Preserving your Harvest: Gardening Accessories and Supplies
Toiling over the ground; tilling until it is just right, mixing fertilizer until your hands are stained black and neat little rows are prepared, equal distances apart, to ensure the best end results, laying down the seeds with care, making sure they are properly spaced and judging the depth of each different variety by your well-trained measuring utensil, otherwise known as your pointer finger. Tending to the seedlings you watch them sprout and grow up into magnificent plants- Ah! The joys of gardening abound!
It is now September – last chance to harvest – and while you may have the proper tools to harvest your prized crops, there are some other gardening supplies and accessories that you may not have considered to help keep and store your hard work for later use.
Canning is a great way to store fruits and veggies from your garden for later use. Canning works because it heats foods to kill bacteria while sealing them in a glass or metal container, preventing them from spoiling. All air that would allow bacteria to grow is forced out of the jars during the canning process.
Having canning supplies handy during harvest time means that you can keep more of your food fresh for use during the off-season. Here is a list of supplies that you will need to install an outdoor canning kitchen in your greenhouse – if you don’t have a greenhouse, you can use these same items indoors on your stove, as well.
• Boiling-water canner – Basically just a big pot with a tight fitting lid, mainly used for canning fruits or high-acid vegetables.
• Pressure canner – Similar to a pressure cooker, the lid locks down to keep steam in. This canner is great for vegetables and low-acid foods.
• Canning jars – Commonly called Mason Jars, these are the glass jars that come with metal screw on lids. They create very tight seals and are perfect for canning just about anything. You can choose from pints, or quart-sizes, and regular or wide-mouthed varieties.
• Lids and bands – Lids, sometimes known as “flats,” should be new and never reused because they may not seal properly the second time. Bands thread onto the jars to hold the lids in place during the canning process. These can be removed after a pressure seal has formed and the jars cool for 12-24 hours.
A Dehydrator is another useful gardening accessory. The ability to dry herbs and fruits can come in handy for use during the winter season. Dried herbs go much further than fresh herbs and can last for many months without going bad. Dried fruits make for great snacks by themselves or can be used in cooking, cereal, oatmeal, or even smoothies. Once dried, you always have the option of partially dehydrating your fruit by putting them in a bath of warm water for a few minutes. A good dehydrator will have several large racks and a temperature dial that ranges from about 80F to around 150F.
Canning supplies and a good dehydrator are essential elements to your gardening tool kit. They will help you preserve and store your hard work for later use and not to mention, the use of both gardening accessories will fill your house with the wonderful smell of your garden. Bon Appetite.
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