You’ve grown bushels of tomatoes, a counter full of cukes and peppers ‘out the door’. You’re beaming with your accomplishment, but now what?
You don’t want to waste any of your hard-earned harvest.
The fresh picked food needs to be washed. I don’t mean in the kitchen sink with Dawn! You need to remove any dirt from the produce and wash off any residue from anything that might have ‘crawled’ across the fruit of your labors.
Ugly isn’t it? It’s called ‘make do with what you have’. In this case I rounded up some cement blocks and an old cast iron sink, and set it up beside a water spigot. Then just stuck a short garden hose ( in this case an old washer hose) through the hole in the back and voila, a garden sink. I can set a bucket underneath and regain the water!
Produce you’ll be consuming in a few days can be stored in the refrigerator or the counter. If you store on the counter be sure to check them daily for over-ripening and rotting and toss the offenders into the compost pile.
Herbs can be wrapped in a paper towel and stored in a plastic bag in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs moisture helping to preserve the herbs longer. (Do you save the excess napkins the fast food places give you? This is a good use for those!)
Potatoes, however, should be stored dry, in a cool dark spot.
You’ve other options as well. There’s dehydrating, freezing, canning and pickling and for a lucky few, freeze drying.
Did you realize that some of your produce can be left in the garden until you need it? Root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips can overwinter in most areas if mulched.
If frost is predicted you should go ahead and pick your tomatoes, even if they’re still green. They’ll ripen on your windowsills. ( Or you can whip up a batch of fried green tomatoes for supper!)
Did you know that you shouldn’t store potatoes WITH onions? No siree. Onions give off a gas that makes potatoes sprout/spoil.
So if you’re storing your potatoes and onions, in a cool dark place, make sure they’re separate from each other. Apples should also be stored in a cool dark place however each apple should be wrapped so that it doesn’t touch the next one. Remember the song “One Bad Apple”? Well, one bad apple WILL spoil the whole bunch dear!
Here’s to a bountiful harvest and winter storage. Everything you do to become more self-sufficient is a bonus and we sure don’t want to waste anything we’ve worked so hard on!