Tips for Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

Pickling, Freezing, and Storing Tips for Your Harvest

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Once you’ve harvested all your fruits and veggies, use these pickling, freezing, and storing tips so that you can be eating them all winter.

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What to do with the bounty from your garden? Pickle, freeze, or store it. It’s easy and inexpensive, and you’ll enjoy healthy, nutritious vegetables and fruit all winter long.

Not sure whether to go sweet, sour, or dill? Here is one of our favorite pickle recipes, plus some tips.

Pickling Tips and Recipe

Be Selective About Salt

Use pickling salt, not iodized salt. Pickling salt has no additives. Iodized salt makes the brine cloudy and may change the color and texture of the vegetables. It may also leave a sediment at the bottom of the jars.

Take Care With Vinegars

For best results, use white distilled or cider vinegars with 5 percent acidity. Use white vinegar when light color is desirable, as with fruit and cauliflower.

Crunchy Dill Pickles

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Photo Credit: vkuslandia/Shutterstock. These crunchy dill pickles make a perfect compliment to your favorite summer sandwich.

Check out our other great pickling tips and recipes!

“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
–Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. president (1743–1826)

How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

Always remember, your freezer is your friend at this time of year. Here’s how to preserve the freshness of …

Berries: Spread unwashed berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put the sheet into the freezer. When the berries are frozen, transfer them to a plastic container or freezer bag. Learn more from our blog on how to freeze blueberries.

Tomatoes: Core fresh, unblemished tomatoes and place them whole in freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze. Be prepared: The skins will slip off when they defrost.

Zucchini: Wash and grate the zucchini. Quickly dip grated zucchini in boiling water, then drain and cool. Pack premeasured amounts into freezer bags or plastic containers, leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal, label, and freeze. Use for zucchini bread, soups, and stews in winter.

Herbs: Spoon 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs into each compartment of an ice cube tray. Add about 1 inch of water to each compartment and put the tray into the freezer. Remove it when herb cubes are frozen. Lift the cubes from the compartments and put into a plastic freezer bag. Label the bag and put it back into the freezer.

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Photo Credit: Anna Shepulova/Shutterstock. Preserve your mint harvest by freezing the herb in ice cubes.

Learn how to freeze corn and spinach or other greens, and get more tips for freezing all types of food!

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables

Little or no special equipment is required to put these goods away until you want them.

Apples: Apples keep well for about 6 months at temperatures above freezing but below 45°F. If you don’t have a root cellar, a double cardboard box in a cool basement can approximate the conditions.

Carrots: After harvesting, remove the green tops and brush off any excess dirt. Put the carrots into a cardboard box and pack dry sand around them. Store the box in a cool basement.

Onions and Garlic: Hang mature, dry-skin onion bulbs in a mesh bag in a cool, dry, airy location. Braided onions and garlic also can be hung.

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Photo Credit: JIL Photo/Shutterstock. A garlic braid isn’t a new hairstyle, but rather a great way to store your harvest.

Tomatoes: Store tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes.

Root Vegetables: If covered with a thick layer of mulch (hay, dried leaves, straw), carrots, garlic, horseradish, leeks, parsley, parsnips, radishes, and turnips can be left in the ground well into the winter and harvested into the spring.

Also, check out our tips for storing potatoes in the root cellar and learn how to store beets. And take a look at our comprehensive list for storing fruits, vegetables, and herbs!

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