4 Quick and Easy Ways to Preserve Summer Produce
Summer in a jar
Summer takes forever to get here and it's over way too soon. One way to extend the pleasure of the season is to stash away a few jars of summer fruits and vegetables for later enjoyment. But if you don't want to steam up your summer kitchen with traditional water bath canning methods, we'll show you four easy ways to preserve summer produce, no canning required.
1. Pickle It Quick
Clean, trim, and cut 1 lb. vegetables into desired shapes — the thinner the better — and pack into sterilized Mason jars. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 2 tsp. salt to a boil; pour into jars until vegetables are fully submerged. Let cool, covered, then chill at least 24 hours and up to 2 weeks. Try this with green beans, carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, ginger, onions, or jalapeños. Add fresh herbs for a flavor boost.
Related: Get more tips to make quick pickles.
2. Jam On
Put chopped fruit and sugar (about 1 Tbsp. sugar per 1 cup fruit) in a saucepan; mash lightly with a fork. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit softens and mixture thickens. Add more sugar or lemon juice to taste. Let cool in pan. Divide jam among Mason jars and chill, covered, up to 1 week. Try this with peaches, apricots, raspberries, or, for a savory jam, cherry tomatoes.
Related: Here's how to make quick and easy freezer jam.
3. Get Syrupy
Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 cup chopped fruit and/or 2 Tbsp. fresh herbs. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy. Strain out solids with a sieve set over a Mason jar. Let cool, covered, then chill up to 2 weeks. Try this with blackberries and rosemary; honeydew and mint; or even peaches and basil. Use as a simple syrup for cocktails.
Related: Learn how to make herb-infused simple syrups to flavor your summer.
4. Flash-Freeze It
When freezing food, use freezer-safe glass or plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. To avoid freezer burn, use a straw to suck out air from a freezer bag before sealing.
Fruit: Wash and dry fruit thoroughly (this step is crucial). Remove pits, cores, hulls, or stems, and trim away bruised or damaged spots. Cut or slice as desired. Sprinkle fruits that brown when cut with lemon juice or fruit-fresh powder. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container; keep frozen up to 8 months. Try this with berries, cherries, grapes, or peaches.
Bell Pepper: Quarter peppers, then remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Roast, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425°F oven until skins blacken, 20 to 25 minutes. Wrap in foil; let stand 15 minutes. Remove and discard skins. Slice peppers into strips, arrange on a baking sheet, and freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container; keep frozen up to 8 months.
Cherry Tomatoes: Wash and dry tomatoes. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container; keep frozen up to 8 months. Use in salsas or sauces.
Related: See how to freeze fruits and vegetables to preserve their freshness.
Label all your preserved goodies with the contents, amount, and date.
Check out our collection of Canning and Preserving Recipes.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018 issue of Allrecipes Magazine