7 Summer Foods Easy and Affordable to Preserve

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Whether you grown your own, buy from your local farmer's market or benefit from your neighbor's abundance, there is no doubt that freshly picked food is the best. Are you wondering how to save the taste of sun-warmed tomatoes for a January dinner? How to maximize the eight pounds of apricots you grabbed from a roadside tree? How to save money and eat better than ever before? Read on.

It's easier than you think to put summer in a jar.
(Nici Holt Cline)

Plums grow well in many climates; they are hardy, disease resistant and drought tolerant. Plums are also easy to pick and easy to preserve. The most versatile method is freezing.

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, slice around pit.
  2. Remove pit.
  3. Fill freezer bags, label and freeze.
  4. Enjoy plum upside down cake, plum jam, plum pudding, plum smoothies, etc. all year.
Plums are easy to pick and preserve.
Nici Holt Cline

For flavor and nutrients, frozen corn is far superior to its canned cousin. And during the height of the season, corn costs a few dimes an ear. Take advantage this August and stock up from your local farmer. You'll thank yourself.

  1. Shuck corn.
  2. Fill stockpot with water and corn cobs.
  3. Boil to your liking (best to undercook vs overcook).
  4. Using a bundt pan, place stalk "handle" in hole and slice from ear.
  5. In batches, spread corn on a cookie sheet and freeze (this keeps the kernels separate).
  6. Once frozen, remove with a spatula into freezer bags, label and freeze.
Use a bundt pan to cut corn from cob.
Nici Holt Cline

Just like plums.

  1. Using a sharp paring knife, slice around pit.
  2. Remove pit. 3.In batches, spread fruit on a cookie sheet and freeze.
  3. Once frozen, remove with a spatula into freezer bags, label and freeze.
  4. Frozen peaches are great thawed and pureed with honey and served atop ice cream or pancakes.
Preserved peaches are perfect for pie, sauces and desserts.
Nici Holt Cline

Tomatoes! Summer's taste right there. Tomatoes are easily sauced or canned whole but over roasting and freezing is the easiest. Plus, the dehydrated, distilled flavor is unbeatable.

  1. Small tomatoes work best, like cherry tomatoes.
  2. Halve and place on lightly greased baking sheet, cut side up.
  3. Season with olive oil and salt. If you'd like add oregano, basil and/or lemon pepper.
  4. Bake at 225 degrees for 3-4 hours.
  5. Marvel at the flavor. They rehydrate easily in sauces and soups. They are wonderful with crackers and cheese or crumbled over salads and eggs.
Preserve the essence of flavor in tomatoes for a cold winter.
Nici Holt Cline

Kale is a popular superfood right now, as it should be. Packed with vitamin B6, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, vitamin B1, omega-3 fatty acids phosphorus, protein, folate, and niacin, kale tastes great too. There are many ways to preserve the summer bounty and kale pesto takes the cake. You could also easily substitute spinach or arugula. 4 cups packed kale 1 leek, sliced 1/2 cup nuts (pine nut, almond, walnut) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup shredded parm 1/2 tsp salt 5 garlic cloves

  1. Toss ingredients in a food processor and pureé.
  2. Immediately pack into ice cube tray and freeze.
  3. Pop frozen cubes out, place in jars or freezer bags, label and freeze.
  4. Wonderful in soups, sauces, salads, salsa.
You'll thank yourself for preserving these tasty, vitamin-packed cubes of kale pesto.
Nici Holt Cline

Did you know you don't need to peel apples to make sauce? It's true. Just core, slice, cook, purée and voila. Either place filled jars directly in freezer or can using a boiler water bath for 20 minutes.

To make the easiest applesauce, leave the peels on.
Nici Holt Cline

Like the other stone fruits listed, simply pit and freeze. Cherries are a little trickier because of the tininess of the pits. If you don't have a cherry pitter, simply pull cherries apart using your hands to remove pit.

  1. Pit cherries.
  2. Pack freezer bags in 5 cup quantities for an instant pie this winter.
Have cherry pie at the ready.
Nici Holt Cline

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