Make Meals with Your Preserved Summer Harvest


green beans with savory 

The first year I decided to preserve our summer harvest I got carried away. Our basement shelves groaned with canned green beans, spaghetti and tomato sauce, salsas, and pickles. Every fruit that grew on our property, or nearby farms, was cooked down into jams and pie fillings. The freezer was so full of corn, beans, and greens that we had to buy another one.

I put up more than we were capable of eating that year. I canned and froze many things just to discover that we didn’t like them, or I didn’t know how to incorporate them into meals. Over a decade later, I’ve gained experience in reliving the delight of summer through our winter meals. 

I’ve also learned to simplify. The following tips save me untold hours of work each summer and add a fresher taste to our winter meals:

  • Green beans are more versatile frozen than canned
  • Cabbage lasts for months in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel and tightly sealed plastic bag so there is no need to blanch and freeze it
  • Dehydrated tomatoes create fresher tasting sauces and pastes than canned ones
  • Strawberries and wineberries taste fresher in freezer jam then cooked jam
  • Late apples packed in paper bags and stored in the frig in boxes are crunchy into spring
  • Winter squash stores for months on a cool shelf rather than bothering to can or freeze it
  • Radishes, turnips, and rutabagas last for months in the frig in a plastic bag with a paper towel inside
  • Most greens are better fresh so just grow ones that perform well in your climate most of the year (Swiss chard and cold hardy lettuce take us into December; spinach and kale take over through most of the winter)

The recipes below are some of my family’s favorite ways to relive summer through our meals.  Give them a try, and share with me your family’s wintertime summer-memory meals.

dehydrated tomatoes and onion

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