What To Do with the Extra Produce from Your Garden

One of the best ways to enjoy fresh food is to grow a garden. There’s plenty of fresh food to enjoy during the summer, and it doesn’t cost very much when you grow it yourself.

But what happens when you have extra produce? You don’t want it to just rot. The good news is that you do have some options for making use of it. Here are some ideas for using the extra produce in your garden:

Give It Away

You don’t have to just try to get rid of squash; you can give away other produce as well. Your neighbors will appreciate peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, corn, and other produce. If you have a lot of extra produce, share it with the people you know. They will enjoy it, and you don’t have to see it go to waste.

Another option is to find out if the local soup kitchen accepts donations of fresh produce for what they make. The local food bank might accept it as well. Being able to provide a service for your community, as well as food for your own table, can be very satisfying.

Sell It

Of course, you don’t have to give it away. You could decide to sell it. If you have kids, this can be a great way for them to earn a little extra money. Have a “farm stand” set up so that they can sell your extra produce. You can also consider whether or not it makes sense to take the extra to a local farmer’s market. Some markets charge a hefty sum for participation, so it might not make sense if you don’t have a lot of produce. Consider your options, and figure out what makes sense for your family. Selling your extra yield could mean a little extra cash in your pocket.

Preserve It For the Winter

Just because you don’t eat it during the summer doesn’t mean that you can’t eat it some other time. You can preserve most fresh produce with the right processes. A number of fruits and vegetables can be bottled or frozen. You keep the nutrients and most of the flavor, and you can enjoy your garden even during the winter.

There are also ways to preserve your produce in other forms. When we have a lot of apples, we make applesauce and pie filling. It’s a fun way to preserve all those extra apples. You can also turn extra tomatoes into spaghetti sauce or salsa.

Dehydration is another good way to preserve some of your produce. Many fruits can be dehydrated and stored, or made into fruit leather. I like to dry my herbs and use them year-round. They are tasty, and it saves me having to go to the store when I want herbs.

There is no reason to throw out any of your produce. If you must, turn it into compost. But, really, you are better off giving it away, selling it, or preserving it for use later.

What do you do with extra produce from your garden?

6 comments to What To Do with the Extra Produce from Your Garden

  • Personally I share my produce with a number of family members – in essence I do the “hard” work of weeding, planting and so on. Then everyone joins in to help with the watering and the harvesting which means I only need to invest a few hours each week. In exchange they get a load of free veggies each week.

    However there’s normally *still* some left over in which case my preference is preserving it for the leaner months. It’s oddly satisfying on Christmas day to be able to proudly announce that all the veggies on the table were home grown :-)

    • And nothing beats the self satisfaction of eating a tomato in February you grew yourself knowing it hasn’t been imported from thousands of miles away.

      Good ideas on the involvement of family members.

  • I really appreciate your post…We waste so much food in America and still we have significant hunger in our country.

  • You missed bartering for something someone else has and you need. Swapping it may end up producing more value than if you sold it, as the other person will also perceive the item(s) they are bartering with to be of value. ????

  • I freeze or jar most of the vegetables from my garden. I have a 2nd freezer in the garage and it fills up pretty quickly, come harvest time. I also do quite a bit of foraging for wild blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, grapes and asparagus. It can be a good way to save money. It’s become a way of life. I do barter from time to time.

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