It happens every year. Each spring I am so excited to garden that I grow more than my family could ever eat. I realize this is a bonus, so I try to make the absolute most out of every single vegetable I harvest. If you are also fortunate enough to have too many veggies, try these preparing and sharing ideas.
- Freezing. Greens (kale, spinach, collards), onions, peppers, tomatoes, and winter squash can be frozen without blanching (boiled quickly and then cooled in ice water to preserve nutrients and color). Vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, and green beans maintain a better quality when blanched before freezing.
- Batch meals. Cook up a big batch of tomato sauce, eggplant cutlets, or even a whole casserole and freeze the extra portions in well-marked, freezer-safe containers.
- Canning. Preserve the bounty by canning. Be sure to follow a tested recipe (like these from the USDA) to avoid any chance of food-borne illness.
- Meet your neighbors. You’ll not only make new friends (or delight the old ones), but you may even turn some into gardeners! The more gardens in a neighborhood, the higher everyone’s sense of pride, too. So bring over that extra zucchini, flower bouquet, or basil.
- Donate. Do you know that food banks around our nation find it difficult to consistently provide fresh vegetables to their communities? Find your local food bank and share the harvest.
For more ideas see our article Preserve the Harvest. Share your creative uses for extra garden goodies in the comments!