There are few things better than taking a bite of the first perfectly-ripened peach of the season, except maybe being able to take a bite of said peach in the dead of winter with a foot of snow outside your window. There’s no reason that the abundance and tastiness of summer produce should be limited to only a few months of the year.
Simply jam, can, dry, pickle, or freeze your farmer’s market finds in order to enjoy them throughout the year. Here’s how:
Just Freeze It
It doesn’t get much easier than this! Simply wash and prepare the fruit as if you were about to eat it, lay the fruit on a baking sheet with parchment (try to avoid having the fruit slices/berries touch each other), and stick it in the freezer. Once the individual pieces of fruit are frozen, stick them in freezer-safe bags or containers. Freezing the fruit individually is important, to avoid having the fruit clump together and having a giant hunk of blueberries to work with. Once frozen, use the fruit for fresh fruit smoothies in the morning, pies or cobblers. Strawberry rhubarb pie in February? Don’t mind if we do.
More tips: Properly Freezing Produce
Canning and Jamming
Perhaps the most obvious method of preserving produce is the art – nay, science – of canning and jamming. It requires a few more steps than freezing, but it can be especially good for fruit. Once you have the fundamentals down, the options are limitless. The best part is that it makes a delicious homemade holiday gift: year-round eats that you can share with family and friends.
More tips: Canning 101
In a Pickle
Similar to canning, pickling is a great option for preserving both veggies AND fruits. Here again, your imagination is the limit. Ever had a pickled peach? Try it with some crispy pork belly, and prepare to fall in love. Other pickled produce we love includes watermelon, okra, carrots, pineapple, and shiitake mushrooms!
More tips: Pickle Party Ideas
Dried Fruit DIY
Drying fruits, herbs and even vegetables is also a great way to maintain a taste of summer all year long. Unless you have a dehydrator handy, oven-drying your produce is typically your best bet for fruits and veggies. The best method for drying herbs is typically tying the herb bunches together and hanging them to air dry in a cool, dark place. Don’t be afraid to dry some unexpected produce to extend its life into winter.
More tips: Other Drying Techniques
So, don’t bemoan the end of summer because of the loss of summer produce. You too can have delicious year-round eats with just a little bit of work.