Looking for some plants that you can grow in your garden that you can easily preserve this fall? Here are some of my favorite things to grow and preserve!
The Easiest Foods to Preserve That You Can Grow
When it comes to canning and preserving season in late summer and fall, things can get hectic. Oftentimes there are so many different things that need to be preserved at the same time that it’s hard to know which way to turn and sometimes those items take a lot of prep work to preserve.
Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite items to grow in my garden that are also the easiest to preserve. As you are planning out your garden this spring in hopes of canning or preserving some of the items, use these ideas to make things easier on yourself later this year!
Carrots are both easy to grow and easy to preserve. You can grow many different varieties of carrots, some of which may grow better for you if you don’t have loose or sandy soil.
Preserving carrots is very easy. You can pressure can them to preserve them for a longer amount of time. Carrots just need to be peeled, sliced, and then can be pressure canned in just 25 minutes (for pints). You can find the full instructions on canning carrots here.
If you have a root cellar or cold storage like we do, you can also place carrots in there. We put ours in moist sand or sawdust in a tub (so they aren’t touching each other) and store them in the root cellar until they are ready to use. This method requires no peeling or cutting until you are ready to use them.
Probably one of my all-time favorite items to grow is green beans. They seem to grow well so matter what you do to them AND they even help to fix the soil with the nitrogen in the plants. I always think I plant way too many green beans and it’s never enough! And as for seeds, I’ve even grown the seeds from the dollar store and they work just fine!
Green Beans are the same as carrots when it comes to canning. They will need to be washed, cut, and then pressure canned for 20 minutes (for pints). I always have my kids help with the “cutting” (we just snap them!) and things go much faster. You can find the full instructions on canning green beans here.
You can also pickle green beans for another easy treat! I just use my basic pickling liquid for the beans. You can also follow this Pickled Beans recipe.
Of course, you can eat them fresh too! Here are Fresh Green Bean Recipes.
Herbs and Greens
I don’t really find herbs easy to grow (I’m working on it!) but I can grow greens like nobody’s business! Last year I began preserving these greens and we really enjoyed them all winter. It’s SO easy!
I’ve preserved everything from broccoli leaves to kale. You can do this in a dehydrator or in the sun, however, they seem to turn out the best in the dehydrator. Herbs can be dried either way and for most of mine, I dried them on my solar dehydrator last summer.
Here’s how to Preserve Greens!
Another one of my favorite things to grow. I’m not quite sure why my winter squash plants always do well but I’m not complaining, we love squash! I like to grow everything from spaghetti squash to butternuts. This last year I even grew Blue Hubbards which reached 15lbs. That’s a lot of food from one plant!
We preserve winter squash by putting it in our root cellar or in cold storage. I don’t do anything else to it until it’s time to use it in a recipe.
I think Zucchini grows prolifically in most gardens so this is a great one to end our list with. We eat zucchini in SO many dishes so it’s worth it for us to grow as much as we can and then preserve it to use year round.
Two ways that I preserved zucchini last year that were incredibly easy was to shred and dry it (I rehydrate it later to use in baking recipes and stir fries) and to make it into Zucchini Pineapple. My kids absolutely love that stuff and it’s so easy to can! You can find the instructions for Zucchini Pineapple here. Just note that I used about 1/3 of the sugar that is called for in the recipe and we think it’s plenty sweet.
I used to always freeze zucchini and you can find that tutorial here. But I’ve found that drying zucchini takes up SO much less space and I don’t have to worry about using too much freezer space.
What are some foods that you plant that you think are really easy to preserve?