Many posts ago, I wrote about grey water. In short, for those who don’t want to follow the link, grey water is a way to conserve by reusing water that is no longer suitable for drinking, but can be good for other uses, particularly watering your lawn and garden.
Of course, now that autumn’s is here and winter is coming, your selection for things to plant in Southern California is limited. If you’re like my family, though, you probably still have an abundance of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and all manner of other produce that you could never realistically eat in the course of one summer. Naturally, it’s time to preserve your summer produce so it will last all winter long.
Even if you never got around to gardening, you can still save water by stocking up now and saving for later. In May, we wrote about the virtual water impact of gasoline, and how the transportation of our goods and foods is as much a part of their virtual water footprint as the actual water used in production. So, if you still have access to a friend with a garden, a local farmer’s market, or even a grocery store that hasn’t yet started importing its produce from Mexico, now is the time to shop so you can save over the winter.
So let’s say you’ve got your fruits and veggies stockpiled. What’s the best way to preserve them?
If the title of this post is any indication, canning is a great way to save any kind of produce. If canning isn’t your thing, freezing your fruits and vegetables is a simple tried-and-true method. Even if you have produce that doesn’t do well in a freezer, you can prepare it and freeze it in the form of a dish (my mom used to make mass quantities of stewed tomatoes, then use them in place of tomato sauce over the course of the winter.) Other easy freezing options include DIY vegetable broth (you can adapt your favorite recipes based on what veggies you have available) or pickling.
What about your fruits, though? Well, I discovered this mango sherbet recipe years ago, and personally vouch for it. You could probably adapt it for use with other fruits, too.
Whatever your preservation methods, I hope that your grey-water savings continue even while your garden is dormant, as you continue to enjoy home-grown produce all winter long.