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What To Do With It All

September 8, 2016
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

My mother always had a huge garden and about this time every year we enjoyed all the fresh vegetables we could eat. She always planted enough to can so we could eat garden grown food all winter (or most of it) and it saved so much on grocery bills. That of course was in the 70's so you can imagine what could be saved today if people would just grow their own vegetables and learn the art of canning.

Gardening is something that has gone by the wayside, although I do think gardening is making a comeback. Some people do it for relaxation and they give it away. Some do it for therapy. They eat some of what they grow, but give most of it away. Others garden as a job. Selling products at farmer's markets.

Gardening takes a lot of work. Tilling, planting, and weeding is back breaking work and most people will give up. Those who do continue through the growing season are awarded with a plentiful harvest and enough vegetables to last most of the winter is preserved.

Canning is time consuming and for those of us who live fast paced lives barely have time to relax and enjoy life anymore, let a lone taking the time to can vegetables. It's just simpler and easier to run to the grocery store and buy what we need.

Most of you, including myself, are saying "Yeah right. When do I have time for canning?" Well, I have been doing some research on preserving garden vegetables and have found some simple ways to keep that garden produce and it doesn't take that much time or effort.

Canning tomatoes can be easy. You still need to blanch them and give them a cold-water bath. Once the skins are removed, cook the tomatoes down until they boil. You can then put them into hot jars and seal with hot lids and rings. You will know the jars sealed when they ping.

Freezing vegetables is easy also. I dice onions and green peppers and put them in freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Put in the freezer. Green beans are also easy to freeze. If you want to blanch them you can, I have been simply freezing them after I wash then and cut them into the desired size once they are dried off. Again, remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible.

My latest experiment is freezing cantaloupe. I am not real sure how this will turn out but I used fruit fresh before putting the chunks of cantaloupe into freezer bags and removed all the air before sealing and putting in the freezer. This is one I have never tried but others have.

There are many ideas for preserving vegetables and fruits that you can find on the Internet. Preserving your own vegetables will save you a lot on groceries in the winter and it is always nice to have that garden grown produce on those cold nights. If anyone has other ways of preserving that they would like to share, I would be interested in reading about them.



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