The summer crops are still coming on strong at this time of year, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the bounty. Rather than chucking it in the compost, it’s a great time to try your hand at preserving the harvest. Canning, freezing, drying, and fermenting are all ways to make the winter months just a little bit sunnier. Some interesting things I’ve tried this season are drying sungold tomatoes, the little yellow, super-sweet cherry tomatoes. I cut them in half and lay them out on screen drying racks or use a dehydrator. Once they are dry you can store them in airtight containers, or in jars of olive oil for an extra special treat. I’ve also dried pears, figs, apples, apricots, peaches, and tomatoes in the past. The trick is to get the slices the right thickness so that they dry fairly quickly, but still retain some chewiness. You don’t want to dry them too long. We sell a selection of great dehydrators that will help you in your quest for the perfect hiking snack.
Pickling has also been full-0n this summer. I’ve pickled the traditional pickling cucumbers, but also lemon cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, and peppers. It’s fun to try different spices and vinegars and ratios of vinegar and salt. One of my favorite spices to use is turmeric. It adds a beautiful golden hue to the jars.
Canning tomato sauce and whole tomatoes is another great way to use up the prolific tomatoes this time of year. Jams and fruit sauces are also easy canning options as the acid and sugar in fruits make it safer for home canning. My favorite right now is pear ginger sauce. Just cook up the pears with some fresh or powdered ginger, a dash of vanilla, and a cinnamon stick. I don’t even add any sugar the pears are so sweet on their own.