Creating Your Secret Garden Part 4: Keeping Your Harvest | Plenty of Recipes and Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Garden Year Round

While visually seeing your hard work come to fruition is wonderful, the truly most rewarding part of gardening is eating! I love preserving my harvest so that way I can enjoy them all year long. Although I did not grow up learning to can and preserve foods, I do have several family members who did. I also love sharing the wealth with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Who doesn’t love a homegrown tomato, peach, or jalapeno? This post aims to provide some helpful links I have used to preserve some of my produce.


{Picture of one of our harvests this season taken by Lauren Carlisle 2016}

Canning Veggies – Canning veggies is usually pretty easy. You do not need tons of equipment that they talk about – all you need are tongs, a big pot, glass containers, and a recipe. Some of the helpful tools that I like to use are a funnel and jar lifter. I also really like using pickle crisp and freezing my veggies I can. This way, they stay crisp after many months of pickling. Most recipes can be adapted to your palette with regards to seasonings and amounts. However, it is very important that you try to follow the correct ratios. This really can make or break your recipe. Listed below are several recipes that I have found that work and are great!


{My First Batch of Pickles in 2012 taken by Lauren Carlisle}

Red Wine Pickled Beets – Wine. Enough said!!

Wine-Pickled Beets


Cowboy Candy – By far my most requested pickled item. Oh so delicious!

How to Can Diced Tomatoes – I like this one because it’s basically the same concept for canning salsa or pasta sauce as well.

Amish Dill Pickles – As she says in the notes, I like this one with less sugar.

Canning Green Beans – No need to go to the store to buy canned ones again!

If you’re canning recipes won’t work, then give this a try! How to Freeze Garden Vegetables

Canning Fruits – Canning fruits is also very easy. In fact, I think in many cases it can be easier! Honestly, any puree can be canned and saved. Pie filling, jams, and pickling are all relatively simple procedures and can be preserved! You also do not need to be as concerned about keeping your fruits crisp because most fruits aren’t served that way when cooked. Here are some of my favorites.


{My first batch of jam and pickled peaches taken by Lauren Carlisle 2016}

Berry Jam – So easy and no pectin necessary! Please note this is a jam so not necessarily great for spreading but great for cutting up with cheese and crackers.

Pickled Peaches – So yummy! I did upgrade this one a bit. I didn’t do cloves and just a cinnamon stick. The other batch I made with jalapeños for future salsa – yum!

Pickled Green Strawberries – Yes they are so amazing. I hope to try to do this with Rosé soon… will update you on the details!

Homemade Balsamic Figs – Great with goat cheese, salad, chicken… everything!

Apple Pie Filling – This one I think would be super easy to adapt to other fruits and the perfect size for a large pie!

If you’re canning recipes won’t work than give this a try! How to Freeze Fresh Fruit

Preserving Herbs – I have found two ways that work really well when preserving herbs. First is to make a pistou sauce (prepared like a pesto but without cheese or nuts) and freeze them into ice cubes to use later. The second is to dry the herbs with a dehydrator. You can also use them in your canning recipes as well. However, if you’re like me and have tons of excess, then you will need an alternative to store your herbs. This link (How to Freeze Herbs in Olive Oil) will allow you to freeze them and keep them in their natural form.

Other helpful tips – Last but not least, if you need some extra guidance or if you just want to be more versed in canning I have found these links to be super helpful.

How to Pickle Everything

200 Canning and Preserving Recipes

Top 5 Canning Mistakes

How to Pickle Anything like a Pro (This one has great graphics, steps, recipes, and jar tips)

36 Fool Proof Dehydrator Recipes

So get out there and start preserving. No need to let your great produce go to waste because you can’t eat it all in one fell swoop! Also, if you don’t have quick enough produce to make one of your recipes – visit one of your local produce stands or farms to fill in the gaps. Fruit and veggies in the grocery store tend to lack full flavor and are full of pesticides (even the organic ones can be guilty of this). Not only will your batch be more rounded this way, but it will also allow you to share more of your wealth! Happy gardening and happy canning!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!



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