Storing freshly harvested summer produce

As we reach the halfway point of summer, we find ourselves in a critical stage of the growing season. While some crops have already finished fruiting, others are on the cusp of reaching their harvest-ready state. As dedicated gardeners, we understand the value of our hard work and the desire to preserve the fruits of our labor. In this article, we will explore various methods to effectively preserve the abundance of our favorite crops that are currently ready for harvesting.


Berries (strawberry, raspberry, etc.) are a delightfully sweet and nutritious treat. To prolong their shelf life, it's crucial to handle them gently and store them properly. 

After harvesting, remove any damaged or overripe berries. Store unwashed berries in shallow containers lined with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Keep them refrigerated and consume them within a few days. 
Alternatively, berries can be frozen by spreading them in a single layer on a baking sheet and then transferring them to freezer-safe bags or containers. 


Crisp and refreshing, cucumbers are a staple of summer salads and pickles. For short-term storage, place unwashed cucumbers in a plastic bag and keep them in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper drawer. They should stay fresh for up to a week. 

If you have an abundance of cucumbers, consider making pickles. Cucumbers can be preserved using various pickling methods, such as brine or vinegar-based pickling.

Zucchini and summer squash

Zucchini and summer squash are versatile vegetables that can be enjoyed in many dishes, including stir-fries, soups, and grilled preparations. For short-term storage, keep them in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

To extend their shelf life, consider blanching and freezing them. Simply slice or dice the vegetables, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, cool them in ice water, and then pack them in freezer-safe containers or bags. 

Chili and sweet peppers

Chili and sweet peppers add a burst of flavor to a wide range of dishes. To keep them fresh, store unwashed peppers in a paper bag in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or cellar. Alternatively, you can refrigerate them in a perforated plastic bag. 

Peppers can also be preserved by freezing, drying, or canning. Freezing involves washing, slicing, and removing the seeds before packing them in freezer-safe containers. Drying peppers can be done by hanging them in a well-ventilated area until they are completely dry. Also, you can dry with specialized vegetable and fruit dehydrators.

Onions and garlic

Onions and garlic are essential ingredients in countless recipes. After harvesting, cure them by drying them in a warm, well-ventilated place until their outer skins become papery. Remove any excess dirt and trim the tops before storing them in mesh bags or braiding them together. 

Onions prefer cool, dry conditions and can be stored in a pantry or cellar. Garlic prefers a dry, well-ventilated area and can be stored in mesh bags or hung in braids. They store well and you can use them for months at a time. And under ideal conditions, they can be stored up to the next growing season.


Freshly picked beans are a true delight, but they can also be preserved for later use. To store them, place unwashed beans in a perforated plastic bag or wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel and keep them in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper drawer. 

For long-term preservation, consider blanching, and freezing them. Blanching involves immersing the beans in boiling water for a short time, followed by cooling them quickly in ice water before packing them into freezer-safe containers or bags.
Drying beans is also a popular method of preserving their bounty. Harvest mature beans, remove them from the pods, and spread them out in a single layer to dry. Store in a cool, dry place to enjoy the rich flavors and textures of these preserved legumes.
Canning beans is another excellent way to ensure long-term storage. Cook the beans until tender, then pack them into sterilized jars with a flavorful brine or sauce. Process the jars in a water bath or pressure canner for a shelf-stable supply of delicious beans.


Fresh herbs (basil, lettuce, arugula etc.) elevate the flavor of dishes, and preserving them ensures that you have their aromatic goodness available all year round. 

There are several methods for preserving herbs, including drying and freezing. 
To dry herbs, tie small bunches together and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area until they are completely dry. Or you can dry with specialized vegetable and fruit dehydrators. Freezing is also one way of preserving herbs.

Remember, the quality and flavor of preserved produce are best when it's at its freshest. Consider the ripeness and condition of the harvested crops, and prioritize processing and preserving them as soon as possible. With proper storage and preservation techniques, you can enjoy the taste of summer throughout the year and savor the fruits of your labor.