What To Do With All Your Extra Produce And Herbs


This is the time of year that we are finished harvesting our garden and we are overwhelmed with produce and herbs.  We know that we will need it all in order to survive the winter, but we are always looking for new ways to store and use them.

This year, we really put forth our best effort when it came to our garden.  After coming up short in our winter stock, we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of produce to last.  With a little extra effort, and a lot more composting, we had the best garden we have ever had!

Now I am writing this post with a counter and pantry full of produce, and a kitchen table stacked with herbs.  I spent most of my morning canning as many green beans as I could, but I don’t feel like I even made a dent in the pile.

I decided to do a little searching online to find some inspiration on what to do with it all.  I was surprised to find so many great ideas and thought I would share them with you.  I hope you enjoy these great ideas as much as I did but remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t get up and get started!

Sand Storage

A few winters ago, we started experimenting with storing our root produce in sand.  I must admit that it went much better than I expected and we use it religiously now.  I don’t believe there is a better way to store carrots or turnips.  The only other storage technique I have seen is to keep them buried outside, which doesn’t work very well with New England snow.

The concept is pretty quick and easy.  You find a large container and layer vegetables and sand so that everything is encased in the container.  Make sure that none of the vegetables are touching and that it stays moist but not wet.

You will want to store this container somewhere that stays cold, but not freezing.  It is best to find somewhere that hover just above freezing if possible.  We keep ours in the insulated (but not heated) barn, and I think that is just about perfect.

Use Them As Health And Beauty Products

You can create so many natural beauty products from herbs.  My wife will tell you that they work just as well as the chemically created versions that you can buy at the supermarket.  The difference is that these ones are killing you at the same time.

Did you know that you can make a great tea from nettles?  It tastes really good and does wonders for your hair.  Many homesteaders swear by nettles to give them the hair they have always dreamed of.

Canning Produce

This one should be the most obvious option but I still see people that don’t can their produce.  If you really want to remove the grocery store from your life, you need to start canning.  The most successful homesteaders around are considered master canners by most of their peers.

Canning produce allows you to supply your family with organic produce that you grew throughout the year.  It is a very simple process as long as you have the extra produce to use.  The first year might be a little time consuming, but I promise that you will get used to it.

We purchased organic produce, when it was in season, to can out first year.  This let us get started right away and take advantage of the savings of buying produce that is in season.  If you take any advice from this article, start canning today!

Josh Stockton