Learning the basics of harvesting and preserving

Nothing beats fresh garden veggies. They are organic, cheap, abundant, packed with nutrients, and simple to grow! I can not stress enough how easy gardening is. I stumbled a bit through my first two summers and learned a few lessons. After that, it was like riding a bike. I never thought I would have a green thumb. Trust me, if I can garden, anyone can garden!

This year I am taking every step possible to load up with preserved goods to last us the winter. I am thinking of getting a chest freezer with a lock (to keep animals out) and setting the freezer outside of our house once the winter hits. We can load it with veggies and well as extra frozen goods. Plus, we can cut the power during the cold months and our goods will stay frozen.

beets rainbow-carrots-2 saskatoon-rasberries

Freezing garden veggies is easy. Blanch them by dropping them into boiled water for a minute or two and then transfer into an ice bath. So far I have done this with peas, golden beets, and kale. I also blanched the rainbow carrots I harvested and made a batch of pickled carrots. That was my first attempt at pickling and I was overwhelmed by the conflicting information I found online. If anyone has a good canning 101 resource for me, please comment below. 🙂

My goal is to forage all that I can from the land. I have begun harvesting the wild chamomile that grows all over the property.  My first attempt was to wash and dry the flowers which resulted in mold. After further research, I learned that harvesting them in the morning preserves the essential oils which protect the plant (no washing necessary). Simply cut, hang, and bag. I have taken advantage of a retired trailer on the property and have re-purposed it into my drying room.

Chamomile drying Wild chamomile

A family member has countless Saskatoon berry, and raspberry bushes on their property. They have been kind enough to let us load up on all the berries we want. So far we have multiple freezer bags packed with frozen hand picked berries. Prepping berries for freezing is a bit more laborious.  It requires soaking the berries in a vinegar and water mix, rinsing them, and then spinning them in a salad spinner lined with paper towel. After that, the berries are transferred onto trays lined with wax paper and frozen. Once solid, they are broken apart and bagged. Even though prepping berries is a lot of work, it is worth it for the worlds best smoothies!

Do you have any nifty tricks to help your goods last the winter? Are you foraging anything unique? Let us know in the comments below.

Golden beets

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