What to Do with Excess Fruits and Vegetables From Your Garden
Growing your own produce at home helps in saving money and ensuring that the food you eat is of the highest quality. This is probably why avid gardeners dedicate time to cultivating and growing their own fruits and vegetables. If you’re a keen gardener, then there may even be times where you’ll find that you’re growing more than you’re capable of consuming. When this happens, what do you do with all the excess from your garden? Let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can go about dealing with your extra harvest.
Preserve Your Produce
The easiest thing you can do with extra fruits and vegetables you can’t consume is freeze them so that you can preserve them. To do this, you need to briefly blanch your vegetables in boiling water to get rid of any germs that could lead to them spoiling. After that you can pack it in tightly sealed or vacuum-sealed freezer bags before storing them to slow down any decay.
By freezing your fruit and veg, it allows you to enjoy your produce for a longer period of time; some can even last for years when stored properly. The only drawback to this is that it may take a lot of your fridge space, so it might be a good idea to have a dedicated freezer for your fresh produce if you plan on doing this on a regular basis.
Canning and pickling your excess fruits and vegetables are also alternative options that don’t need to take up your fridge space. These processes are more elaborate, though. For example, if you go down the canning route, you will need to use a pressure canner to eliminate bacteria that blanching cannot. However, if you do not have access to a pressure canner, you can go ahead and pickle your fruits and vegetables before canning them, which prevents decay through the natural preserving qualities of ingredients like salt in the pickling process.
Share and Donate
Of course, you can also share your surplus food with others. You could choose to simply share it with friends and family or you donate it. One great option is local food banks. Food banks around the country feed millions of Americans dealing with food insecurity such as the homeless, impoverished families, even children and students. In addition, donating your canned and preserved produce will help in alleviating hunger in the country.
Showcase and Sell
If you’re feeling entrepreneurial, you should consider selling your excess produce. Most communities will have a local farmers market open for gardeners to showcase and sell your fresh harvest. You can also try selling online through digital marketplaces like Facebook and Instagram. And who knows? If you find yourself getting the hang of selling your fruits and vegetables and want to do it full-time, then you can flex your newly developed business skills by starting your very own store. It doesn’t have to be big or grand — the great thing about opening your own store is that you create the rules, manage your own schedule, and become even more active in your community. Just be sure to create a sound business plan and take the proper steps in registering your business like checking for licenses, fees, and documentation requirements. These are crucial in avoiding losses and making the most out of your would-be venture.
There’s definitely a sense of pride and accomplishment in growing your own produce. Not only do you get to immediately enjoy quality food, but it’s also a step towards a sustainable way of living. Moreover, your surplus doesn’t have to be confined to your home garden. Whether you share, donate, or sell them, it can bring life not just to your own home, but to other households who get the chance to partake in it as well.