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What to Pickle and Preserve Right Now

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Put a lid on warm weather produce to get you through the winter ahead.

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Some of the best produce is still in abundance at the farmers market -- tomatoes, stone fruit, peppers, and eggplant -- but these days are dwindling. Now is the time to get the last of the season, before all that’s left are months of root vegetables and winter greens.  

The best way to hold onto a taste of these warmer months all year long is by preserving them. Food52er Julie is planning to spend the weekend pickling and preserving these goodies and turned to the Hotline for some community inspiration. Whether you prefer traditional canning or like to make use of your freezer, the has community has suggestions:

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  • Freezing herbs is one of our community’s preferred way to preserve them. Jamcook freezes basil pesto without the cheese, then adds in the cheese when she defrosts it, while Meaghan F is using the last of her fresh herbs in compound butter, which freezes well too.
  • Aargersi likes to start her holiday prep early and cans a variety of jams and jellies, like fig, grape, and cherry. Next up she plans to make apple butter, as well as plum and port jam.

More: Prepare your kitchen for a weekend of pickling and preserving with these tools.

  • It can be tricky to figure out the best way to preserve produce if you live alone or in a small household, knowing you might not make it through large batches. Sfmiller tackles this problem by turning to small batch refrigerator pickles like jalapeños or fermented pickles like sauerkraut.
  • There’s nothing worse then a mealy January tomato, which is why our community is preserving late summer tomatoes in all shapes and sizes. Susan W has particularly gone crazy for them -- freezing fire-roasted tomatoes, containers of Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce, and whole grape tomatoes.
  • And finally, jamcook sends a friendly reminder that while preserving is enjoyable, it’s also time-consuming, so in order to avoid frustration, she recommends not attempting to cram all your preserving projects into one weekend: “You want this to be a pleasure and not a chore. There is almost nothing more satisfying than hearing those jars go "ping" at the end.”

What are you preserving this year? Tell us in the comments or join in the conversation over on the Hotline!

Tags: your burning questions, hotline, preserving, pickling, canning, freezing, summer produce, fall produce