Whether you have plenty of strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, or fruit trees on your farm, you don’t want to just waste all that fruit during the harvest season. There is only so much apple pie your family members and neighbors can eat, so preserving fruit, vegetables, and making a delicious compote, jam, and chutney is a good idea. You will save a lot of money on preserves. At least you will know what you are eating during the winter. In case you are just trying to get ready for the first harvest season, here’s a list of things you need to do to make the most out of your fresh produce.
How to Get Ready for the Harvest Season
Check Your Kitchen Appliances
A lot of chopping, cooking, drying, and mixing is needed to make jam and preserves. You will have to make sure that your kitchen appliances are ready for the work and the challenges ahead. You should get them checked by booking an appointment at http://www.bristolappliancerepairpros.com/. If you need to get the blades sharpened or the motors upgraded, maybe you will need a bigger appliance, you should know as soon as possible.
Gather Large Pots and Pans
The amount of jam, chutney, preserves, and compote you will make will depend on the size of your harvest. But you will need something much bigger than your regular stew dish. You should visit a local store where you can get larger kitchen dishes, so you don’t have to spend too much time cooking and preparing your preserves. Try to get a pot you can make all your jam in at one time. Make sure that you are able to move it around the kitchen.
You should start collecting jars as soon as possible for your jams and other preserves. You might be able to pick some up at your local market or yard sale and decorate them according to your taste. Look for ones with airtight lids. This way you don’t have to spend too much time securing them and can avoid spoiling your preserves. Check local ads, as some people do actually give jam jars away for free. In case you buy preserves yourself, you can start your collection early at home. Stick the jars on the shelf, so you know how many more you need.
Estimate Your Harvest
As soon as your trees and bushes start flowering you will be able to estimate how much fruit you will have. After April or May, the weather is not likely to have an impact on your plants, but you have to make sure that you keep pests away. Use natural pesticides so you can grow organic and avoid contamination. This helps to make for a successful harvest season.
Buy In Bulk
You are likely to need a lot of lemon, spices, and natural preservatives to make your jams and conserves, not to mention the sugar and sweeteners. To save money, you might want to visit a bulk buying store and get everything in before the prices go up. You might need some cellophane to go on the top of the jars, as well as rubber bands or ties, to keep the air out. Buying in bulk can save you money and hassle.
Invest In a Chest Freezer
If you are expecting to get tons of pumpkins, sweet peas, and green beans this year, you might not be able to eat them all. A chest freezer is the best option for spinach, peas, beans, pumpkin, and even Brussel sprouts and kale. You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle if you don’t bother cooking and preserving the produce. The nutritional value of frozen vegetables is pretty much the same as fresh ones’. Invest in some freezer bags to organize your new freezer for the winter.
Get Natural Disinfectants
The last thing you want is growing organic fruit and vegetables and getting them contaminated with chemicals. You can get natural disinfectants to clean the surfaces while you are working on your jams, frozen vegetables, and conserves. This way you can avoid contamination, infection, and chemicals as well at the same time. Lemon, lime, apple cider vinegar will work just as well as the leading brand antibacterial cleaners.
Get Your Shelving Sorted
One of the most daunting household chores is organizing your pantry. You should start early. Install some shelves that are strong enough to hold all your products and are easy to clean and keep organized. A wooden shelf can be a good idea if you want air to circulate in the room, and metal is best for larger, heavier jars.
Create the Right Climate for Storage
It is also important that you get the temperature right in your storage room. In case you have a pantry in the basement, it will be easy. If, however, it is in the house, you should invest in a climate system to make sure you are not wasting your energy and efforts on preserves that will get spoiled due to the wrong temperature or humidity level. A basement, cellar, or even outbuilding can be a perfect choice for storing your preserves. Remember that the temperature should be steady throughout the year.
Get Your Labels
You shouldn’t forget about your labels, either. You can make them by hand if you are only making enough preserve and jam for you and your family members. In case you are planning to sell your produce, however, you can get your labels printed with your homestead address and contact details on. This way people buying from you online or at the farmers’ market can get back and purchase more. There are plenty of online printing services offering custom labels at reasonable prices.
No matter if you want to make your first jam and preserves this year, or try a new chutney recipe to sell to customers, you will need to get ready for the busy harvest season. Freeze what you can, such as vegetables and chopped fruit. Make some delicious and organic jams, conserve, and chutney as well, to impress your friends, family members, or customers.
Are you ready to have a successful harvest season on your homestead? Do you have any tips and pointers we have not included here? Please share them in the comment box below.