Friday, July 8, 2011

Things To Do With Excess Fruits and Vegetables

fresh garden tomatoes
Summer is a time of plenty for home gardeners. By mid-season, many homeowners are overwhelmed with vegetables such as sweet corn, string beans, lima beans, squash, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalepenos, okra, potatoes, and other fresh vegetables.

For fruit growers, there are apples, peaches, pears, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and other treats.

Canning is a traditional method for storing fruits and vegetables for the off season. Home canners often "put up" jars of tomatoes, corn, beans, pears, peaches, relish, jams, jellies, and other foods.

Canning vegetables is hard work and takes not only equipment, but considerable knowledge, time and effort. Despite the hassles associated with canning, the end result can be high-quality products which can be stored all winter without requiring refrigeration.

Some vegetables, such as squash, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, and okra can be blanched and frozen in vacuum bags or other containers. Freezing foods is not as energy efficient as canning, but simplicity of this method makes it a viable option for most home gardeners.

Dehydration is another option for gardeners. Dehydrators are expensive and use energy, but yield high quality dried fruits and vegetables.

In rural areas, a few home gardeners and micro-farmers still keep chickens, ducks, geese, guinea birds or other fowl. These birds all have insatiable appetites for fruits and vegetables.

When all uses at home are exhausted, producers still have a variety of options. Non-gardening friends, family and neighbors are usually happy to accept when offered fresh produce. These arrangements become even better when fruits or vegetables can be exchanged or bartered for other goods.

Excess fruits and vegetables can also be sold at local flea markets or farmer's markets. This can be a challenge when markets are flooded with produce, but some areas seem to have a strong demand for locally sourced foods.

Not to be forgotten are local shelters, soup kitchens, food banks or other facilities where food is always in demand. By providing fresh fruits and vegetables to these facilities, gardeners can provide a valuable service to their community.

No comments:

Post a Comment