Hydroponic gardeners often end up with a surplus crop, and need a way to preserve the extra fruits and vegetables. Sometimes a surplus is grown on purpose, but often we just don't know how good our systems are until they surprise us with 50 lbs. of tomatoes in one season! Luckily our harvests are just as easy to preserve as they are to grow. Here are a few ideas for some of the most commonly grown and hugely productive hydroponic plants:
Ebb & Flow
is the most popular system used to grow tomatoes. Sun-dried and preserved in olive oil: This sounds a whole lot fancier than it is! You can easily make "sun dried" tomatoes in your oven. Just cut in half and bake on the lowest setting for a few hours. Store them in a jar covered in olive oil, and tell your friends you special ordered them from a small farm in Tuscany.
Leather Britches: If you've ever been to Appalachia, you've surely seen Leather Britches hanging outside on the front porches. This is food preservation in its simplest form -- you simply thread some floss through a needle, string the beans up, and hang them to dry. If you keep them in a well-ventilated area for a week or two and let them dry out really well, they will keep for months. They still taste great when you rehydrate and cook them, especially with some potatoes and a ham hock. Plus, something about dried beans on a string gives your home a certain old-country charm. [link to "heavy duty" hydroponics systems article]
Instead of the usual hot sauces and salsas, why not try the opposite and make some hot pepper jam? You may have to add a little (or a lot) extra sugar depending on the spiciness of your particular pepper, but the mix of sweet and hot ends up being truly delicious spread on a slice of toast. [link to 'exotic' plants grown hydroponically article]
are becoming hugely popular in the hydroponics world. You may think you can never eat enough salads, but when you are faced with five shopping bags of lettuce in one harvest, you may change your mind! Try making lettuce sauerkraut. Slice the lettuce up and stuff it into mason jars as full as you can get them and then fill with a mixture of vinegar, a but of sugar, salt and spices. It makes a delicious topping on sandwiches and is an interesting treat to bring to a summer BBQ. [link to lettuce raft article]
What are some ways that you have preserved your harvests? Let me know in the comments!