I sincerely hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving this year. It has been an absolutely stunning autumn. The colours have been amazing and warm enough for the garden to still be quite productive. I am late in posting the early Fall note due to a little thing called Covid. Getting back to health now but apologies for my delay in posting new preserving ideas.
In late September I did two workshops on preserving the Fall harvest. We focused on harvesting, drying, freezing and storing the bounty with a short discussion on fermenting. Many thanks to Agriculture Grey-Bruce and to the Wasaga Beach Library for hosting these events and to those who participated. Remember these few tips for preserving the harvest:
Onions, garlic, shallots:
Cut the legs off pantyhose. Drop one onion in the toe and tie a knot above it. Drop in the second onion and tie it with a knot. Continue in the same manner with onions, garlic or shallots. You can’t believe how long they will last.
Winter Squash (except Acorn):
Keep the stem in tack when harvesting. Cure the squash by putting them on a window ledge or a rack for 3 days. This allows them to firm up the protective outer layer for long-term storage. Store in a cool location.
Harvest green and under-ripe tomatoes. Place them in a box /crate with vents. Line the container with paper and wrap each tomato. The key is that they should not touch one another. Store in a cool place. When you want a tomato, bring it out to ripen on the counter in the kitchen.
Apples will store in the fridge, but they will also store well in cardboard boxes or even in the ground or in a shed. It is best to use newspaper to separate the apples. And, most important, keep them away from fruit. Apples release ethylene gas which will stimulate fruit to ripen.
Store best in a cool dark environment. If you use a basket, cover it with burlap, or a cloth to prevent exposure to light. You can also put them in paper bags or bury them in ground.
- A cold cellar or basement that is dry.
- Inside wall of an attached garage.
- A bedroom with heat turned off.
- Damp sawdust/sand for root vegetables.
- A hole in the ground lined with straw.
- Refrigerator crisper drawers.
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it there for now. Imagine what we can be eating in three or even six months without going to the grocery store and buying not-so-good produce that puts unsustainable demands on our environment because of the transportation requirements. The more we can grow or locally source our food, preserve it and create with it the healthier both we and the planet will be.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving.