KUSA - Most gardens have reached full production mode. tomatoes, zucchini and beans are rolling in. Take action to pick and store your produce properly. Consider canning excess tomatoes or beans or pickling cucumbers or peppers.
Start by harvesting correctly. I use scissors or a knife to cut off most vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and cabbage. This helps prevent damage to the plants from yanking or twisting. Fingers will do for beans.
Some vegetables should be stored at room temperature while others should be refrigerated. Vegetables that dehydrate quickly should be refrigerated. These include corn, beets, peppers, cucumbers and leafy crops such as kale, chard, lettuce and cabbage. Tomatoes lose their flavor if refrigerated, so keep those on the counter. I store potatoes and squash in a dark cupboard.
Some vegetables can be frozen as well, although the texture may suffer. Canning helps preserve taste and texture and is often used for beets, tomatoes and beans. If you've never canned or pickled before, there's a wealth of information online; home canning kits and jars are available at garden centers and hardware stores.
And, of course, there's always zucchini bread. Chopped zucchini can be frozen and used to bake bread throughout the winter. Even if your zucchini have grown to the size of small dogs, scoop out the seeds and use a food processor to chop the rest for future baking.
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