Tag: Harvest (page 1 of 2)

How To Make Sure You Actually Eat What You Grow This Year

If you have not started seeds for your garden yet this year, you are thinking about it.  The thrill starts when you open that seed catalog and start dreaming.

Then they come in the mail and you stare at your calendar until the day you can start putting them in the soil and giving them water.  You spend your hours trying not to check on them as often as possible until they finally germinate.

The day eventually comes when you can take them outside—and finally—plant them into the ground.  These are your babies.  Pride swells as you watch them grow.  Then one day, they are ready.

If you are like 99% of the vegetable growing population, you have planted too much of something at least once in your journey.  Maybe you even plant too much of one thing (or several) on a yearly basis.  (You would not be alone my Friend.)

We may grow different fruits and vegetables in our gardens, but the one thing we have in common is that we all have to figure out how best to utilize our loot or else watch it rot.  Here are some tips to make sure you are making the most of your haul this year.

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11 Things To Do With A Bumper Crop Of Onions

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*


Growing onions from bulbs is easy for a novice (or expert) gardener to do.  I regularly plant upwards of 600 a year myself.  Rarely, if ever, does a bulb decide not to grow into a large, juicy onion.

So what’s a gardener to do when an excited day in the spring garden leads to a bumper crop of onions in the fall?  I’ve got a few ideas for you…

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How A Tomato Turns Red & Ripening Green Tomatoes

It’s the end of your gardening season, and it’s getting too cold at night to keep your tomatoes alive anymore.  Problem is, many of them are still green.  Do you pull them up?  Toss them out?  Let them freeze and break down and feed next year’s soil?

You could.

Or you can do what I do every year.  I never waste a tomato.  I ripen green tomatoes after the season.  There are actually many ways to get this done.  Some are easy, some are hard.  Some ripen your green tomatoes slow, and some techniques ripen them quite fast.

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How To Harvest And Store Kale

Kale is a cold weather veggie.  It is usually harvested before the heat of the summer, or in the fall.  Kale may become bitter once it starts reaching temperatures of 80 degrees or more.  However, it’s taste improves and is sweeter once it frosts (or even goes through a light snow). For us, this means it is one of the few vegetables that we can grow year round, and harvest well into our fall when most other plants have died.  Most winters, it will survive to keep producing in the spring again for us.  This is quite impressive since our average low looms near -30° F in the winter. I like to harvest it in large batches because our family likes green smoothies, and often we freeze it through the summer to get that sweeter taste.  In green smoothies we don’t notice the taste difference.  If I was going to cook it down or make kale chips, I wouldn’t harvest it during the summer. Continue reading

How To Braid Onions

If you are going to keep onions over the winter (and into the spring and possibly summer), you’re going to want to make sure they are getting plenty of air, as air circulation is key to their preservation.  There’s nothing worse than putting all your onions up for the year in a box or bucket and finding later that there was one that went bad and now you have to toss them all (or most) out.

I’ve seen different ways people put their onions up, including 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in them, wood boxes with plenty of gaps in the sides, etc.  But in my experience, braiding my onions and hanging them up in a cool, dark place (my root cellar) is the best place for them.  I make sure to check each string a couple times a month for any rotting.  I just slowly twirl the strand around, and if I find one has rotted, I just pluck it off and discard it.

By the time spring planting comes around, I usually have some onions left.  I have a trick for any of the ones that happen to start sprouting at this time so they don’t go to waste.  I’ll show you that later.  For now, let’s look at braiding them.

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Easy Old-Fashioned Apricot Jam (No Added Pectin)

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*


I was blessed heavily with apricots this year, and couldn’t be happier about it. While most went to the dehydrator for trail mixes, granolas, and other snacks, I absolutely had to make jam with some too!

I find that while making jams traditionally without pectin takes more time and skill, in the end it’s a lot cheaper and I can make the batches any size I want.  With this recipe, as long as I have at least 1 quart of apricots, I can start making jam.

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How To Freeze Fresh Broccoli

The addition of our mini greenhouse afforded me the opportunity to grow broccoli this year.  I couldn’t be more happy since it’s one of our favorite vegetables.  If I could change one thing about the growing process, it would be that I was able to grow it for a longer season.

Since I can’t however, my main goal this year was to grow a lot and preserve what we didn’t eat fresh.  So far, that has meant I must freeze broccoli from my greenhouse for later use.

It’s a really easy process, and I’m so excited to start filling my freezer.

To start, make sure you are harvesting strong and healthy stalks and florets from your garden.  There is definitely a difference between the taste of frozen broccoli from the store and that which you will freeze fresh from your garden. Broccoli tastes best when harvested while the flowers are still tight and closed.

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Making Rhubarb Candy

I’ll admit, I haven’t always been a fan of rhubarb.  Once I moved here however, I realized quickly that if I really wanted to live a life as self-sufficiently as possible and use what was available to me, I was going to have to figure out how to love it.

I have since learned how to make tasty treats with rhubarb, can it in the forms of jam and juice, and also freeze it for later use.  I couldn’t find many uses for dried rhubarb, so I gave up on that for awhile.  Then a neighbor asked me if I’d ever made candy with it.

Everything changed.

Although we don’t eat much of it this way, it’s always a novelty to take to social gatherings and give as gifts.

Here’s how we do it.

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Vanilla Cantaloupe Jam Recipe

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no cost to you.  Thank you for supporting this site.*


After freezing a ton of cantaloupe, and eating as much fresh as we dared, I also wanted to preserve some for future use in a way that didn’t require freezing.  I decided to make jam–some with cinnamon and some with vanilla.  I made the vanilla jam first, and my family gobbled it up!

We like it best on homemade croissants, and honestly I think I like it better warmed, but straight from the pantry isn’t bad either.

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Dehydrating Oranges

December means oranges for our family.

Part of living in a zone 4 means we can’t grow so many of the fruits we love. Oranges are one of those fruits.  Every December, oranges go on sale for around $0.50/lb.  Our family always gets at least a hundred pounds (sometimes 200).

Some we freeze, most we bottle, as many as we are able to get eaten fresh, and the rest get dried and stored two different ways.

There are a few different ways to dehydrate your oranges, and everyone has their own preferences.  I’ll show you how I do them and then how I store and use them once I’m done.

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