Storing and Preserving Food Crops From The Garden

If you are just getting into growing your own, you will discover that it takes some time to understand how much of everything you ought to grow to meet the needs of your household. It is better to grow too much than too little but when you do you may end up with gluts of one thing or another. You may also find that while you have plenty of produce at certain times of year, this abundance does not continue throughout the year. When you grow your own, it is great to eat fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the garden – nothing compares. But it is also extremely useful to know how to preserve those food crops for later use, either to prevent a glut from spoiling or to save food for lean times later on.

Here is a very brief guide to simple methods for preserving food:


Freezing food is one of the easiest ways to preserve food, as long as you have the freezer space. But you should not just put fresh greens, beans, peas, brassicas etc. into the freezer. You should blanch them first by heating them for a minute or so in boiling water. This will help to ensure your food stays super fresh even when frozen. After blanching, plunge the vegetables into cold water to stop the cooking process and to cool them down straight away. To make it easier to detach veg for later cooking, you can freeze items flat on a tray and separate before you place them all in the freezable containers you have chosen to use.

Cold Store:

Some foods are best not refrigerated and as well as being frozen can also keep well in a cool, dry location. Potatoes should be kept in a cardboard box or similar somewhere they will not get hot and more importantly, somewhere they will not be exposed to sunlight. Sunlight will turn potatoes green and green potatoes are poisonous and should never be eaten. Root vegetables are also best stored somewhere cold and hard, though they like a higher humidity than potatoes. Store root vegetables like carrots in boxes filled with sawdust or sand. Root vegetables should only be stored when in good condition so use up any damaged ones first. Mature roots with thicker skins that have been given a chance to dry out in the sun will store best. Do not wash them before storage.

Onions should not be stored with root vegetables as they can make each other spoil faster. Onions, garlic and other alliums can be braided and hung up when dried, or simply stored in an open basket or other container with excellent air circulation. Braids or baskets are best kept in the open but out of direct sunlight.

Pickles and Preserves:

Pickles and preserves like chutneys, jams and jellies are perfect to create some treats throughout the year and to take care of gluts of fruits and vegetables from your garden. There are endless recipes to help you choose the right ones to make for you. You can reuse jars, but make sure that those jars have been sterilised using the oven or microwave before you fill them up.