There are many things that we look forward to during the summer- sunshine, time at the beach or lake, picnics and swimming. One of my favorite summertime happenings is shopping for all the fresh summer produce. No matter where you live, you can enjoy fresh produce from a local farmers market, grocery store or CSA program. If you love fresh fruit or vegetables, summer time can offer limitless options! It can be difficult to enjoy it all before they spoil.
7 Tips for Using Up Your Summer Produce
- Buy Sparingly. Purchase only what you can eat over the next few days, or until your next shopping trip.
- Sales. Stock up on fresh produce while on sale, and freeze to enjoy later. Fruit that freezes easily are berries, cherries, grapes, plums, peaches, and nectarines. Just wash and pat dry. Cut peaches, plums and nectarines into pieces. Freeze in freezer bags or containers.
- Freeze & Store. Vegetables that freeze well are corn on the cob, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and onions. It is very important to blanch vegetables before freezing them. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the vegetables to the water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook the vegetables 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and transfer them immediately to a bowl of ice water until they are completely chilled. Drain well and freeze in freezer bags or containers.
- Canning. Try home canning to preserve tomatoes (into salsa and pasta sauce), apples into pie filling and canned corn and green beans.
- Pickle It! Pickle your surplus beets and cucumbers.
- Eat Up! Eat fruits and vegetables with each meal and snack!
- Create New Treats. Make fun summertime cool treats with fresh fruits. Freeze grapes and enjoy a cold treat! Make yogurt and berry smoothie popsicles or try blueberries dipped in yogurt and freeze.
Jennifer Egeland, MS RND, LD
Dietitian and Natural Foods Buyer
Hen House Markets
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