Preserving the Harvest for Winter
Cooler weather has settled in. Lost under inches of snow is our once vibrant and flourishing gardens. The plentiful harvest of crisp carrots and juicy tomatoes is behind you… or is it?!? Have you ever considered preserving as a long-storage option for the winter months?
Fermenting used to be the only means of preserving the harvest for the winter months. This art of food preservation not only protects the integrity of the literal “fruits of your labor”, but actually increases their nutritional content and bestows a life-extending elixir to your produce so you can enjoy your garden all-year ’round!
Fermented produce can often last for several months if stored in a refrigerator. My family invested in a second fridge so we can store our dozens of half gallon mason jars full of fermented goodies from kraut and kimchi to salsa and carrots, preserving them for recurring enjoyment.
Ferments have also traditionally been stored without refrigeration in a properly ventilated root cellar! No refrigeration required! Preserving options are truly endless.
How many months can ferments be preserved?
Depending on who you ask, you will get a variety of answers! Here is a time-tested, scientific way to measure if your preserving methods have succeeded in long-term storage of those pickles and carrots that have your mouth watering: look, smell and taste.
If your produce and brine still looks white and foggy with no visible layers of mold, smells sour and sweet, and tastes tangy and delicious… then enjoy!
My family has forgotten about a ferment in the back of our fridge for almost an entire year! We cracked it open and finished it off! Delicious!
Read this article for more on How long ferments last:
Our favorite ferments we’ve been preserving to munch on through the winter months:
- Cabbage Kraut : So easy to grow, even easier to ferment and tastes better the longer it is stored, kraut is an absolute staple in our home and favored by everyone of all ages
- Carrots: Carrots all seem to mature and need picking at the same time, don’t they? A quick scrub and brine results in crunchy sweetness that brings an overwhelming memory of the hot summer days during the frigid, long winter nights.
- Pickles: Really, when are pickles NOT appropriate??
- Beets: There’s just something about this deep red vegetable that breaths depth and richness in the fall and winter months. Even though it may come out of cold storage, it brings a whole lot of tangy warmth to any winter soup or stew.
Inspired? Start planning next year’s garden with winter in mind and Preserve the Harvest for Farm Fresh Produce ALL YEAR LONG!
Here are some other preserving ideas to get those wheels turning!
~ Cassie Deputie