What is the most versatile vegetable you grow at home?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by hengal, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2005
    North Central Indiana
    Just curious what you all grow to can or freeze and can use the longest. We'll have potatoes, tomatoes, beans, brussel sprouts(don't know if they can be frozen) and I'm just not sure what else at this point. I don't have canning equipment so I'm looking to freeze veggies this year. The sweet corn around here in the summer is so cheap, I might just buy it and freeze it. Not sure though. What do you grow?
  2. thequeensblessing

    thequeensblessing Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Buckfield, Maine
    You sure can feeze brussel sprouts. We do it every year, and they come out fine.

    So far as the most versatile veggie we grow, well, that's a tough one because we grow so many fairly versatile vegetables. I'd probably have to say zucchini.
    We grow a ton of it every year, and we eat it fresh,(love it sauteed with a little onion and tomato, & salt and pepper, YUM!), we shred it up and freeze it for use during the winter in zucchini bread, muffins, and chocolate cake, we dehydrate thin slices of it, and the kids eat these zucchini chips like candy! We also make mock pineapple jam with zucchini and I have a fantastic recipe for zucchini relish. It's the only kind of relish any of us will eat anymore, it's so good!
    We also use zucchini in a custard type of pie for desserts. Yeah, zucchini is extremely versatile. To make mock pineapple jam or zucchini relish, all you really need so far as canning equipment is concerned are jars, and a good sized kettle. Everything else you'll need comes right out of your typical kitchen.
    The process is very easy too.
    I'm interested in hearing what everyone else thinks is their most versatile veggie. Good question!

  3. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    the lovable zuchinni would be most versatile, but the one youre gonna ned to save the most on ,for your family depends on how you eat .
    we go through 2 quarts of tomatoes a week , no problem , about 15lbs of potatoes a month , and roughly a lb of frozen veggies a day,about 6 lbs of onions, 4or 5 cloves garlic .....

    you know canning"equipment" is only a couple of casesof mason jars ( new about 8.00 a case) and a big pot to boil water in , that would take care of tomatoes, honestly to provide enough frozen space for the tomatoes your family will use will use almost a whole freezer, i would think about canning, it sounds daunting , but its not ,
    personally, i dont skin my tomatoes, i wash them , cut into quarters,or smaller add 1 vitamin c tab per jar ( for acidity)
    transfer to clean sterilized jars, wipe rim , pit on lid and ring, and brign to pot of boiling water, set all jars in , and process for 20 minutes
    the VERY first time i tried canning it was over an open fire, we didnt have propane or electricity , that year i canned over 60 quarts of tomatoes, about 30 of pickles, a dozen or so of dilled beans, some picalilli , and mot pickled mix,
    so hey honey if i can do it ocver an open fire in the heat of summe,r i know you can do it too !

    i always can some and freeze some, never know if youre gonna lose power then all your prcious frozen food will be nothign but food for animals
  4. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2003
  5. athome in SD

    athome in SD Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2003
    Both the zucchini and tomatoe suggestions are awesome-
    dont forget salsa, spaghetti sauce, chili sauce and many
    many more from the tomatoes.

    So since the best two have been said I would say next
    on the list at our house would be some of the root
    veggies. After potaotes, carrots for example. Carrots can be canned
    in a pressure cooker, dried or kept in the fridge. But
    the most simple way would be to put them in a cool
    moist spot in the basement. Where we live they keep
    great. Of coarse eat lots fresh too. Then carrot salads,
    carrot muffins, carrot cake.
    If you live where the weather is cool and not extreme in
    the winter you can leave the carrots right in the row.
    Cover well and use them threw the winter or in the spring.

    Good luck! And thank you for a great thread idea.
    athome in South Dakota
  6. jdskidder

    jdskidder Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2003
    Beans are also versitile, I mean the green kind. Dried are too, but we aren't growing any of them. We can our beans and freeze them to use in soups, salads and bye themselves (my kids and I perfer eating either fresh or frozen, we have a hard time w/canned. So I can them w/onions and garlic and pickle them for dh).

  7. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    Tomatoes will freeze nicely, but I like to can mine....over 100q a year. Spaghetti sauce, chili, stews made with cheap meat that needs tenderizing.

    Green beans and yellow beans are canned and frzn whole (for boiled dinner).

    Brocolli is frzn.

    Beets frzn and pickled.

    Cucumbers for pickles and relish.

    Zuchini grated frzn for bread. Relish as well.

    Green peppers chopped and frzn.

    I buy potatoes and apples in bulk for cheap in the fall.

    This year I am going to try dehydrating sweet corn. Freezing on the cob takes too much room in the freezer.

    If I could grow only one it would be tomatoes hands down.
  8. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    Tomatoes. Definitely. I use those more than anything, and you can use them for so many things: sauces, pies, soups, jams...

    Next would be beans, both green and dried. Lots of protein, very versatile, and so many varieties from which to choose! I put beans all over the place, because they'll grow just about anywhere.

    I love my spuds, so those would be next.

    So, you probably only wanted one, but I gave you my top three.

    As for canning v. freezing, freezing is easier in the short run, but I never have to worry if the electricity goes out with canned foods. I can all year long. When I don't have fresh produce to put by, I still process soups, stews, pumpkin bread (oh, yum!), you name it. I grew up in a large family, and never learned how to cook a small batch of anything, so canning really helps. :)

    As Bethlaf said, canning may seem intimidating, but if you carefully read the Blue Book or another canning guide and carefully follow the procedures, you will have great success. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is for me to look into my pantry and see the food with which we've been blessed, all set aside and ready for my family and friends.

  9. zel

    zel Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2004
    I have to agree with those who say Zucchini. I grow 25 plants each year
    and feed it to my Pekin ducks and chickens all summer. I dehdrate it, and freeze it, and use it for breakfast cooked with some kind of sausage, onion and scrambled eggs ( and often have it for lunch or dinner, too). Any time I make soup I put a handful of dehydrated Zucchini in it.
    Potatoes might be my next favorite. Several years ago I grew too many and rather than letting them spoil early in the spring, I dehydrated them, and have 2 qt. jars left. They make the best scalloped potatoes.
    I cleaned my greenhouse today and couldn't help starting 4 kinds of squash seeds. Just couldn't see those clean empty benches without some kind of seeds started.