The best advice for storing food long term is to store the best and eat or process the rest. How do you keep your fruit and vegetables at their best? The first rule is to harvest gently and at the peak time for each plant. We've listed our best harvest advice with each type of plant in the growing sections.
Next, be mindful of the respiration rates of your produce as this is incredibly important in determining how long your food will keep.
Lastly, keep damaged produce away from ideal produce.
In our recipes tab in this section, you'll find recipes for fresh produce that don't involve cooling. These may be blended or crushed or sliced but no other power appliances are used in preparation.
- food is stored in a cool location which slows the activity of harmful organisms
- locations typically include a cold storage area or refrigerator
- imperfect produce does not tend to store well long term
Here are some unique recipes for using your produce in new ways. In in this section, you'll find recipes for fresh produce that don't involve cooling. These may be blended or crushed or sliced but no other power appliances are used in preparation.
Cooking and preserving produce
Food preservation refers to any method or technique used to reduce enzyme activity and prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi or other micro-organisms on food that can cause it to spoil. There are several commercial and non-commercial ways to do this. Some of the most common home methods, recipes and uncommon ways to use common produce are included in the tabs in this section.
- your produce is made into a tasty meal which is cooked
- heating kills many harmful organisms, breaks down food into readily digestible forms, and mixes flavours
- finished recipes may be stored longer term using one of the methods here, such as freezing, jellies or pressure canning
- ideal use for imperfect produce
- food is exposed to cold temperatures to slow down enzyme and bacterial breakdown
- use packaging that won't break or tear when exposed to cold temperatures
Visit our freezing page for recipes and instructions.
- blanching reduces enzyme activity to help with long term preservation of some vegetables when drying or freezing
- food is plunged into hot boiling water and then in ice water to stop the cooking process
- fat blanching is used on dense vegetables like potatoes in french fry preparation
- removes water from food
- various methods include oven drying, dehydrating and sun drying
Visit our drying page for recipes and instructions.
- food is exposed to healthy bacteria and yeasts and is broken down into simpler easily digestible foods
- typically easy to do and doesn't require much equipment
- food is sealed in an air-tight container
- two techniques include using a water bath or a pressure canner
- pickles, jams, jellies, and fillings are popular recipe types
Visit our canning page for recipes and instructions.
- refers to the method used when food is soaked in a strong solution in which bacteria cannot survive
- two types include a vinegar solution and a salt brine solution
- fridge pickle recipes are suitable for seasonal storage
- for seasonal eating or for longer term storage, pickles should be fermented or canned
- produce is cooked into a soft spreadable consistency using gelatin or pectin
- cooking slows enzyme activity and sugar slows bacterial growth
- fridge or freezer storage is suitable for seasonal preservation
- for longer term preservation, jams and jellies should be canned
Alternative ways to eat common produce
Want some ideas for creative ways to use your fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and edible weeds? Check out our alternative uses charts below for ideas. You can print them out for inside your cupboard doors and add your suggestions too!