Buy These Fruits Now and Preserve Them for Later

Canning jam is easy enough and means you can be eating summer fruit long past their market-fresh appearances.
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Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

As summer winds down, the thought of no longer seeing local strawberries and stone fruits is already making me yearn for another month of warm weather and seasonal produce. But not all is lost! You can buy fresh fruit now and preserve the produce with recipes for easy jams and preserves. Don't be afraid to do it yourself: Canning jam is easy enough and means you can be eating summer fruit long past their market-fresh appearances.

There are many different varieties of peaches, but the main distinction is between clingstone and freestone. You can use either for this recipe, as the peaches will cook down into jam, so how well you cut the fruit or separate it from the pit isn't a concern. To boost the citrusy tartness, try adding a few strips of lemon peel (discard them when you take out the cloves).

Ina Garten loves to use big pieces of hulled, fresh strawberries in her jam, so she cuts the berries only in half. She adds superfine sugar (which melts really quickly), but if you can't find it, you can blend your own in the food processor. Orange-flavored liqueur will bring out the sweetness of the strawberries, and a chopped green apple will help thicken the jam; a few blueberries will add depth of flavor and create a great deep-red color. The mixture will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks. But if you want to store it for longer, pack and seal in canning jars according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Use maple syrup in addition to sugar to get great fall flavor into this preserve. Lemon zest and lemon juice will give great flavor to in-season blueberries. You'll cook the mixture until those berries are tender but still hold their shape — so you'll really be able to see the fruits of your labor come cold weather.

Firm, ripe plums are best for this preserve that gets added flavor from vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. Before the mixture is fully cooked, add firm-ripe plumcots or apricots, then simmer until the fruit is tender before sealing into jam jars.

Peeled ginger and cumin give a kick to plum tomatoes. Balance the spiciness with a bit of light muscovado sugar or packed light-brown sugar and cinnamon for a jam that is perfect for cheese plates, baguette and more.

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