The wonderful fruit of summer is here! Whether from your own garden, a local farm stand or farmer’s market, it’s time to make the most of the delicious fruit of summer. The picture above is the harvest from my garden yesterday. Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming and a challenge to use it all before it goes bad. Here are three ways to preserve summer fruit from your garden or local farmers for use all year long.
Three Ways to Preserve Summer Fruit
1. Make Jam
If you can stir, you can make jam! It’s really easy, and always a hit for hostess or holiday gifts. Jam can be made from fresh fruit or, if you don’t have time to make it the day you harvest, it can be made from frozen fruit. You’ll need a large pot, fruit, pectin, sugar (or use a no sugar recipe), canning jars, and a water bath canning pot. Or you can skip the water bath canning if you make freezer jam. For detailed instructions on making jam visit the Ball Canning website.
2. Freeze Fruit
This is my ‘go to’ way to preserve fruit when it is ripening so fast and furious that I don’t have time to use it all. Simply wash the fruit, remove pits or leaf caps, and peel if desired. Spread on paper towels or racks to dry a bit. Once dry, fruit can be frozen whole, sliced, or pureed depending on how you want to use it in the future. Put in glass or plastic containers, or plastic freezer bags. Label with the date. It is best used within 8-12 months. For more information on fruit preservation visit University of California Master Food Preservers website.
Favorite uses for frozen fruit: pies, cobblers, crisps, jam, sauces, and smoothies. See recipe below for my favorite fruit crumble recipe.
3. Dry Fruit
Fruit can be sun dried, oven dried, or dried in an electric dehydrator. A dehydrator is my preferred method, it takes less time than drying in the oven and has fewer problems than sun drying (uneven temperatures, and contamination from bugs, birds). Fruit can be dried whole or sliced. My favorite is to make fruit leathers from pureeing the fruit. For detailed instructions on drying fruit visit National Center for Home Food Preservation.
My Favorite Fruit Crisp Recipe
4 cups fruit (berries, apricots, peaches, apples or other fruit)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Toss the fruit with 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar. Mix the cornstarch with a little water and add to fruit. Pour fruit mixture into 8″ x 8″ baking dish or individual ramekins.
For the topping, combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is in crumbles. Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake until the fruit is bubbling (40 – 50 minutes).