Enjoy Your Harvest

SG - Harvesting VegetablesBest tasting treats this summer?

Have your home-grown vegetables been the best tasting treat this summer? Not to mention the fact that it hasn’t taken a bite out of your budget! Here are some tips to enjoy your harvest.

I hope you were able to preserve (freeze or can) some of your vegetables and to share the abundance with friends and neighbors. Are you losing friends because they don’t want anymore zucchini? Use it in recipes for breads, cakes, cookies and even a mock apple pie! Recipes are available on the websites.

My cherry tomato plant that I grew in a four-gallon bucket produced many sweet tomatoes. My grand kids ate them right off the plant while we were home in Michigan for a few weeks in July & August. It still amazes me how much return we get from just one little tomato seed!

Some people may boast about having the biggest beets or carrots. This is fine for your ego, or if you want the biggest for the fair, but eating these things is almost like chewing on a piece of cardboard. Grow vegetables that are “table size” means harvesting beets when they are slightly larger than a lemon. Carrots should be about the size of your thumb. Big vegetables have passed the point of being ripe, tender and flavorful.

The more you harvest, the more you grow. If you don’t pick your leaf lettuce it will go to seed. You can cut down the plants to one inch about three times before it gets bitter. Swiss chard and other heat-tolerant greens can be cut continuously all summer. If you keep cutting spinach, you can get as many as four harvests. Don’t forget to cut little leaves, big leaves, and the whole plant.

Methods of preserving vegetables have improved over the years such as freezing and canning with pressure cookers, but there still are some good old recipes for pickling different vegetables. Peppers, onions and tomatoes make a great salsa or relish. Check out websites for recipes or your grandma’s recipe box.

An old method of storing vegetables and fruits is in a root cellar or certain areas of your basement. You need to seek wise advice (websites are helpful) on how to store in your basement or they will spoil. Before freezers were available, many root crops were stored this way and also cold-packed in glass jars. I was raised on vegetables and fruits my mother preserved in glass jars and carrots and potatoes my father stored in our basement root cellar.

Until next time, continue enjoying your fresh home-grown vegetables.