How to Store Your Summer Produce…Because Winter Is Coming

Store in-season produce and enjoy the flavors of summer all winter long.
By: Julie Hines

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy , 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The unofficial end of summer has come and gone and, although it may not feel like it quite yet, cooler temps are right around the corner. Soon, farmers markets and grocery stores are going to be stocked with squash, leafy greens and root vegetables instead of tomatoes, corn and stone fruit. These new flavors are exciting at first, but at some point during the winter (usually sometime after your fifteenth bowl of butternut squash soup) you start craving something else.

Freeze or can your favorite summer foods to enjoy them all winter long. To freeze, place cut produce on a sheet tray in a flat layer. Once completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag and store in the freezer. If you’re canning your fruits or vegetables, make sure you sterilize the jars properly to ensure safe storage.

Stock up now and save summer produce for the long winter ahead.

Tomato Sauce (pictured above)

You’ll thank yourself for stocking up on meaty tomatoes like plum or San Marzano at the peak of ripeness come mid-winter when you’re in a rush for a weeknight dinner and have a pantry full of homemade tomato sauce at the ready. Here’s a how-to on canning tomatoes. Alternatively, skip the complicated canning process and store single-serve portions of tomato sauce in freezer-safe resealable plastic bags like Giada does.

Don’t know what to do with your overgrown basil plant? Make a big batch of pesto and store in ice cube trays for single-serve portions.

Photo by: Matt Armedariz ©2012 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armedariz, 2012 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If you’ve made all the fruit pies you can handle and still have a flat of peaches or a 5-pound container of strawberries sitting in the kitchen, opt for jam. Summer fruits are literally bursting with flavor right now, making them the perfect candidate for strawberry jam or peach jam.

InaGarten_CreamofFreshTomatoSoup_H

InaGarten_CreamofFreshTomatoSoup_H

Photo by: Renee Comet ©Renee Comet

Renee Comet, Renee Comet

Make a big batch of soup with fresh tomatoes and store in the freezer. Come winter you’ll have the perfect pairing for a grilled cheese to warm you up.

120124_FNM_PICKLES-0034.tif

120124_FNM_PICKLES-0034.tif

Photo by: Kat Teutsch

Kat Teutsch

Pickles

Pickling is a tried and true method of food storage, perfect for tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots or almost any other vegetable you have on hand. Try out this quick pickling recipe for pickles that will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 months or go for the classic canning method for pickles that can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.

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