Greenhouse Gardening: Canning the Fruits of Your Labor
If you’ve been gardening in the greenhouse this year, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with the bounty from your efforts. Fall harvest seems to sneak up on us all, and trying to store all those fruits and veggies for the fast-approaching winter months can be hectic! Here are a few fall canning tips to help you get your crops in quicker.
Fall Canning Tips for Greenhouse Gardeners
One of the inevitable side effects of a love for gardening is hours spent in the kitchen preparing all those fruits and veggies for storage. Until a few years ago, I simply froze all of my garden veggies, but then I decided to give canning a try. Boy, am I glad I did! If you are new to canning, these time saving tips might prove to be very valuable. Give a few a try and see what a difference the extra effort can make!
1. Invest in a food processor. This is the first year I have used a food processor and I was simply amazed at how much time it saved. Veggies are ready for canning in seconds and the entire machine cleans up with a rinse in hot soapy water. My fingertips are very thankful that I won’t be scoring them repeatedly while slicing up cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and beets this year.
2. Buy a pressure cooker. I know, most pressure cooker manuals do not include any instructions for pressure canning quarts and pints, but the FDA encourages home gardeners to use pressure canning for all low-acid foods, like beans and carrots. You can find pressure canning time tables and instructions online if your pressure cooker doesn’t come with canning instructions.
3. Compost your food scraps. Those snap bean ends, tomato cores, and corncobs make great fertilizer for next year’s crops. Mix your layers of food scraps with coffee grounds, grass clippings, and leaves to create the richest compost. Be sure to water it well and turn it over often to increase airflow for better decomposition.
4. Enlist help. Recruit your kids, spouse, or friends to help you pick, clean, prepare and can your crops. The work will go twice as fast and you can reward them a few jars of the finished products.
5. Always label your jars. You may think it’s a no-brainer that jar contains this year’s beans, but in 12 months, your memory may not be so clear. Sometimes jars get missed from year to year and labeling them with the date canned helps keep you from wasting food and getting spoiled jars.
6. Stock up. Always buy an extra set of jars and several boxes of fresh lids to keep on hand. It can be frustrating to have a hot jar of produce ready for processing and realize you are out of lids or bands.
Canning your fruits and veggies from the greenhouse can be an immensely rewarding experience. Canning takes a lot time, and the lengthy process is often daunting for many gardeners who are new to canning, but taking a few time saving tips can help make your first canning season a pleasant one.
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