Putting Up! (Ways To Make The Harvest Last)

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If you follow this blog, you know that I (Daja) have moved from Southern California to Maine.  We have a little farm we call Kylo. It’s a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of thing.  We got a huge garden in this year and are gradually adding our animals. What blows me away is how wonderful the soil is here. I’ve been gardening in California for years and it is definitely an uphill battle–what with the water issues, intense heat, clay-like soil.  But here, it has been much easier and much more delightful to garden. Stuff actually grows here without so many tears.  The downside is that in Southern California I gardened year around. Here, you have 90-120 days. So, you better be movin’!

Today I sat down at my computer and my ten year old son walked by and said, “Whatcha doing?”  I replied, “Ordering a few things online.” He said, “Let me guess. Canning supplies.” #dontjudgeme

Yes, I am in a canning frenzy these days.  Actually, canning and freezing and drying and fermenting and…..

Basically, I just want to save as much of this harvest as possible.  I know the winter is coming and the snow will be up to my eyebrows and I will crave the fruits and veggies of summer. So, waste not, want not, right?

Putting Up

There are so many ways to preserve the harvest.  And we are trying them all this year! The way I figure it, we might be tired of everything pickled or everything blanched and frozen. So, the more ways we have saved, the more variety we will have come January!

Here are a few of our favorite new ways to save the harvest this year:

Lacto-Fermented Fruit In Honey

Berries in Honey

We have picked a lot of berries this year. I placed some of them in a clean jar that has a tight fitting lid.  Sometimes I add some fresh herbs.  Raspberries and basil! Elderberries with lavender!

Pour over that raw local honey. (It must be raw local honey. Do not use the stuff off the grocery store shelves!)  Leave about 1/2 inch headspace.  Sometimes this takes a little bit of time. I pour a little, let it settle for a few minutes, pour a little more, wait. Until the jar is full of honey.

Cap tightly. Set on kitchen counter for 5-7 days, burping it as needed. Then transfer to the fridge for about a month.  Then it’s ready. Seriously, how easy is that?! And it’s delicious in yogurt, on toast, with scones, drizzled over cut fruit, as part of salad dressing, etc.

I keep this in the refrigerator up to a year.

Perserving In Oil

Preserving in Oil

This simple method works great for a variety of fresh young vegetables and fresh herbs.  We learned this traditional method from the book Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing.  You know we are suckers for traditional tried-and-true methods.

Here’s what you need:

  • Fresh young vegetables
  • Fresh herbs
  • Herbs and spice seeds (such as fennel seeds, celery seeds, caraway seeds, peppercorns, etc.)
  • Vinegar
  • A good quality olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Canning jars with lids

Chop or slice up your veggies. Use a variety, this will make it more colorful and flavorful.  We have zucchini, tricolor string beans, beets, broccoli and cucumbers in abundance in the garden this year.  So, I gave them all a rough chop, along with some garlic and onions. Mix that up in a bowl.

Also chop a handful or two of fresh herbs. I have several varieties of basil, rosemary, dill, and thyme in the garden.  Mix with a few pinches of the seeds.

Heat up the vinegar in a pot until boiling. Submerge your vegetables and gently simmer for about three minutes.

Drain quickly and well.  Put the veg in the clean jars (don’t pack them too tightly!), alternating with the chopped herbs and seeds and a pinches of salt.

Leave enough headspace because you are going to pour in olive oil until the vegetables are covered by about 1/2 inch.

The vinegar creates an acidic environment to resist spoilage. The oil covering the veg keeps the air away.

Cap this and place it in a cool place. (If you have a root cellar that stays in the 35-50 degree range, that would work. Although I do have a root cellar, I also have a refrigerator in the garage that I keep at a warm temperature–about 40-45 degrees–that I use to store my ferments and some cold storage close at hand.)  The vegetables should be ready in 1-2 months and can keep up to a year, according the book. Although I don’t imagine them lasting that long around here!

The vegetables will be great in couscous, salads, as an accompaniment to bread and cheese. The oil will be perfect for dressings and to drizzle over grains or bruschetta.  I can hardly wait!

Here are some other great ideas for preserving summer’s bounty from some very talented homemakers and food bloggers!  Get ready to enjoy your summer harvest all year long!!!



