I’ve had a running list going since the winter of the fruits and vegetables that I want to preserve most this summer. So far, I’ve frozen a good amount of fresh-picked strawberries and made a slew of homemade freezer strawberry jam as a gift for father’s day. There will be plenty more to preserve this summer and fall- here’s a list of what I’m hoping to complete:
- Green Peppers- I find that these freeze very well when washed, sliced, and frozen in glass jars. They won’t have a crunch when thawed but they are perfect for sauteing and adding to fajitas or anything else cooked on the stove.
- Blueberries- My husband will require enough frozen blueberries to feed an army when they are ripe. He loves eating them all year long by handfuls or even bowlfuls straight out of the freezer. I plan pick or buy them fresh in bulk and wash, dry slightly, then freeze on cookie sheets before packaging them up.
- Raspberry Jam- I love picking raspberries in the fall and making freezer jam which is oh-so easy! I’ve used sugar in the past, but am hoping to do some experimenting using stevia instead this year!
- I also like to simply freeze fresh-picked raspberries to add to smoothies and ice cold drinks throughout the rest of the year
- Blackberries- my extended family has a wonderful blackberry patch that we all take turns picking from. The berries are huge, sweet, and delicious- so washing and packing some of these in the freezer will be absolutely wonderful!
- Tomatoes- I canned my first batch of tomatoes last year with my mom and was thrilled to find it so much easier than I expected. This year, I’m hoping to preserve salsa, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and perhaps even tomato juice. Basically, I’d love to have all the tomato ingredients to make a delicious pot of chili at a moment’s notice!
- Tomato Relish- Williams Sonoma has the most fabulous relish- at about $14 for a TINY jar. Not to mention it probably contains a few unnecessary preservatives. My goal this year is to make my own recipe with similar ingredients- saving money and making a healthier alternative. It makes for a fabulous sandwich or panini spread.
- Sweet Corn- both my Grandpa and Mom grow delicious sweet corn- I can’t eat enough when it’s ripe and I can’t wait to cook up a bunch and freeze it for warm winter meals.
- Pickles- I can already taste fresh dill pickles for this year (although I can munch on them fresh out of the garden, too!), but maybe I’ll actually try canning them for the first time. I really don’t like buying them from the store as it seems unnecessary colors are almost always added.
- Stock- now is the time of year to get fresh chickens along with homegrown carrots, onions, and celery to make fabulous and nutritious stock for the freezer. It will be perfect for soups and other recipes when it gets cold!
What are some of the foods that you plan to preserve or have already started to depending on your location? Do you can or freeze most of your items? If you have any simple preserving tips for any kind of fresh food, please feel free to share them! :)
Photo By: wmstadler