We’re in that sweet spot in the summer where an abundant amount of local produce is available, take advantage of it! Don’t fret, there is a way to enjoy local peaches, cherries or veggies year round. And no, we aren’t talking about by importing, we’re talking about preserving. Not only do these make a great addition to your meals all year, but they are great as gifts to your family and friends. So, grab your mason jars and start!
Pickling is a great option to help preserve your summer veggies into the next season. Pickles have a special place in our heart (and stomachs) and although pickling might sound daunting, it’s a fairly simple process. Once you have the basic steps down, you can play around with different ingredients and spices.
There are two main methods: water bath canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning cans at lower temperatures, so it is best for veggies that have higher acidity. Pressure canning can reach very high temperatures, so it is the ideal method for low-acid foods to safely preserve the contents.
Some of our favourite pickled veggie recipes:
Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles – This recipe has a kick of spice that we love!
Pickled Watermelon Radishes – A pop of colour that’s a great addition to salads year round.
Pickled Garlic – As good as they sound. Great addition to a cheese platter or on their own.
If you’re a bit intimidated by the canning methods, refrigerator pickles might be for you! Unfortunately, they don’t last as long but are a quick way to enjoy pickled veggies.
Nothing beats homemade jam with fresh local ingredients. Many fruits work well in jams including berries, peaches, apricots and many more! The fruits get cooked down with a bit of sugar and a lemon wedge until you have reached the desired consistency. Lemon is used to help balance the acidity of the jam and gets removed before the end product. Every fruit varies in sweetness, so the amount of sugar added varies, but we generally recommend using less sugar and adding a bit of honey to your food later if you want some extra sweetness. If you’re looking for a simple how to, check out this post here.
We love incorporating fermented foods into our diet as they are rich in gut-healthy probiotics. Sauerkraut and kimchi can generally run pretty expensive in the store, so tackling a DIY recipe can be much cheaper. Ferments are definitely the most intimidating type of preserve, but there are plenty of how to guides out there to help you safely enjoy them at home.
If you need more inspiration on how to use preserves throughout the year, check out this blog post. Do you have a favourite preserve recipe that you want to share? We’d love to hear from you! Find us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and be sure to use our hashtag #eatlocal.