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3 Ways to Use the Bounty of the Garden

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GardenGreat weather for growing a bountiful garden! Sunshine, the right amount of rain, temps that are not too hot and not too cold. As Goldilocks would say, “Just right!”

The only problem is that all that great produce is ready to be harvested at once! What do you do with the extras that you can’t eat right away?

1)      You can blanch. For example, blanching beans is as easy as boiling water! Bring a pot of water to boil then put in the beansGreen beans for about 5 minutes. Remove your beans from the boiling water; Plunge it into iced water or under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Dry and put them in freezer bags and put in freezer. At a later date, you can thaw out your harvest and cook to enjoy your gardening efforts. Great addition to vegetable soup, stir fry, casserole dishes or just by themselves with a little olive oil and favorite spice. Works for vegetables or fruits.

2)      You can can. Canning is really one step beyond cooking. It is a method that applies heat to food in a closed glass home canning jar to stop the natural spoilage that would otherwise take place, and removes air from the jar to create a seal. There are two home canning methods – Waterbath Canning and Pressure Canning. (http://www.freshpreserving.com/getting-started) Waterbath Canning is used for high-acidic foods. Pressure canning is best for vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood.

3)      You can share. Your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will love all of the “extras” that you share with them.

TomatoesOnce you have picked your spring lettuce, spinach, peas and other “spent” plants, clean out the plants, prepare the soil and put in a second planting for you to harvest in late September as long as weather cooperates. Remember to do the same with your bush beans.

Gardening ensures a bountiful harvest of healthy, great-tasting foods that can last all year.

What’s in your garden?

Leave a COMMENT below to let us know what your favorite items are to grow in a garden. What do you do with the extras? We’d love to hear!

~Joe and Cheryl Pastor,  co-authors

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