Farmhouse Style EXTRA
Farmhouse Style EXTRA
|Freshly harvested and washed carrots are ready to be eaten or preserved.|
From spring to fall, backyard gardeners reap the bounty of their carefully cultivated containers, rows and raised beds. Freezing, canning or storing your produce can ensure you enjoy your harvest long after the growing season is over.
Our Farmhouse Style copy editor, Jessica Moorman, grows all manner of fresh fruits and veggies in her 4,000-square-foot North Carolina garden. She has set up her garden in three sections that follow the seasons—the top third contains rows of plants for the spring and fall, including cabbages, kales, lettuces, broccoli and cauliflower; the middle is summer-producing plants, such as tomatoes, squash and beans; and the lower third is set aside for seasonal crops of potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, garlic, strawberries and asparagus.
|Jessica has expanded her North Carolina garden a little each year.|
Though she had gardened in raised beds for many years, her move from the Midwest to the Southeast several years ago gave her the space to expand her garden, with the goal of harvesting food to both eat right away and preserve for later use. “Every time I have enlarged the garden, it’s been to feed us,” she says, offering the example of growing green beans, which can be frozen or canned for year-round enjoyment.
A seed aficionado, Jessica makes sure to plant some interesting varieties in addition to known providers. Hence, she may plant a 25-foot row of traditional bush green beans but also a trellis twined with striped rattlesnake pole beans. “I like to grow produce you won’t find at the grocery,” she explains. “You can still grow the fun stuff along with growing food to eat.”
Among her favorite vegetables to grow are some particularly low-maintenance crops, such as potatoes, carrots and onions. “You plant them and ignore them. They are down there doing their own thing and it’s kind of like a little miracle when you harvest them,” she observes.
|Jessica vacuum seals assorted fruits and veggies to freeze and enjoy in the months ahead.|
Jessica’s garden has yielded enough produce this summer to provide three vegetable sides for nightly dinner. To ensure she can enjoy veggie goodness in the colder months, she preserves her garden bounty in a variety of ways. Here are a few of her tips:
• Take portion size into account. If you typically make dinners for two, consider putting up tomato sauce by the pint jar or freezing two-serving bags of corn.
• Be flexible. If you don’t harvest enough paste tomatoes all at once (some canning recipes call for 40 pounds of tomatoes), either cut the recipe in half or freeze your yield until you have enough to can.
• Think about how you will use the food when preparing it for preservation. For example, cut carrots into coins for heating and serving or dice some for adding to soups. Store some whole potatoes in a cool, dry place and shred and freeze others to use as hash browns.
• Preserve what you like to eat. Have tomatoes but don’t like pasta? Can salsa instead. “You’ll know by next season what you don’t like because your freezer or canning shelf will be full of it,” Jessica says.
• Value flavor over appearance. When canning or freezing produce, sauce might separate in the jar or a veggie’s color might change in the freezer. As long as it meets safety standards and tastes good, looks don’t matter.
Country Sampler Farmhouse Style is partnering with Oliso to give away five of its revolutionary smart vacuum sealers to our readers. Enter here through September 21 for your chance to win.
Photos Courtesy of Jessica Moorman.
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