Food Preservation

How to preserve food even if you have no time

time-saving food preserving tips for garden harvests

Our garden harvests start to roll in right around the time when everything else needs to be done – escaping our stressful lives for our long-awaited summer vacation, shopping for back to school clothes for the kids, and hosting our sister’s fun and rowdy family for their annual visit.

No wonder it’s hard to make food preserving a priority.

Combine this with the common misconception that the only way to preserve food is by canning (who has time for that?!) and you end up with a depressing pile of rotting vegetables staring you in the face every time you open the fridge door.

What if I told you there were plenty of time-saving tricks for preserving your summer harvest that had nothing to do with long canning sessions in a hot kitchen sweating your little gardener buns off?

One of the easiest time-saving techniques is freezing vegetables instead of canning them. With canning, it makes sense to wait until you have a large amount of one vegetable, but with freezing, you can work with whatever quantity of vegetables or fruits you have on hand that day. And often, you can prep veggies for freezing in as little as 10 minutes.

Why mess with canning when you can easily freeze so much of summer’s bounty?

Freeze Tomatoes – It’s the Quickest Way to Preserve Them

freeze tomatoes

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.

5 Easy Ways to Preserve Food Without Canning

chopped red peppers ready for freezing


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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