August 10

What to Do NOW to Enjoy Summer Produce this Winter!

Food for Thought


It’s a common gardening conundrum: What do you do with the excess produce from your garden harvest? Give away as much as you can to friends and neighbors? Fill a box marked FREE and set it out on the curb? Try to sneak another zucchini into dinner for the 40th time? You don’t have to waste excess food from the garden! Here are some suggestions to put that produce to use NOW and enjoy later!  

1. Canning

Canning is a method of preserving food by sealing it in sterile, air-tight glass mason jars. Foods can be pre-cooked or raw, simple or elaborate when canned, but many canning methods do employ the use of heat to sterilize and seal the jars, so some cooking may occur.

2. Drying

Drying or dehydrating foods is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Many fruits and herbs can be safely sun-dried, or dried outdoors due to their high sugar and acid content that deters spoilage. However, vegetables should always be dried in a dehydrator. Additionally, humid climates, or climates with great temperature fluctuations between day and night, are not ideal for drying outdoors.

3. Pickling/Fermenting

Pickling or fermenting food both reduces spoilage by increasing either the vinegar or the natural alcohol content of foods, making it inhospitable to unfriendly molds and bacteria, and increases the good probiotic content. Fermented foods have recently had a lot of press since the lactic acid created during fermentation is a fantastic digestive aid, and making them at home can be simple and fun.

4. Freezing

While not a long-term method of preservation, freezing your harvest can keep fruits, vegetables and herbs fresh for up to a year. However, not all foods do well in a freezer, so be sure to investigate or ask us before using this method.

5. Oil Pack

Preserving foods in oil gives the double benefit of storing food and creating a delicious flavor-infused oil. This method is fantastic for herbs, as well as tomatoes, olives, onions, garlic, peppers, eggplant, squash and many other vegetables. Oil prevents the spread of harmful spoilage by reducing the oxidation of the contents, which maintains the integrity of the food, but can also establish anaerobic conditions which actually favor the growth of some harmful types of bacteria. This can be combated by adding an acid, such as vinegar, at a ratio of three to one (the weight of vegetables to the weight of the vinegar). While this method can result in delectable foods, it is the most fickle of these methods, so caution and care should always be used.


Thanks to One Green Planet for the great little list!

Mrs. Dornberg

About the author

Cheryl Dornberg, NBC-HWC, is a national board-certified health & wellness coach and culinary nutrition expert who is passionate about using the power of food to achieve optimal health and increase longevity. She specializes in motivating and empowering individuals to create sustainable & consistent dietary and lifestyle habits that support the management and prevention of chronic health conditions, increase longevity, and improve overall quality of life.


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  1. The picture used with this article is Cheryl’s Oven Roasted tomatoes. Personally I don’t grow tomatoes, but I have purchased them at the grocery store and farm stands specifically to make this recipe at home. They are almost magical, they are so versatile and have such a flavor punch and once roasted can be stored in the freezer for use during the Fall and Winter. I highly recommend all of Cheryl’s classes and this recipe is one of my favorites.

    1. Thanks, Donna! It is one of my favorite recipes, too! This year we do not have our own tomatoes, but I have already purchased plum style at the farmstand and am stocking these gems in the freezer! I especially LOVE them on pizza!

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