It’s canning time again and time for a little reflection (i.e. time to look in the cupboard and take stock of what I didn’t eat). Turns out, I’m not a big relish person since I still have pints of it sitting on a shelf in my kitchen. So I’m going to think twice before going through the big hassle of canning it this year. Any blueberry butter in there? Not a chance! You can bet that’ll be in my slow cooker again! Hmmm, I’ve got all these raspberries, maybe some freezer jam? Nope, I’ve still got several jars of strawberry freezer jam that I made last summer. I guess I don’t really eat that much jam after all. So when I’m faced with a bounty that I couldn’t possibly eat fresh, I’m going to make some conscious decisions. Because while canning is super fun and is a seemingly great way to preserve your harvest so it doesn’t get wasted…um, it can get wasted just as much if it never makes its way out of the jar. Plus, there are so many other ways to preserve and enjoy the summer’s harvest. Here’s a few:
- Sorbet, granita, and fruit puree popsicles! Oh my!
- Freeze the berries so they can go into a pie or some other fun dessert during the winter when there aren’t any berries to be had.
- Prepare the pie or filling and bake it later when you’re really jonesing for summer fruit (read how).
- Better yet, make a pie and eat it now, when the fruit is at its peak. Invite your friends to have a slice.
- Prepare the foods as soups or some other freezable meal that can go into the lunch bag one day when you just need something fast and easy.
- Rethink that crop. If you don’t enjoy eating it, is that a crop you want taking up valuable space in your garden?
- Consider dusting off the old dehydrator. Some things might be even more delicious as a dried snack than as a relish.
- Hmmm, what about chutneys? Try making and preserving more savory spreads!
- Not a huge fan of jam, but know other friends or gardeners that are? Make a batch that you could trade for things you don’t grow. My apple butter and blueberry butter are hot commodities around here.
- Christmas in July – Make your homemade gifts now and give them later.
- Enjoy your fruits and vegetables when they’re fresh! The time is now – eat them and don’t feel bad if you don’t make any jam. Gardening is so much more fun when you can eat as you go.
How are you making the most of your harvest?
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.