Summer is coming to an end – and we’re just as upset about it as you are! While we can’t hold on to the warmer temperatures and longer days forever, we can enjoy the tastes of summer all year long (with a little planning). Here are some of our favorite ways to preserve fresh summer produce:
Dry: Use herbs from your garden throughout the year by drying your final harvest. There are a number of ways to dry herbs easily – our favorite requires only twine and sunlight. Bundle herbs together and use twine to tie together towards the end of the stem. Hang your herbs in front of a sunny window and check back in every few days until they are completely dry to the touch. Crumble and store in jars.
Ferment: Fermenting vegetables at home can be a little intimidating to those unfamiliar with the process, but we’re here to help! There are a number of different fermentation methods. To keep it simple, start by prepping your vegetables (slice, shred, chop or leave whole) and select the right container – many people opt for a ceramic crock of glass jar. Create a brine using salt and water (around 1-3 tablespoons of dissolved salt for 1 quart of water) and completely submerge your vegetables in it. After a day or two, you’ll start to notice bubbling. After 3-4 days, sample your vegetables to see if you’re happy with the flavor. The longer you let your container sit, the deeper the flavor gets. If you’re happy with it, move the container to your fridge to slow down the fermentation process.
Freeze: It doesn’t get much easier than storing fresh produce in your freezer. For vegetables like peppers, okra, or squash – simply slice everything up and flash-freeze by laying individual slices on a baking sheet to freeze before adding to a container or bag. Berries are easy to freeze whole, and you can even freeze herbs by adding them to ice cube trays with a little olive oil. Don’t forget to label!
Pickle: Make a quick pickle with fresh vegetables, brine and an airtight jar. For this method, crunchy vegetables – like cucumbers, green beans and carrots – work best. For your brine, bring distilled white vinegar, kosher salt, sugar, pickling spices and water to a boil. Let the brine cook for 2-3 minutes, until sugar and salt is dissolved. Pour directly over vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Store in your fridge for up to two months.
Jam: Create your own jam from fruit in-season and perfectly ripe. Mix things up by adding different types of fruit & herbs together, or stick to the basics. After following your favorite jam recipe, store the final product in jars you’ve sterilized and sealed.
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