Growing vegetables at home is a rewarding experience and often allows home gardeners to save money on their grocery bill. Home gardeners are often faced with the issue of an overabundance of vegetables from their gardens, and there are a few methods that can be used to store surplus vegetables from the garden.
Harvest tomatoes when they are almost ripe. They continue to ripen on the kitchen counter. Waiting too long will result in piles of overripe tomatoes within a day or two.
Surplus tomatoes can be stored in several different ways. Bag and vacuum seal whole tomatoes as-is to be defrosted and used later. Note that due to their water content, tomatoes frozen whole will not have the same texture as fresh tomatoes. They should be used for sauces or stews when they are thawed; you will not be able to slice and serve them. Tomatoes can be preserved in jars in the form of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
Onions will last for a few weeks underground, so harvesting doesn't need to be rushed. Onions can be stored in cool, dark, dry areas like root cellars. If you don't have a root cellar in your home, onions freeze well. Because the smell of onions is so strong and pungent, their packaging should either be air-tight or double-wrapped.
Carrots, like onions, can be harvested more leisurely than other plants. Root vegetables keep well underground for a few weeks. When you are ready to store carrots, consider all the ways you'll use them in your dishes. Carrots freeze well in any cut form: sliced, sticked, julienned. While you can freeze a carrot whole, it will not have the same texture that it had as a fresh carrot.
Harvest broccoli when it is full grown. Removal of the woody stems and tough lower leaves will make it easier to blanch and store. Broccoli stores best in individual florets or chopped. An intact head of broccoli will freeze unevenly because of its density.
Harvest peas before the pods are full grown. Harvesting early yields young, sweet peas. The longer the peas are left on the vine, the starchier they will be. Peas can be stored in vacuum sealed bags or in flat plastic containers. Ensure even blanching by shaking the blanching basket every few seconds.