We welcome seed catalogues as they begin to arrive in our mailbox. We know they bring with them the promise of spring. If you are a vegetable gardener, you enjoy looking at the new vegetable varieties and check to see that your favorite variety of beets, green beans and other vegetables continue to be available.
If you are a home food preserver who plans to freeze, can, pickle or dry your garden produce, it is important to select vegetable varieties that have been developed for preserving. Planning to make dill pickles this summer? Be sure to select a “pickling” cucumber variety rather than a slicing cucumber to plant in your garden.
For pickled beets select a dark, rich colored beet. A beet variety description may state ‘harvest early for pickling’.
A thick flavorful salsa begins with planting a paste tomato variety like Roma, Viva Italian or Amish paste rather than a juice tomato. They will be identified as ‘great for sauces and salsas.’ Also, paste tomatoes are a good choice for making flavorful dried tomatoes.
With green beans you will find that some varieties are better for freezing while others produce a quality canned bean and some are best for fresh eating. Read the description on the seed packet. Pole beans, rather than bush beans, are easier to pick!
Winter squash freezes so much better than summer squash. Pumpkins are interesting as there are so many different kinds, but few will produce a quality pumpkin pie. A pumpkin for baking should state ‘excellent for making pies and freezing’ rather than ‘use as a carving pumpkin and for fall decorations.’
Enjoy paging through seed catalogues and exploring your local garden center, but be sure to read the description of the vegetables you are selecting, and match them to the preservation method you plan to use.
And always, select a seed packet of a vegetable that is new to you, just for the fun of it!