Preserve your summer veggies and fruit so none of it goes to waste. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can enjoy these deliciously sunny flavours for months to come.
Do you wish the summer season would never end? It doesn’t have to! The days for juicy, deep red tomatoes and sweet plump berries don’t have to be numbered. You can save stellar produce at its peak and let the fruits and vegetables liven up recipes for months to come. Here are some of our favourite ways to preserve summer produce:
1. Freeze your vegetables
If you have the freezer space, storing produce frozen can be a convenient, versatile, and easy option.
When freezing vegetables, it’s best to consider how you’re going to be using them. For example, it might be easy to freeze a whole zucchini, but it’s not easy to cut into a frozen zucchini. If you plan on using it in soups and smoothies, you’re better off cutting it into bite sized pieces before freezing.
Once you have your veggies cut, blanch them quickly in boiling water and then submerge them in an ice water bath to prevent further cooking. Blanching might seem like an unnecessary step, but in addition to cleaning the surface of vegetables, it will help prevent enzyme damage to flavour, colour and texture. So don’t skip blanching veggies!
Place dry, blanched veggies with some space between them on a baking sheet in the freezer (so they freeze without sticking to each other!). After 4 – 24 hours, transfer them into an airtight container and store in the freezer.
2. Freeze your fresh fruit
Unlike vegetables, fruit is not typically blanched. It is possible to blanch, for example, a peach so that the skin is easily removed, but it’s not necessary and in some cases fruits (especially berries) are too delicate for blanching. The process is generally much more straightforward – chop (if necessary), and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet before moving to an airtight container for long term storage.
3. Pickle your favourite vegetables
Pickles can be as easy as fridge pickles that are soaked in a brine overnight. But whether you’re doing a full on water bath or just some quick pickles, pickled veggies are a great way of adding tang to any meal!
4. Can your fruit for spreads
Jams, jellies, and other spreads are a delicious way of preserving fruits and they make great DIY gifts! Bonus: when you make it yourself, you get to choose the sweetness level and add in fun and unusual flavours (like lavender!). You could try Apricot Jam, Plum Butter, Lavender Apricot Butter, Spiced Blueberry Jam (no added sugar!)
5. Can all types of produce
Canning isn’t limited to the classic jams and pickles though – you can preserve everything from a pantry staples to convenience items. Here are a few of our favourites:
6. Ferment and preserve vegetables
Fermentation is an ancient way of preserving produce, which has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Gut health has been put at the forefront of health concerns thanks to emerging studies showing the importance of cultivating your microbiome (the hub inside your body that contains all the organisms living in your gut). One of the best ways to support this microbiome is by eating fermented foods, like these:
There are so many ways to preserve summer produce so it doesn’t go to waste. Whether it’s canning, freezing, or fermenting, enjoy the taste of summer all year long.