What to do with summer produce

People who associate August with the slow lazy days of summer have never had a vegetable garden.

People who associate August with the slow lazy days of summer have never had a vegetable garden.

True most of the weeding should be complete but what does one do with all that produce?

Eating as much as possible and giving the excess away is the easiest option. If food supply safety is a concern it is time to harvest and store.

Choose fresh tender produce that are at their prime. Discard any that are old or diseased.

Remove any inedible part which includes pods, husk and stems.

Wash well insuring the produce is clean and free of dirt, diseases and bug eaten areas.

Freezing, canning, drying, pickling and cold storage are all options. Each method affects the texture, taste and the nutritional content . It is up to the individual to decide what they like best.

Freezing is the “modern” method.

Frozen vegetables are usually heated or blanched before freezing as it stops or slows the enzymes that cause the produce to age.

Without heat the aging process will continue throughout the freezing cycle and can result in an old inedible product.

A vegetable is blanched by placing it in boiling water for a designated period of time then plunged into a cold bath.

Once cool the vegetables are removed from the cold water and immediately placed in a container to freeze.

Produce can be placed into individual containers or one a large sheet. Produce that is frozen on a large sheet will need to be packed in an air tight container once frozen.

This method will allow varying amounts of food to be removed and used at any given time.

Small fruits freeze well without being blanched.

Canned fruits and vegetables were part of everyday life until fresh produce became readily available.

Produce was either placed in the jars hot and sealed or cold and a hot sauce or brine was poured overtop.

Once sealed the jars were placed in a canner on the stove where the jars and contents were heated for a predetermined amount of time. If canned properly, all pathogens are destroyed.

Canning is still a viable method of keeping produce. Research has been done to insure that the finished product is safe for consumption. Read and follow current methods before starting.

Initially canning is expensive as equipment, jars and canner have to be purchased. But this equipment will last for many years before it needs to be discarded.

Jam, sauces, preserves and pickles are still popular methods of preserving produce.

Dehydrating food was always a possibility in warmer climates but not cooler ones. It is a process where liquid is removed from the food to keep it from spoiling.

The heat has to be high enough to evaporate the liquid but low enough that the food does not cook. Once dehydrated and stored in an air tight container food will last a long time.

The easiest method is to use an electric dehydrator that provides heat and a fan to keep air circulating. It is possible to dehydrate in an oven or make a solar dehydrator.

The smaller the pieces of produce the quicker the liquid evaporate and the food dries.

Dehydrated food can be eaten as is or placed in water and reconstituted.

It is possible to keep vegetables in a cold or cold area for a number of months.

Root crops such as potatoes and carrots are the most popular but onions, parsnips and squash also keep well. Make sure that all vegetables are clean and free of cuts and bacteria.

Produce such as apples that give of an ethylene gas should not be placed with produce that is susceptible to the gas.

How you store excess produce will determine how long it will keep and how it is eaten.

When trying something new, make a small batch to insure it is something that will be eaten before preserving a large amount.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain house. She can be reached at www.igardencanada.com or your_garden@hotmail.com

Just Posted

Case of former MLA facing sex-related charges in court

Former Sylvan Lake-Innisfail MLA Don MacIntyre’s case returns to court on May 3

Central Alberta pharmacists decry fee reductions for services

Government funding cuts to Alberta pharmacies will hurt patient care, said about… Continue reading

Horses left in trailer found in the ditch near Bentley returned to owners, no charges laid

Two horses found in an abandoned trailer near Bentley have been returned… Continue reading

RCMP close intersection where Humboldt Broncos bus, transport truck collided

REGINA — Police have closed the intersection where the team bus for… Continue reading

Supreme Court upholds law in cross-border beer case, averting trade shakeup

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the constitutionality of… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s newest public art unveiled

Red Deer’s latest “ghost” sculpture is a love letter to the game… Continue reading

WATCH: This is a story about a stoned raccoon at a fire station

An unusual pair showed up in the pre-dawn hours at Fire Station… Continue reading

Plastic makers’ credit ratings may be hit by pollution rules

Plastic packaging makers may be less credit-worthy in the future as governments… Continue reading

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

‘Dining of the future’: vegan restaurant boom fuelled by meat eaters

Foodies say Canada is in the midst of a renaissance in plant-based… Continue reading

Northbound QEII traffic to return to northbound lanes as contruction continues south of Red Deer

Though the Hwy 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange still has months until completion, some… Continue reading

Howard commencement to feature “Black Panther” Boseman

WASHINGTON — The “Black Panther” is returning to his alma mater to… Continue reading

Armed police will patrol rail stations at royal wedding

LONDON — British officials say armed and undercover police officers will patrol… Continue reading

Power largely restored across Puerto Rico after blackout

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s power company said Thursday that… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month