Preserving the Tastes of Summer
July is one of the best times to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, eaten raw or baked into delicious breads and desserts. If you have more produce than you can possibly use, break out your canning and freezing recipes to store summer goodness for those cold fall and winter months.
Locally, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and peaches are coming in, to be followed soon by pears and early apples. Consider making a blueberry pie or peach cobbler for dessert, or preserving raspberry or blackberry jams. Cucumbers, cabbage, squash, beans and onions are also at their best now. Try making zucchini bread, bread and butter pickles, or homemade sweet and dill relishes.
Although canning, pickling, baking and preserving can be a lot of work, it is also a lot of fun! If you don’t have your own garden to harvest, a trip to the orchard or farmer’s market is a great family outing. Children of all ages love to help with the picking and mashing and especially the tasting. When you open the cupboard or freezer later in the year, you’ll enjoy seeing all that wonderful food you’ve put by. You may even have enough to share with friends and family; homemade jams or pickles make great holiday gifts.
Stop by your local Fauquier County Public Library and check out these resources to help preserve this summer’s bounty:
Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan
Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments and More by America’s Test Kitchen
The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook: From the Garden to the Table in 120 Recipes by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman
Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham
Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables by Mike and Nancy Bubel
Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm and Garden by Deborah Madison
Reference Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton