As the temperatures are heating up so is the abundance of produce from the garden. How do we deal with the overflow of cucumbers, tomatoes and the never-ending zucchini? I want to share a few suggestions with you for dealing with this feast of bounty that you are growing.
As frustrating as it can seem I would say first and foremost… “Be Grateful”. What a wonderful blessing your bounty is. A blessing for your family that you can have fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs straight from the vine. A blessing for the fall and winter as you preserve some of the harvest and finally a blessing to your friends and neighbors as you share some of your excess.
How to Handle the Excess from Your Garden:
- Harvest your produce regularly even daily if you can. Picking your zucchini, cucumbers and green beans when they are smaller means that they will not be tough, stringy or mushy. Also, it’s easier to deal with a few zucchini rather than pounds of produce.
- Set up a staging area in your kitchen or dining room to keep the produce handy and remind yourself to deal with it. A basket, large bowl or tray works well and looks attractive at the same time.
- Set aside some time each day to process your produce. If you have a garden this is a given. Build in 30 minutes or so each day to chop, cook, freeze and can your produce. I tend to make small batches of preserved food rather than massive amounts.
- Keep a container in the freezer to add small amounts of fruits and vegetables to. For example, I have a container for green beans and raspberries. I freeze the individual items on a cookie sheet and then add it to my freezer bag. This way when I want green beans I don’t have to defrost the whole bag. I can just grab the amount I need.
- Frequently call or text family and friends to let them know that you have extra produce available.
- When all else fails set out produce in your front yard to share with your neighbors.
Providing food for your family from your garden is a wonderful way to save some money, get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of God’s world around us. The garden is a blessing, even in it’s overabundance, that we can be grateful for. I hope that you find some time to harvest some of those blessings.