Preserving Your Garden Fruits and Vegetables

I'm going to scoot over to one of my hobbies and talk about preserving fruits and vegetables. After all, the farmers in the region are busting at the seams, or should I say market basket, with a better than average vegetable harvest--even during a designated drought.

Farmers who are selling their fresh fruits and vegetables have irrigated. Basically, there is a bumper crop of sweet corn, green beans and tomatoes at this time at many local farmers markets.

When you consider freezing corn--and I prefer frozen to canning myself--ask your favorite farmer to save you some mature to just a little over mature corn for preserving. All you need to do is boil the ears, cool them in ice water, cut off the kernels with a sharp knife and freeze the corn.

As for tomatoes, try to use ripe tomatoes. The best way to grade the tomatoes you purchased is to wait until most of them are ripe--or make two or more preserving days, considering the ripeness of the tomatoes. I like to can juice, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, Italian peppers and tomatoes. For the tomatoes, I pick the more meaty paste tomatoes, especially using the VIVA Italia tomatoes that you can order from Burpee’s.

Don't forget to pick the tomatoes at the star breaker stage, or just as they show red on the bottom, if you are preserving because they will mature evenly and won't lose their flavor on the bed post overnight. Sorry.

As for green beans, you have a choice of stringless or string beans to can or freeze. I like canning green beans myself. You should get about 18-20 quarts of green beans out of a bushel. Check with your farmer to make sure your beans or any other fruits or vegetables I just mentioned will be available at the time you want to preserve.

Finally, consult your County Extension Office for the latest food preservation recommendations.


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