Ways to Preserve Your Summer Fruits
Can Your Fruits
Canning is another great way to preserve your fruit. Pick the fruit when it is at its ripest for canning methods. Cut the fruit up and place into canning jars. You do not have to use sugar to sweeten the fruit, but like when freezing melons, using simple syrup will help keep your canned fruit’s flavor and color.
To make simple syrup, all you have to do is melt some sugar in water and pour over the fruit in the jar. You then need to give your canned fruit a hot water bath in order to seal the jars.
To give a hot water bath, place your jars in a pan filled halfway with hot water. Once the jars are in place, pour more boiling water over the tops of the jars (with lids on) until they are submerged. Turn on the burner and boil the jars for about 10 minutes or so. Remove the jars and place them on a cooling rack or on a towel on the counter. As the jars cool you will hear a popping sound. This will be the jars sealing. It will take approximately 12 – 24 hours for the jars to complete the sealing process.
The easiest way to preserve your fruit is to freeze it and store it for later use. How to freeze your fruit depends on the type of fruit. For berries, drain the berries in a colander for about 30 minutes then lay them on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer overnight. You can take the berries out the next day and bag them when they are completely frozen.
Melons should be cut out of the rinds and sprinkled with sugar before freezing. The sugar helps to preserve the flavor of the melons. All fruit needs to be placed in a freezer bag or freezer safe container and marked with the date of freeze. Frozen fruit can be kept in the freezer for up to one year.
Drying your fruit is another way to preserve it for the winter months. Drying your fruit is a bit more involved than freezing or canning. To dry your fruit, pick ripe fruit as immature fruit will not have any flavor and overripe fruit will dry in a mushy state.
Once you have picked your fruit, cut it into strips to prepare for the drying process. In order to dry fruit, you first need to pre-treat the slices. You can do this by dipping in ascorbic acid or vitamin C, citric acid or lemon juice. Once the slices have been pre-treated, you can use your oven to dry the fruit. This will take between 3 – 36 hours depending upon the size of the slices. Dried fruit should be leathery and pliable to be considered done and a deterrent to microbial growth.
Be sure to pick your fruit when they are ripe for best results. Finding ways to preserve the harvest is a great way to have fresh tasting fruit all year long. It also saves on money and prevents throwing your efforts in the trash. So go ahead and preserve your summer fruits for the winter. It’s guaranteed to help melt away those winter blues.