What a glorious and beautiful time of year. The leaves are turning vibrant colors and this year the tomatoes were still ripening well into October! Besides the traditional autumnal activities like decorating with corn stalks and gourds, carving pumpkins and exploring hay mazes, with the shorter days comes a gentle slowing down of the garden and time to think about how to handle the abundance of produce that this long, hot summer has provided.
Harvest time is a reward for your summer labors and an opportunity to shift from working in the garden to preparing and preserving your produce in the kitchen. Some vegetables like winter squash, carrots and beets are still in the garden in hopes of being featured on the Thanksgiving table. Others have been harvested and need to be preserved if you want to enjoy them well into winter.
There are so many options this time of year to extend the enjoyment of the garden through the many avenues of preservation: canning, freezing, drying, dehydrating, pickling...
I want to share some of my family recipes for preserving the harvest with you. The first is my recipe for quince jelly. I bought my quince tree during our early spring bare root sale five years ago and this year it produced the most quince yet.
Be sure to consult a canning website or cookbook for details on preparing and sterilizing your jelly jars.
Pickling is a great way to preserve a variety of produce, especially cucumbers. My mom, Babe, and her friend, Signe, both made delicious homemade pickles with fresh cucumbers from the farm in Gray's Harbor. Here are Babe's recipe for easy dill pickles and Signe's recipe for dill pickles with a little kick.
Finally, I included my recipe is for spiced cucumber chips. There is no need to sterilize the jars you use for these specific pickles as meticulously as you did your jam jars, as they are "quick" pickles that are to be stored in the fridge.
Click on the recipes to see larger images you can print. Enjoy these family recipes for the harvest season and share them with family and friends.