How To Can With A Waterbath from Simply Healthy Home

Canning Tips To Save Time, Money, and Energy from Homespun Seasonal Living

Murphy’s Law of Canning from Home Grown

Canning Tomatoes Made Easy from Simply Healthy Home

Tomato Paste from A Happy Healthnut

Tomato Chutney from Attainable Sustainable

Canned Diced Tomatoes from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Save Those Green Tomatoes! Make Chow Chow from Attainable Sustainable

Preserving Tomatoes as Salsa from Attainable Sustainable

Homemade Applesauce For Canning and Fresh Eating from Attainable Sustainable

Apple Fig Chutney from Farm Fresh Feasts

Mango Chutney from Attainable Sustainable

Zucchini Hamburger Relish from Attainable Sustainable

Watermelon Rind Relish from Attainable Sustainable (LOVE IDEAS THAT DON’T ALLOW FOR ANY WASTE!)

Cranberry Salsa from Farm Fresh Feasts

Pink Pickled Banana Peppers from Farm Fresh Feasts



How To Dehydrate Fruit from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Dehydrate Apples and Make Apple Chips from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

How To Make Your Own Onion Powder from Simply Healthy Home

Dehydrating Celery from Simply Healthy Home

How To Dehydrate Dill from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Dehydrating Tomato Skins from Simply Healthy Home (LOVE IDEAS THAT DON’T ALLOW FOR ANY WASTE!)

How To Dehydrate Carrots from Don’t Waste The Crumbs


Freezing Garlic

How To Freeze Fruit from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Freezing Green Peppers from Simply Healthy Home

Green Tomato Bacon Jam from Farm Fresh Feasts (This is jam you keep in the freezer. So, if canning scares you (I know. I’m a former canning scaredy-cat, too.) try this and wow your family!)

Fresh Tomato Pesto from Farm Fresh Feasts

Spaghetti Sauce from Farm Fresh Feasts

Freezing Roasted Garlic from Farm Fresh Feasts

Pesto from Farm Fresh Feasts

How To Blanch Greens from Don’t Waste The Crumbs

Put Up A Pile of Pumpkins from Farm Fresh Feasts

Cold Storage


Spicy Asian-Inspired Kohlrabi Pickles Spears from Farm Fresh Feasts

Infusing Oils and Vinegars from Don’t Waste The Crumbs (Wow, this is a great gift idea!!!)

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Follow more of our gardening and putting-up adventures on Instagram!  As always we have more of our healthy and delicious recipes in our Recipe File.  And for So Cal locals, check out the Urban Homestead’s schedule of events for our next workshops on fermentation and traditional foods!

{This post was shared at Wild Crafting Wednesdays)

  1. Aside from canning and freezing, I’ve never dabbled in any other kinds of preserving. I really, really need to learn to ferment vegetables and while I realize it takes little time, I feel anxiety taking on one more thing right now. But I know I need to! Good suggestions here!

    • Hey, there are seasons to life. And if you feel pressured or it brings anxiety, don’t do it! Don’t add another thing–even good things–if it doesn’t bring you joy in your home.  No stress!

      I remember that I tried several times to start making sourdough. Every time it just turned out terrible.  And it added stress to my life to tend to that starter. It was just that “one more thing” that made homemaking less pleasant.  So, I dropped it.  A couple years later it was time. I got some. Things went so smoothly. I was able to keep it up and it didn’t feel like an added burden.  And it was actually so much tastier!!!  I’ve learned to follow the cues of nature and realize what I’m capable of when.

      Take it easy, Mama!

  2. What a wonderful post filled with excellent ideas! I will definitely learn something and I am so inspired to make some of these recipes!
    LOVE preserving the harvest. THANKS!! 

  3. Daja,
    I am envious of your cold storage fridge in the garage–what a great idea! I got 25 pounds of potatoes from my farm share and they are currently in baskets on the shelves of what will become the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve 2015 in my basement, but I’d feel more comfortable keeping varmints out and being able to control the temperature in a fridge.
    Thanks for including my links–I’ve been a busy squirrel putting up a bunch of goodies this year (including 4 kinds of salsa with 1 more to go!) and playing with my new pressure canner. Tomatoes. So fast!
    Looking forward to trying some new ideas!

  4. These are some great ideas for putting up food! I really love preserving in oil and fermenting in honey. Canning is great, but I think having a variety of ways of preserving food is really important 🙂

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