Preserving the Harvest – Canning!

So I wanted a garden this spring.  Not just a few plants out behind the house, but a real garden with beds and significant plantings of vegetables and fruits.  And though it’s no acre garden, it’s pretty big for a first year gardener.  I have enjoyed planting the seeds, watching them grow, keeping them watered, and now we enjoy the harvest.

However, though I may have slightly underestimated the time input needed to get the garden going this spring, I really didn’t know how much time it would take to preserve the food this summer.  I’ve been canning about once a week this month.  Canning is one of those things that by the directions seems like it should only take about 2 hours.  Usually it takes me the better part of an evening, maybe the late afternoon as well.  So far I have a good batch of carrots, a batch of sweet pickles, and a batch of dill pickles.  If I could can cantaloupe, I’d have a ton of that.  Is there ANY way to preserve cantaloupe?  It’s all ripening at once! I’m about ready to do a batch of tomatoes, but really need to see a bunch of them ripen at one time

Sweet Pickles

to get many jars of them, they cook down so much.  I also blanched and froze 10 heads of broccoli, shredded and froze 6 zucchini, and made another 6 into 3 loaves of zucchini bread.  Also, we are grinding our own grain this month with the addition of a grain grinder attachment for the Kitchenaid.  The flour and the bread it makes are amazing!  My zucchini bread was made with organic freshly ground locally sourced white winter wheat, home grown organic zucchini, home grown free range chicken eggs, and locally sourced honey.  It is gooood stuff, and good for you!

So, it’s a bit of a time commitment to preserve the harvest this summer, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.  In fact I have 25 lbs of peaches coming next week from the Oklahoma Food Coop, as well as bushels of pears about to ripen on my sister’s 3 huge pear trees.  Should be a delicious fall and winter we have after all this laying by!

Enjoy the fresh fruit and vegetables of summer, and take a few Saturdays to preserve some of it for the fall.  You’ll be glad you did!













2 responses to this post.

  1. My tomatoes have started ripening. I’m determined to can them all even if it’s just one jar at a time. Im even going to try to can cherry tomatoes. I don’t know how to can cantelope, but I know it is included in some of the frozen fruit bags you can buy at the grocery store. Google it and I’m sure you’ll find a way to try it. Any idea how to do eggplant? I tried freezing it like I do squash, but it all turned brown in the freezer.


  2. Our garden is so much better this year than it has ever been. If any other gardener were to come see it, they wouldn’t be impressed on any level, yet I’m really thankful that we have been able to finally grow a small variety of things. We have large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, just a few zucchini, green peppers and a couple of cantaloupe that have sprung up from the compost we mixed into the garden.
    Really the only thing we have an abundance of is our cherry tomatoes and we are freezing the extras that we have.
    We do also have a couple of nectarine trees, pears trees and one peach tree. The pears are probably going to be an experiment this year because we have a ton of them, yet they will take quite some time to get ripe. I think they are the type we will need to make jam out of or something….they aren’t really the kind you just eat as is. So, I will hopefully set time aside to learn how to make jam this fall.


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