.
When you grow your own food, you know how it was grown, that’s it’s free of harmful chemicals and toxins, and that it is readily available right outside your door.
Unfortunately, crops are seasonal so we can’t harvest most fruits and vegetables on a year-round basis. That’s why learning how to properly store certain foods will ensure that you have healthy, organic food available for you and your family, no matter what time of the year it is.
If you are planning your garden with preserving in mind, here are some of the best crops for food storage. You’ll want to grow these if you want to have enough to save for a rainy day:
One of the most popular foods grown in North America, tomatoes are a staple in Italian, and Mexican cuisines, and is an ingredient in other popular dishes such as meatloaf, chili, and soups.
There are several ways to preserve your tomatoes so that they will last. Canning is a popular method of preservation and tomatoes can be canned whole or turned into tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, or tomato paste. Properly canned tomatoes can keep for several years, although the flavor starts to decline after the first year.
Another popular option is to make sun-dried tomatoes. Simply cut your tomatoes into slices, place them on parchment paper in a tray, sprinkle salt over them, and pop the trays into an oven which as preheated at 150 degrees. Leave the oven door ajar, so the air can circulate. The tomatoes should be dry in 10-12 hours. Store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or place in a jar of olive oil and store in the refrigerator up to a month.
I also like to dehydrate tomatoes and turn them into tomato powder. This is super efficient if you have a bumper crop and are limited on storage space.
Green beans are a great addition to your garden because they can be used in a variety of ways. They are delicious in stir-fry dishes, casseroles, salads or steamed. They are also an excellent source to add vitamin C, A, and K into your food storage.
Green beans will stay fresh for several months if you freeze them properly. Trim the green beans and boil them for 2 to 4 minutes. This will ensure that they stay crispy when you cook them. Once you remove them from the boiling water, plunge them into a bowl of ice water and keep them there for the same amount of time as you boiled. Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet or use a plastic tub and layer them between parchment paper. Once frozen, place them in a large resealable freezer bag. Label with the month and year, and place them in the freezer.
Potatoes will keep for about 3 to 5 weeks in your pantry. This is hard to accomplish in your regular pantry, but if you have a root cellar or basement where the temperature is around 50 degrees, then your potatoes can last for as long as 3 months. Just make sure to check them regularly since just one rotten potato will ruin the rest.
Potatoes can also be frozen and canned. Use these blanching instructions and boil them for 3 to 5 minutes. When adding canned potato crops for food storage, remember they need to be processed with a pressure canner.
Gardeners love winter squash because it is easy to grow and keeps so well after harvest. In fact, the name “winter squash” refers to the time that the vegetable is stored. After harvesting it in fall, it’s simple to prepare squash so that it will last through the winter. This will ensure that you’ll have enough squash to add to your soups, side dishes, and even desserts.
All you need to do is to store the squash in a warm place which gets plenty of air circulation for a period of 10-14 days. Once you do that, you can store them in a cool, dry place for 3 to 6 months. Winter squash also freezes well and can be dehydrated and turned into powder. Use the same process as dehydrating Sweet Potatoes.
Berries are versatile and perhaps the easiest crops for food storage. You can freeze them, dehydrate them, can them, or turn them into jellies and jams. A great source of vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll feel special when you serve berries to your family during the middle of winter.
Use The Purposeful Pantry’s instructions to turn berries into a powder that can be added to just about anything.
Join Angi Schnieder and the Ultimate Bundles Team on Friday, May 15th, 2020 at 10 am or 4 pm EST. She’s covering 8 Mistakes Gardeners Make and How to Fix Them.
Since we’ve all just faced the aisles empty shelves at the grocery store during the pandemic, you might be wondering how secure your food supply actually is. I hope things aren’t too bad in your local grocery store, but you might be stressed out by continual negative news. Why not plant a hardy garden and start preserving food to take your mind off things?
Angi will be teaching about topics like:
- Soil health
- Watering best practices
- How to deal with pests
- How to buy the best foods for your body
- How to prioritize your planting schedule
- And more!
Learn how to properly store your garden’s harvest and you’ll be guaranteed to have plentiful food throughout the whole year. Not only well you reap the health benefits, but you’ll also save money too. Plus, growing food for preserving is a great opportunity to spend more time gardening and getting outdoors.