One of the easiest ways to preserve the harvest from your garden is drying. This can be done for many types of vegetables and for quite a few fruits, as well as for herbs, teas and plants that you want to preserve for their medicinal properties.
And of course, a very important part of all preserving activities is harvesting and saving seeds for next year.

Drying can be done with sun and wind (ideal!), with a sun-heated drying cabinet through which the wind can blow a little (even more ideal!!), over the stove or heating with 'residual heat'… And the most important tool for successful drying of your harvest: patience.

In the pictures below you can see a part of our home herbs pharmacy, young leaves of a red hazel drying in sun and wind, dandelion petals (used for salads), drying of wild garlic (leaves and flowers separately), dandelion leaves (dandelion petals can't be dried, as they quickly ripen into seeds !) and Ajuga reptans (also known as bugle, carpetweed, carpet bugleweed), tops of the ostrich fern.
The Ajuga reptans is hallucinogenic when used in large quantities, but like many “poisonous” plants, it has medicinal qualities.
In addition, currently lying to dry are the flower buds and young leaves of hawthorn (tea and medicinal), young leaves of silver birch (tea) and young buds of silver fir (medicinal).

Sources of information

There are quite a few wild plants in our garden that we would like to eat as much of as possible. Our plant knowledge is limited, but we do know that several plants are poisonous. Therefore, it is important to identify plants and look up their properties.

We get a lot of information about edibility, medicinal and other uses from this website, which really provides a tremendous wealth of information:
Temperate Plants Database, by Ken Fern

Often we also look up information about a plant or tree on Wikipedia.

Beside that, we own two very thick books (in Dutch) that are invaluable to us for looking up information about ecological gardening and the medicinal application of all kinds of plants:

Handboek Ecologisch Tuinieren (Handbook of Ecological Gardening), Velt

Groot Handboek Geneeskrachtige Planten (Large Handbook of Medicinal Plants), Dr. Geert Verhelst

Being self-sufficient

Self-sufficient living involves knowledge and skill in preserving your harvest so that you have something to eat all year round. In our simple lifestyle, this does not include electrical appliances such as freezers, electric dryers, etc.
Apart from drying, we also preserve a lot of food by briefly cooking and then vacuum storing it in glass jars. Especially for fruit we find that a great way of preserving.

How do you preserve your harvest?

(Text continues below the images)

Read more about our Food Forest Garden on the pages What We Eat, What We Grow and Where We Grow It.

On the first page, I'll give you an overview of what we eat. After all, that determines what we want to grow, the fruits, nuts and vegetables in the garden.

Then I'll tell you what's in the garden, and finally where it is and the overall layout.

This will give you some insight into the start of the establishment of our food forest garden, the perennials and trees.

And in this blog I tell you more about eating Raw and Wild.