Wednesday, March 26, 2014

9 Things You Should Do Now to Prepare for Harvest

We all know Harvest is a hectic time. All those yummy fruits and vegetables have to be harvested, cleaned, and processed before they spoil. To get ahead of the Harvest this year, our staff has put together our top 9 suggestions to make this year's Harvest the easiest and the most enjoyable it can be!

  1. Pack away seasonal dishes and entertainment items that take up a lot of shelf or cupboard space to free kitchen space for better harvest time use. Plastic laundry baskets and bins make good storage containers for out-of-season items because they can be labeled and stacked in a small area.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of fresh herbs and spices. Take the time to mark the date on new containers as you open them. Once opened, herbs and ground spices should be used within 6 months, and whole spices within 1 year.  After that, they should discarded because they lose flavor.
  3. Make soup stocks to store in the freezer for quick, fresh vegetable soups in summer. This idea is especially good if you heat with wood or coal stoves; you can use the energy for cooking that you are already using to heat your home.
  4. Plan your vegetable garden, setting down approximate planting dates for various vegetables to stagger the harvest. This will prevent problems that arise when everything is ready at the same time.
  5. Once you have decided which recipes you would like to try, calculate how much sugar, pickling salts, spices, vinegar, and freezer bags you will need, and buy a little each time you shop. This will save extra shopping trips at your busiest time and spread the cost of the extras over a longer period of time.
  6. Clear at least one large shelf in a clean, enclosed area (kitchen cupboard, nearby closet, or pantry) to store canning jars that can be washed ahead of time.
  7. Start preparing extra meals to tuck away in the freezer for harvest day dinners that are fairly effortless to put on the table.
  8. As your root cellar empties in the spring, clean the shelves well to avoid insect and bacteria problems during the warmer months.
  9. To save on the cost of running your freezer, fill it with ice pack or milk cartons of water as it empties. A full freezer costs less to run, and the ice will come in handy to cool blanched veggies during harvest.

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? What do you do to prepare for Harvest? Comment below!

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