Fall Foods to Can or Freeze
Here are eleven foods that are at their cheapest and tastiest during the fall months. Freeze or can them now so you don't get stuck paying more for them later.
Load up on apples while they're plentiful, and use them to make your own applesauce. You can do this on the stove or in your crockpot. If you happen to have access to cheap pears, pear sauce is out-of-this-world good and no more difficult to make. Applesauce and pear sauce can be preserved by canning or freezing, whichever works best for you.
Use apples, pears or pumpkins to make homemade fruit butter. If you make it in the crockpot, it'll take very little hands-on time. Can or freeze the finished product to enjoy later, but be sure to sample some now. There's nothing like warm fruit butter on just-baked biscuits. Yum!
Jams and Jellies
Transform grapes, apples, pears and other fall fruits into delicious jams and jellies for your family. Make extra, and you'll have a head start on your holiday gifts.
Roast a bunch of pumpkins (or butternut squash), and make your own pumpkin puree. It freezes beautifully, and can be used to make everything from soup to muffins.
Note: Homemade pumpkin and butternut squash puree is not safe for home canning (even pressure canning). So, if you're trying to preserve your puree, freezing really is the only way to go.
Fill your freezer with nuts while they're in season, so you don't get stuck paying full-blown retail for them over the holidays. If you don't have nut trees in your yard, let your friends and neighbors know you're looking for nuts, or set out on a foraging adventure. Chestnuts, pecans and walnuts are just a few of the nuts you'll want to stock up on while you can.
Just don't make the mistake of storing a bunch of raw nuts in your pantry. They're likely to go rancid or buggy before you're able to use them. Freezing prevents all of that. Just grab a handful of nuts out of the freezer whenever you need them. There's no need to thaw them first.
Get your hands on some mushrooms (foraged or store-bought). Then, prep them for the freezer. It takes less than 10 minutes of chopping and cooking.
Canned fruit from the grocery store is loaded with sugar and lacking in flavor. Make up your own jars of canned apple and pear slices, so you never have to settle for second-best. Boiling water can them if you want shelf-stable jars, or just pop them in the freezer; either method will give you great results.
More Fall Fruits to Stock Up on: Raspberries, grapes, blackberries (in certain parts of the U.S.)
Potatoes, greens, and carrots are just a few of the vegetables that are available in the fall. Stock up on your favorites. Then, can, freeze or root cellar them to enjoy throughout the year.
Fall Vegetable Storage How-Tos:
Harvest the last of the herbs from your garden before the first frost hits. They'll freeze beautifully, but can also be dried, if you prefer to use them that way. Just be sure to put up enough to get you through the winter. Paying $4 for a tiny bottle of dried herbs is painful, when you're used to harvesting herbs from your own garden.
Use your vegetable peels and scraps (onion peels, carrot tops, potato skins, etc.) to make vegetable broth, or save everything in a bag in the freezer until Thanksgiving, and make a big batch of turkey stock.
If you're a hunter, or have friends who hunt, the fall is a great time to fill your freezer with free turkey, venison, and duck. If you don't have a hunting hookup, take advantage of Thanksgiving sales to stock up on turkey and ham. You'll find some of the cheapest prices of the year.
Tip: Save even more by loading up on reduced-price turkeys and hams after Thanksgiving has passed. Then, pop them in the freezer, and use them in place of lunchmeat.