With September right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about the beginning of Autumn. Shorter days, cooler weather (which for some of us is a huge relief!), and a transition from summer vegetables into heavier, winter ones. Squashes, pumpkins, brussels sprouts that build the base of our stews and warm meals.
Every year, we get excited about this transition. It's always fun to switch it up and find new recipes or pull out old favorites. That being said, though, we always find ourselves yearning for that summer fresh in the dead of winter. In January and February, when the holidays are over and the days are colder than ever, wouldn't it be nice to get a small taste of summer?
That's why we're trying to be prepared and on top of things this summer, with time to spare to preserve some summer freshness! Here are some of our ideas about how you can taste summer all winter long:
1. Make Jam!
This one might be the most obvious one, but it's also so worth it! If you've never done it, don't be intimidated. It really isn't hard especially when you get the hang of it. To get you started, check out Jamie Oliver's strawberry jam recipe. Experiment with different berries and fruits (peaches and apricots make delicious jams too!). And if you're feeling really on top of your game, make extra to give as gifts! Family members and friends will truly appreciate this summery gift around the holidays.
Our challenge to you: Get wild with flavors! Try exotic combinations like peach and whiskey or strawberry jalapeno. Even green pepper jelly is a treat (especially on some crackers and cheese at your holiday parties).
This one is also pretty obvious. Preserve your garden cucumbers by making pickles! There isn't much you can't pickle really...beets, red onions, garlic, etc etc etc. Try it out, try a few different recipes and enjoy when the weather gets you down.
3. Freeze your Herbs
Perhaps a few of you have seen this on Pinterest, and we think it's absolutely genius. Chop fresh herbs from your garden, freeze them in ice cube trays and store in a freezer bag once they're frozen. You get to enjoy the bounty of your garden all winter long! Here's how.
4. Freeze your Veggies
This is one of our favorite methods to both preserve the bounty of our garden and taste summer when we need it most when it's below zero. We have a great problem in our garden; sometimes we have such an overabundance of veggies like zucchinis and squashes that we don't know what to do with them! Here's an idea: chop them up into bite size pieces and freeze them! Things like summer squash and zucchini go great in vegetable soups and stews, and won't it be fabulous to have leftovers from your garden when the ground is frozen?
[Life hack: Do you have rhubarb in your garden? Chop that up and freeze it too! As a treat in the winter you can make delicious and easy rhubarb sauce to either eat plain or put on top of your favorite ice cream. YUM!]
5. Frozen Peaches
This is one of our favorite winter hacks. Peel the skin off perfectly ripe peaches, stick them individually into plastic baggies and freeze them whole. When you need some summer love, pull one out and eat it with a spoon. It tastes exactly like homemade peach sorbet and is such a treat.
6. Sweet and Spicy Salsa
This is a recipe we make every year because it includes black garlic (and we all know how we feel about black garlic). It's easy and a great way to taste fresh tomatoes when grocery store-purchased tomatoes are terrible. Here's our recipe:
Prep Time: 15 - 20 minutes | Bake Time: 20-25 minutes | Servings: 6-8
- 8 - 10 whole tomatoes, chopped into pieces
- 8 - 10 whole tomatoes, crushed
- 3 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
- 5 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
- 2 fresh yellow peppers, diced
- 1 fresh green pepper, diced
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. basil
- 5 or 6 green onions, diced
- 1 med. sweet onion, diced
- 2 or 3 Black Garlic cloves, diced
- Olive oil
Sauté green onions & garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl mix all other ingredients together except for vinegar. Add sautéed ingredients to mixture and simply add vinegar to taste. Refrigerate.
How do you preserve your summer? We want to know! Give us your life hacks and share your secrets. We look forward to hearing from you!