From the Garden

Preserving Food Doesn’t Have to Take All Day

By Megan Cain | Photo By tribp via Flickr 0

When most people think about food preservation they imagine long hours toiling in the kitchen over a hot stove. That’s not for me. I consider myself a lazy food preserver, if you believe in such a thing. 

I like to put food away, but I don’t want to spend my whole summer a slave to the task. I want to have time to enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer in Madison - hiking, camping, barbecuing and festival-going. So, over the years I have focused on what I call super easy food preserving. I am constantly on the hunt for ways to put food away with the least amount of work possible.

Each season I focus on the three quickest and easiest ways to fill my pantry for off season eating – fresh, fridge and freezer storage.

Fresh Storage

You don’t need a fancy root cellar to store vegetables in your house. Locating a cool, dry place (think basement, laundry room, cold floor of a closet) will allow you to keep vegetables like onions, garlic, winter squash for many months of the year. I haven’t bought a bulb of garlic in a very long time – mine stores year round until the next crop is ready.

Fridge Storage

Vegetables like beets, carrots, cabbage, and leeks can come straight out of the garden and into your fridge for storage. Last winter we ate beets and carrots from our fall garden right through to the next April when they ran out. 

Freezer Storage

The majority of vegetables fall into this category. Before they go into the freezer they usually need some processing like chopping or blanching. Kale can be chopped up and stuffed into bags raw, corn benefits from some steaming before it is stripped from the ear. When you’re ready to use your freezer vegetables you simply throw a handful in the pan straight from the freezer. Easy peasy!

Preserving food won’t take all day when you focus on these three quick and easy food preserving techniques. I spell out exactly what to do with each vegetable, fruit and herb in my new book - Super Easy Food Preserving. It comes out in less than two weeks! Get on the list here to get first dibs

Megan Cain is setting out to create a legion of gardening addicts who successfully and passionately grow their own food.Through her gardening education business, The Creative Vegetable Gardener, she helps people get more out of their gardens by first mastering the essentials and then indulging in the colorful details that make gardening not just a favorite pastime, but a lifestyle. Jump on her email list at to get her best advice in the season you need it most.

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