Summer Foods to Can or Freeze
Preserve some of summer's bounty now, and enjoy a lower grocery bill year-round. Here are nine summer foods to can or freeze while they're cheap:
Turn too-many tomatoes into a year's supply of tomato sauce. You can make your sauce in the crockpot or on the stove-top. If your tomatoes are coming in a few at a time, just freeze them until you have enough for a batch of sauce. This is also a great solution, if you're too busy to make the sauce right now, or if you'd just prefer to make your sauce after the weather cools off.
Grab some tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and chop your way to some homemade salsa. Once you find a basic recipe that you like, experiment with more exotic varieties. Spicy watermelon and corn salsa, anyone?
Freeze blueberries, blackberries, peaches and all of those other tasty summer fruits, so you can enjoy them in smoothies and cobblers long after they're out of season.
Make a list of the vegetables that you use throughout the year. Then, get them in the freezer, so you won't have to pay a premium for them later. Corn, peppers, onions, green beans, broccoli -- they're all in season now, and they're really easy to freeze.
All of those fresh herbs in your garden won't be around this winter. Freeze your favorites, so you'll have them on hand. When you see what fresh herbs go for at the grocery store, you'll be glad you did. Find that you tend to use more dried herbs in the winter? Then, dry your home-grown herbs, instead of freezing them. It's just as easy.
Transform your excess cucumbers (or your neighbor's excess cucumbers) into jars of pickles to top your burgers and accompany your sandwiches. If canning isn't your thing, make refrigerator pickles instead. They're just as good, and take less time to make. And remember: cucumbers aren't the only thing that you can pickle.
Jams, Jellies and Other Fruit Spreads
Jams and jellies can easily top $4 a jar. Make your own, so you can enjoy all your favorite flavors without paying crazy money for them. If you aren't growing any fruit, just hit a u-pick farm or a farmer's market. They should have plenty of great deals this time of year. Turned off by the idea of canning? Then, make freezer jam. It requires no special equipment or skills. Just mash your fruit, toss in some pectin and sugar; and stir.
Save all of your vegetable scraps -- onion peels, potato skins, broccoli stalks, green bean stems -- in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, dump the contents into a large stockpot and make vegetable broth. It's such a fantastic way to utilize something that would otherwise be thrown away, and it'll save you from having to buy broth at the store. Pretty cool.