Preview: Got excess garden produce? This post shares some of the best recipes for preserving the harvest.
With garden produce rolling in, you may be wondering what to do with all those extra vegetables. Whether you prefer to can, freeze, or dehydrate, I’ve got some great recipes to help you use up that excess produce.
I’ve also included a few of my favorite preserving books in case you want more recipes or need in-depth instructions.
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Recipes for Preserving Tomatoes
Canning tomatoes is a great way to preserve them for the winter. They are considered a high acid fruit so they can be canned in a water bath canner.
If you just want to freeze tomatoes, this post shares the quickest way to freeze them. You can use them straight from the freezer, or turn them into sauce when the weather is cooler and you don’t mind spending time in the kitchen.
This recipe from Southern Plate for tomato chips is one I can’t wait to try out this year. It uses a dehydrator to dry the tomatoes into a crispy chip.
They look delicious and are a perfect low-carb chip instead of potato chips. (They would be yummy with my French Onion Dip or Ranch Dressing.) Update: I tried them and they were delicious! This recipe is now a must-make each year.
Another delicious recipe to try with your homegrown tomatoes is this salsa recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Mel gives you a step-by-step tutorial on how to can this salsa, so this is the perfect recipe for a newbie. (Side note: If you don’t subscribe to her blog, you really should. She shares the most AMAZING recipes.)
Mel also has a fabulous spaghetti sauce recipe too. It can be canned or frozen. I made it and couldn’t stop eating it!
If you prefer to freeze your salsa, this freezer salsa recipe is the one I use every year. It’s simple to make and a great way to use up lots of garden vegetables as they get ripe.
Green beans are a popular vegetable to grow in the home garden. If you plan to can green beans, they must be pressure canned since they are a low-acid food. A Modern Homestead has a great tutorial if you want to can green beans.
But a much easier way to preserve green beans is by freezing. Freezing green beans doesn’t turn them as soft as canning does. This tutorial shares two different ways to freeze green beans.
It takes very little time to freeze green beans and they taste great. They still have a bit of crunch that my family loves. We often add them to stir-fries or cook them until crisp-tender with just a bit of garlic.
These beans stay crunchy even after canning. They would make a healthier choice alongside a sandwich instead of chips.
If you want to make roasted red peppers to save some money, (They can be very expensive in the store.) this recipe doesn’t require a gas stove. You can roast the peppers in your oven with delicious results.
Once roasted, you can freeze them to use later in recipes and on sandwiches or in pasta dishes. It’s easy to make a bunch at one time if you have lots, but its also convenient to do just one extra pepper if that’s all you’ve got. (You can also roast yellow and orange peppers too!)
While I planted quite a few, one new variety I tried didn’t perform very well for me. Most of the radishes were too small to eat. But hey, there is always room in my fall garden for a few. Hopefully, I’ll still get to test this one out.
If you want to make pickles, this is another great recipe from An Oregon Cottage. Her Garlic Dill Pickles don’t need to be canned. They can be stored in the refrigerator.
But if you want to can enough pickles to last the entire year, this dill pickle recipe from Ashley at Practical Self Reliance will make plenty.
If you prefer your pickles on the sweeter side, her Bread & Butter pickle recipe is sure to fit the bill.
Squash and Zucchini
I love to dehydrate squash and zucchini to use in soups and stews all winter long. The taste is so mild that even my squash avoiding children eat it without problems. This is also a great way to use up the jumbo squash you find hiding under the vines. Just be sure to remove the seeds first.
And this recipe for salt and vinegar squash chips is also on my must-try list this year. My family LOVES salt and vinegar potato chips, so I’m hoping I can sway them to try a few of these.
Unfortunately, I am quickly running out of squash. The vine borers have gotten most of my squash and zucchini already and my newly planted ones aren’t blooming yet.
Jams and Jellies
You can also make this recipe with other fruits. I’ve made blueberry jam using homegrown blueberries with these same instructions and it turned out great too!
(I like Pomona’s Pectin because you don’t have to use as much sugar to get jams and jellies to set up. The insert that comes with the pectin also includes a ton of great recipes for preserving.)
Raspberry peach freezer jam is another preserving recipe I haven’t tried but am planning to add to my list. If you have no interest in canning anything but want to put up some homemade jam, this is the perfect recipe.
We grow lots of raspberries each year and I love turning them into jam. But I had never thought of using the raspberries and peaches together. Yum.
And this super simple low-sugar freezer jam is easy to make and you can use a mix of fruits to make your favorite flavor combination. Hint: This jam would make a great hostess gift with a homemade loaf of bread!
Favorite Preserving Books
There are lots of cookbooks on the market with recipes for preserving the harvest from your garden. These are a few of my favorites.
Ball Blue Book of Preserving contains lots of pictures and step-by-step guides for canning various fruits and vegetables. They put out a new edition almost every year.
I have been preserving for quite a few years now, so my version is much older. (And actually has a blue cover.) This is the perfect first canning guide for a beginning canner, but it also includes a few freezing and dehydrating recipes too.
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff really is the Ultimate Dehydrating Book. This book explains how to dehydrate almost anything you can think of and then gives you recipes to use the dehydrated food.
And these dehydrating recipes are ones you would actually use. I’ve seen several dehydrator cookbooks with recipes that use weird ingredient combinations or just aren’t food most people typically eat.
The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook shares recipes like smoothies, muffins, soups, stews, and chili, as well as lots of vegetable side dishes.
There are also quite a few recipes for fruit leathers and tea blends. You can even turn dehydrated cucumbers into refrigerator pickles. If you only buy one dehydrating book, this should be it!
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a big book full of almost any preserving recipe you can think of. This book is great for the canning enthusiast who wants to have a large variety of recipes at their disposal, but it may be overwhelming for a beginning canner.
Do You Have Any Good Recipes For Preserving?
These are my favorite ways to preserve the garden harvest and several new recipes I hope to try. But remember, if dealing with the extra produce is leaving you stressed, you can always bless someone else by giving it away.
Do you have any favorite canning, freezing, or dehydrating recipes? If so, drop a link to the recipe below or feel free to type it out into the comments. As I try new recipes I will periodically update this post so I would love for you to pin it for later.
- Chocolate covered dehydrated fruit – The absolute best way to eat dehydrated bananas and strawberries.
- How to start a backyard compost pile
- Easy Freezer Salsa
- Refrigerator Dill Pickles
- The Best Canning & Preserving Supplies