Glorious gluts

September 8, 2023

Research from the University of Sheffield suggests that households that grow their own fruit and vegetables tend to have a healthier, more balance diet, and they waste less food too. Whatever your reason for doing so, growing some of your own food is undoubtedly a wonderful thing to do, although dealing with sudden gluts of produce can be tricky!

We’ve put together a quick guide to help you make the most of  an abundance of home grown produce.

Preservation tips and recipes

We have brought together a list of commonly grown garden / allotment produce and given suggestions on a few different techniques to try. Remember that part of the fun is working out what techniques work for you and the produce you have to hand. We have provided links throughout to sources of additional information on the techniques mentioned and other recipes.

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Beetroots are best lifted before they get too large and woody. Twist the tops off as cutting causes the beetroot juice to bleed out (losing moisture and flavour). Beetroot are great eaten raw, grated in salads. They can also be frozen (see advice from “Thespruceeats website) but cook them first – clean carefully, leaving the skin intact to prevent bleeding and then boil for 1 to 2 hours depending on size. Skins can be rubbed off once cooked and then freeze in bags or containers, sliced or left whole depending on size. Alternatively, pickle in vinegar or turn into chutney. This chutney recipe is a favourite:

Cheddar Cheese, Jacob's Crackers, Homemade Beetroot Chutne… | Flickr

Beetroot chutney


1.35 kg cooked beetroot, chopped small

450g apples, chopped, peeled and cored

450g onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

110g sultanas

570 ml spiced white vinegar

450g granulated sugar

2 tsp salt





Cook the onions for a short while in a little of the vinegar. Add the apples, beetroot, garlic, sultanas and salt and cook gently stirring to avoid sticking. When soft add the rest of the vinegar and the sugar and cook slowly until reduced and there is no liquid on the surface. Let cook for 5 mins before putting in warm sterilised jars and seal.




It’s easy to be over-run with courgettes in the summer and they are best eaten fresh, they’re delicious grated raw into salads or eaten as ribbons in a nice dressing. There are lots of creative ways of using courgettes and summer squash, but they can also be turned into jam.

Clear Glass Mason Jars

Courgette and pineapple jam


2.7 kg courgettes, peeled, and cut into cubes

450g pineapple, skin and core removed and cut into chunks

2.7 kg of sugar





Mix the courgette and pineapple together and layer with sugar in the preserving pan. Leave overnight to extract the juice. Bring to the boil rapidly for around 10 mins, until setting point is reached (stirring occasionally). Put the jam in warm, sterilised jars and seal when cold.

File:FrenchBeans.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

French beans

These are best eaten or frozen soon after picking. To freeze; wash, trim the ends and blanch for 2 mins. Dip in cold water to cool before drying and packing in plastic bags or containers. Cook from frozen (opens advice from

Runner Beans Vegetable - Free photo on Pixabay

Runner beans

To freeze, wash, trim the ends and the stringy edges and slice into diagonal slices before blanching for 2 mins. Dip in cold water to cool before drying and freezing in bags or containers. Cook from frozen. You could also try salting your beans to preserve them:

Salted Green Beans

Top and tail the beans and cut into 5 cm lengths, before blanching for 2 mins. Dip in cold water to cool and dry. Cover the base of a plastic container with salt and add a thick layer of the beans on top, continue layering the salt and beans until the container is full. Top with a layer of salt. Cover with a lid and put a weight on top and keep in a cool place for 6 months. The salt turns to brine which preserves the beans. To eat, soak the beans in cold water for an hour before cooking.

File:Cherry Tomatoes From The Garden (120856447).jpeg - Wikimedia Commons


Ripe tomatoes

These can be frozen (opens advice from whole, skin on. Skins can be removed later by putting the tomatoes in a bowl of hot water before adding them to stews or sauces. Alternatively, cook first and then puree and sieve before freezing.

Unripe tomatoes

Fed up of trying to ripen your last tomatoes as the days draws draw in, then this is the perfect no fuss recipe:


Pickled Green Tomatoes


50g fresh root ginger

600 ml white wine vinegar

100g sugar

6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

900g green tomatoes, sliced



Put the tomato slices into warm, sterilised jars. Bruise the root ginger by bashing it a few times with your rolling pin and then put the vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger into a preserving pan and bring to a simmer for 10 mins. Pour the hot vinegar over the tomatoes to fully cover them and seal. If using jars, remember to use plastic coated lids as the vinegar will corrode metal. Allow the pickle to mature for a few months before enjoying with cheese. Pretty much any vegetable can be pickled.

File:Sweetcorn (3862388313).jpg - Wikimedia Commons


Best eaten or frozen (opens advice from anoregoncottagecom) straight after picking. To freeze on the cob, trim the stalks and pull off the outer husks and silks, blanch for 5 mins and then dip in cold water to cool before drying and freezing in bags. They can be cooked in boiling water for 5 mins straight from the freezer. Alternatively, use a knife to remove the kernels, blanch for 1 min before draining and freezing in bags or containers.

Where to get more information

  • have produced an extensive list of food preservation techniques which might be a good place to start further research.
  • Love Food Hate Waste have a range of online tools to help you make the most of your foods when it’s time to eat them, from a recipe finder to a portion planner. They also have an A-Z of storage for fresh foods.
  • have a handy guide to making the most of your freezer.
  • If you run out of storage space or really can’t face eating your way through everything you have grown, you can always share it with friends, neighbours or even with a total stranger. There are many apps to connect you with people who want your surplus. Olio is a good place to start.
  • Home composting goes hand in hand with homegrown. For advice on getting nutrients back into your soil see our home composting pages