Canning to Preserve Summer Garden Nutrients

Canning and preserving food is an important way to preserve freshly harvested summer fruits and vegetables from your garden.

This year, we decided to can from our garden to preserve the summer ripeness and taste, following traditional Abruzzese canning methods (from my great granny).

Preservation allows you to enjoy the hard work that you put into your summer garden in winter and beyond. It is also incredibly eco-friendly, since canning preserves seasonal food straight from your own garden, instead of buying any packaged, shipped, or processed food. You know where your fruits and veggies came from, and you know what high quality ingredients you are preserving for later. This is also incredibly important when it comes to nutrient density, as the longer the vegetables sit out after picked (say while they are transported cross country) the more the nutrients degrade.

Canning preserves these nutrients at their peak, or close to it. While the heating process during canning does reduce some vitamins and nutrients, after the cans are sealed and preserved, minimal amounts of vitamins and nutrients are lost.

The main point when it comes to nutrient density in vegetables and fruits: eat them quick after harvest or preserve them.

Preservation also saves you money by not wasting your garden produce if you did not eat it all. You can save it for another time to enjoy!

We recently canned banana bell peppers from our garden following my Great Grandmother’s recipe from Abruzzo. A few pictures are below!

 

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The Finished Product:

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Safety concerns: if you try canning, please research all methods carefully! When you can your garden produce, it is essential to follow instructions. Not following instructions adequately can lead to microorganism growth leading to food borne illness. Here are some helpful sites for the safety concerns of canning and precautions to take, along with some canning basics.

https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/home_canning.html

http://www.cdc.gov/features/homecanning/

https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4078e/

I recently attended a lecture by famous food writer, Domenica Marchetti at Domenica Cooks and bought her book titled: Preserving Italy. It has recipes in for canning and preserving food using Italian traditions and ingredients. Check it out!

I hope we convinced you to not only grow your own nutritious food, but to also preserve this food for your own sustainable, home-grown food for later. This is another way to avoid buying processed or packaged food when fresh, summer veggies are not available!

Stay tuned for more canning posts including beets grown from our garden!

Have you preserved any of your garden harvest this year? We would love to hear!

About the Author

Sarah Ferrante, Ph.D.

 

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