It’s lovely to reduce the air miles, and have homegrown produce. However, you do get to a point, where if you have another courgette, you might get a bit twitchy. Plus people start to avoid you as you are likelyt to foist squashes on them and they don’t want to see another courgette either.
Preserving presents you with an opportunity to do something else with your crops when you have an excess. A glut can be rather frustrating, when you have all this beautiful produce and you don’t want it here and now. It did take me a while to get into preserving. I just didn’t think that there was anything else to be done, bar my mum cooking with things that grew on the allotment. It was only when I stumbled across a recipe for a courgette chutney recipe that had Indian undertones, that the penny dropped. I had courgettes, Ma’s pantry, and spices. The three could go together. I had already tried to pickle garlic and shallots. Got it wrong, and the things are stil in ma’s pantry. Edible, but forgotten.
The point being, that you didn’t have to wander around trying to give your crops away. You can keep them, just change the form that they take.
Just like growing, I have found the process of preserving to be experimental. There are lots recipes out there to help, from jams, jellies, chutneys and relishes. You only have to take a quick look into a search engine, and also share with other allotment neighbours and folks who GYO. Recipes are good starting points, and open to a spot of deviation when you work out what you do and don’t like.
It is wonderfully rewarding, if and when the jams set, and you don’t burn the bottom of your pan. Then there is the jam thermometre that you might bash a little too much.
There there is cordials and homebrews. I have yet to embark of wine making. But infusions are rather interesting to do. Relatively low maintenance too, once you put all the ingredients in, the jars of alcohol and fruit can be left and you come back later to check.