GARDEN OVERLOAD, [def]. Mounds of ripe foodstuffs from a copious home garden harvest. The result of seed catalog lust, freakishly positive weather patterns, or (possibly) farmer’s market enthusiasm run amuck.
If you’ve ever planted a garden, even a small garden, you’ve probably been faced with garden overload at one time or another. One day your tame garden spot is peacefully incubating its fruit, and the next day it has turned into a jungle of ripe zucchini, or cucumbers, or green beans all demanding to be picked NOW. Or maybe you innocently bring overload on yourself, like the time I purchased 40 pounds of ripe apricots at the farmer’s market. (In my defense, it was a good buy! And I wanted to make some jam! Yeah, I got a little carried away.)
Which brings me to the second reason for canning and preserving. Since I am basically cheap (that thrifty Yankee blood) I just can’t let delicious, fresh food go to waste. Canning and preserving lets me keep that summer flavor all year long. So bushels of peaches are sliced and frozen for wintertime smoothies, colorful zucchini and cucumbers become jars of bread-and-butter pickles, mounds of cherry tomatoes are dried for salads and sauces, and even late harvested green tomatoes are chopped and frozen for wintertime enchilada sauce.
Canning and Preserving tames the garden overload and provides my family with finger-licking foods all winter long. How do you deal with your garden overload?