Our vegetable gardens can feed not only our bodies, but our souls, too. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of walking out to your garden right before dinner to harvest the ingredients that will be featured on your plate that very evening. Feeding our families delicious food is a big part of the gardening experience.
But, what about the more intangible benefits of gardening? If we let them, they can be so much more than a place to grow our own food. Our gardens can also serve a bigger purpose of feeding our spiritual, emotional, physical, artistic and creative selves. They can be places where we find a beauty that touches us on a deeper level and sparks a feeling of joy that can only be found through nature.
One of the first things I learned to preserve when I lived on a farm 15 years ago was tomatoes. Because we didn’t buy any off-farm produce in winter, we spent many weeks during the summer sweating in the outdoor kitchen and canning food on a woodstove. Talk about rustic!
To make tomato sauce we would run the fruit through a Squeezo to remove the skins and seeds. For whole tomatoes we’d dunk them in boiling water and peel off the skins.
For a few years after leaving the farm I just accepted that this is how you preserved tomatoes.
Until one day, when I stopped and realized how much work this was. I found that I was dreading my tomato canning sessions. “There’s got to be another way.” I thought to myself.
This week’s bonus post is a guest column on a fellow garden blogger’s site, Lovely Greens. After reading the article, stick around for awhile and check out all of her creative projects, and especially her recent tour of a real live hobbit house.
For many of us gardeners, late summer and early fall signals the peak of the harvest season. Although filling up baskets and bowls full of vegetables from your garden can feel exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming and stressful.
If you find yourself giving away or, even worse, composting extra produce, consider trying your hand at food preserving this season. Contrary to popular belief, food preserving doesn’t have to be difficult, take up a lot of time, or require lots of fancy equipment. In fact, I’m a big advocate super easy food preserving.
Instead of spending a full day in a sweltering kitchen, easy food preserving means using the simplest and quickest method for putting each vegetable, fruit and herb away for use in delicious meals all season long.
My three favorite methods are storing food fresh in my basement or fridge, and using my chest freezer. This year I’m also experimenting with (and really loving) fermenting. Less frequently I turn to dehydrating and canning.
Let’s take a look at the options:
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