Bring Summer Indoors
While we love the harvest season, we hate to see our fresh produce and blooming flowers disappear until next year. But we can hang on to summer well into the cooler months by storing and preserving all that we’ve grown.
Here are some tips from Botanical Interests on bringing your garden bounty indoors!
Winter Squash and Pumpkins
Before eating, carving, or storing, cure in a sunny indoor area at 75°-80°F for 1 to 2 weeks so that the skin further hardens. Ideal storage conditions are 50°-60°F with good air circulation, such as in a cool basement, off the floor. Once cured, winter fruit will store from 1 to 6 months depending on the variety.
Blush or green tomatoes ripen the fastest in a warm, dark area. Ideally, ripe tomatoes are stored at 55°-68°F. For best flavor and texture, avoid storing tomatoes in the refrigerator, Whole, chopped, stewed, or sauced tomatoes can also be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to one year.
Many herbs hold their flavor when dried. Cut a handful of stems and tie them together to hang upside down in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight, with good air circulation. Once dry, store them in an airtight container, in the dark if possible. Some herbs are better frozen. Freeze chopped herbs in an ice cube tray with a little water or olive oil. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer safe container, and defrost as needed.
Make sure flowers are dry and strip foliage from stems, which helps the plant dry faster. Tie 5-10 stems in a bundle with rubber bands, and hang them upside down. Try to keep the flowers from touching each other. The rubber bands will tighten as the stems dry out, and the flower heads will pull the stems straight. Grasses should be dried upright.