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The Best Vegetables to Grow and Preserve for Winter


Best vegetables to grow and preserve for winterBy A. Page

You’re probably thinking, why start thinking about gardening when winter is just around the corner? Well, because you have plenty of time to decide what vegetables you want to grow and how you can preserve them for next winter.  Canning isn’t for everyone, but there are various vegetables that can help you and your family out during the next winter season. Whether you use them from pickling, relish, soups, or just want to freeze them for later use, these vegetables are sure to make the long run.

Spinach

Spinach has always had a reputation for being incredibly be good for you.  Its an early garden vegetable that comes packed with nutrients that keep you going.  Best of all, its easily preserved and frozen.  All you need to do is boil your spinach in salter water until it becomes tender.  After that, drain it and put it in freezer bags.  If you can seal it or can it, better yet.  Even if you just stick it in the freezer, spinach will keep for up to an entire year.

Cucumbers

Who doesn’t love a classic pickle?  You can make them sweet, sour, or both.  They’re a treat all year round for people everywhere.  If you’re planning to pickle some cucumbers, make sure you do so shortly after you pick them.  Cucumbers have a tendency to get mushy during temperature changes, and a little time sitting on the counter could ruin the process entirely.

Tomatoes

There are many methods for the storage of tomatoes.  You can plan when they’ll ripe, or can them.  Regardless of your method, tomatoes are a great staple for stew and pastas no matter what time of year it is.  You can even make some recipes before hand and freeze the finished product.

Green Beans

Beans are full of protein and easily stored.  Whether you freeze or can them, they will maintain the same great taste no matter how you store them.  Your first harvest will be plentiful, and production will slow down from there.  Keep that in mind when setting away your stock.

Carrots

Carrots are another one of those vegetables that grow and store easily. Can or freeze, carrots are a crop that will last you the entire winter.  You can cut them however you please, just keep in mind that the smaller they get, the more juice they will absorb and less time they’ll need to spend on the stove top.

Planning ahead now will make for a great harvest next year.  Sometimes the hardest part of gardening and preserving, is getting started.  Take the time while your trapped inside this winter to think about the coming season.

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Tomatoes All Winter- The Best Way To Ripen


Tomatoes all winterWritten by A. Page

When summer ends and your garden is ready to be ripped up, it’s heartbreaking to throw away the dozens of green tomatoes that didn’t quite make it to the ripening process. Often times, we struggle to find efficient ways to store those green beauties. Most stick them up on the window sill and hope they turn before they rot. Surprisingly, tomatoes need no sunlight to ripen. A good majority of the time, this causes the skins to be harder and makes them more susceptible to rotting.

So, how do you store those gems for ripening?

1. Plan out how long you want your tomatoes to last you. It’s possible to harvest in September and be feeding off the same crop in January. Separate your tomatoes in groups based on your needs.

2. Inspect and wash the tomatoes under running water. You’ll want to get rid of damaged,spotted, and soft tomatoes. Save those for the window sill because the chances they will rot are pretty high and you don’t want them having an effect on your healthy tomatoes. The cool running water will get rid of fungus and lower the cross-contamination rate. Washing one by one isn’t time efficient and often doesn’t get rid of dangerous bacteria.

3. Get a series of flat, wide, and liquid proof containers to store them in. Each container should be big enough to leave about two inches in-between your tomatoes. Put a line of thick absorbent material along the bottom, so in the event that one of your tomatoes does rot, it will not be in contact with the other tomatoes. Make sure the tomatoes are clean and dry before placing them in containers.

4. Pick a few areas in your house that are clean and dry. Humidity causes rot. These areas should have temperature differences but still should rest between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooler areas is where your winter tomatoes will ripen, and the warmer areas are for autumn tomatoes.

Periodically check your tomatoes. They will ripen over a period of two weeks to three months. It’s important you check them because if one begins to rot, they all will. Once tomatoes are about half way ripe, take them to the kitchen counter and cover them will a dry towel until they’re finished. Though it takes preparation and diligence, the tomatoes from your garden are much healthier for you than anything you’ll find in the grocery store during the cold months.