My last blog post on how to make the most of your space gave me an idea for this post. I’d like to share my ideas about how to make the most of your harvest. Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of the growing process that we overlook the end result – fresh, delicious produce from the garden. After all the time, effort and money that has gone into growing your veggies, it would be wasteful and a real shame not to use it. Of course, there can be the problem of having a glut on your hands, which tends to be the case in summer when everything grows at such a rapid pace. Here are some suggestions:
· Stagger seed sowing and planting so you have an extended period of harvest and everything doesn’t mature at once
· Harvest veggies daily as they mature, whether you’re ready to eat them or not. If you don’t, zucchini will very quickly become marrows and fruiting veggies such as tomatoes and capsicum will stop producing new fruits. It’s a good idea to write the date that you harvested the produce on a bag when you store it in the fridge, so you can make sure you’re using older stock first
· In saying that, some veggies and herbs can be harvested as you need without the risk of bolting to seed or becoming inedible. This can depend on the time of the year they are grown
· Check the temperature of your fridge to ensure it’s appropriate for storing produce. Try to make use of the crisper section at the bottom of the fridge as much as possible to keep veggies fresh
· Eat as much produce fresh as you possibly can, even if it means eating more veggies than usual. It’s good for your health! Look on www.taste.com.au for recipes. We like typing in a veggie that is plentiful in the garden eg “zucchini” and it brings up so many different creative ways of using them. In the picture, you can see the kale chips we have been having every night with dinner from Sunday’s harvest which I mentioned in my earlier blog post
· Remember that some veggies will keep better than others. We never eat our pumpkins in summer because there are so many other things that are ready in the garden which don’t store as well. We use our pumpkins over winter and in spring
· Drink your produce! Make juices and smoothies. In summer, we make tomato juice out of tomatoes and cucumbers. In winter, we enjoy kale in green smoothies with coconut water
· Reduce the amount of meat you consume in summer, in favour of vegetarian pizzas, lasagne and melanzane with garden grown produce
· Don’t forget that produce can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, tea and in between! Breakfast ideas include omelettes containing tomatoes, capsicum and herbs from the garden or a side serving of wilted spinach and tomatoes with scrambled eggs or a fry up English style
· Think outside the box. Zucchini, beetroot and carrot can be added to cakes and muffins. A couple of months ago, I was looking at a recipe for keto bread which used broccoli
· Preserve. Bottle, dehydrate and freeze produce for later use. In the past we have bottled gherkins and made pesto with basil which were put into small Sistema containers for freezing. Don’t forget that you can freeze both actual produce and make dishes using them to put into the freezer for later use. Sure it takes time to make them, but it’s perfect for when you’re really busy. Just defrost, re-heat and enjoy!
· Share excess produce with neighbours, family and friends as we do.
· You could consider selling excess produce at a farmer’s market or set up a mini stall outside your home with an honesty box
· Look into joining a produce swap website or community group. If you grow mostly veggies as we do, it may be possible to find someone who has a lot of fruit trees so you can exchange produce