This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in August 2015.
There’s nothing quite like having an excess of fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year – it’s a welcome opportunity to freeze, can, pickle, and preserve the goods so that they last through the summer, and into the winter months. You might take it for granted now, but cracking open a jar of raspberry jam in January is heavenly, right?
Seasonal fruits and veggies are plentiful through CSAs, Farm Markets, and at local U-Pick Farms, so if you’re shopping in bulk for canning, don’t overlook those resources to make your end-product authentically local, organic, and/or cost-efficient.
Dilly beans were at the top of my list this year mostly because we had been delivered a total of 10 pounds of beans in only 3 weeks through our CSA and I didn’t want any to go to waste, and also because they were one of the tasty items I inadvertently forgot to pickle last season. (How uncanny! Pickling jokes, people.)
Making sauces and canning foods is a very zen activity for me. The sanitizing of jars, the prepping and cutting, and the end result, that pantry filled to the brim. It’s the type of project I’ll take on every few weeks or whenever we reach an excess, knowing that a few hours of peaceful labor generates so much good food for our friends and family.
Because of the seasonality of fresh foods, you might be at a different point in your growing season. Look at what’s fresh now to determine what you can be canning. Around here, the season of “WHOA, WE HAVE WAY TOO MANY TOMATOES” is just around the bend, and it’s perfect timing because our pizza and pasta sauce inventory is due for a recharge.
- New tips for making the best tomato sauce
- Homemade tomato jam (this has a little punch, thanks to crushed red pepper flakes!)
- Try this no-pectin fruit jam
- Grape jelly (are your vines looking as loaded as mine?)
Once you make the decision to preserve foods and have purchased the basic materials like an assortment of glass jars and big stock pot, you can resume the hobby year after year with very low costs. I always buy new store-bought seals for the jars, and usually need to to restock ingredients like vinegar and salt.
If you’re side eyeing my dilly beans (pickled green beans), keep in mind that art of pickling extends far beyond traditional cucumber pickles (and “quickles“). Here’s a short list of other fruits and vegetables that you can pickle to enjoy in recipes, or indulge in straight from the jar. Some are sweet, some are sour, some are classically crisp, garlic-dill:
- Peaches and Nectarines
- Lemons (shown below – a longtime staple in Indian and Moroccan cuisine)
- Sugary-sweet and sour watermelon rinds
- Green tomatoes
- And from our friends at HGTV, learn why you should remove the bands (lids – not seals) when you store your canned goods, and follow these simple tips to make a chalkboard-style label on a glass jar.