We like our food to be real and simple, which is why we only use natural ingredients and keep the list short. In the summer, eating real foods can seem pretty easy — there are so many fresh vegetables, hot weather is perfect for salads and smoothies, and even if you’re paleo and your friend is vegan you can both be on board with grilling everything. Then the summer starts to end, and soon those fresh vegetables won’t be in season.
But before we move on to winter squash and apples, the end of the growing season brings an abundance of produce. Now is the perfect time to buy in bushels and start preserving vegetables. (It might seem like a lot of work now, but you’ll thank yourself in the winter!)
One of the easiest ways to preserve produce is by freezing it. Freezing is simple, doesn’t require specific tools, and retains more nutrients than most other preservation methods. Simply clean, cut, and blanch fresh vegetables, pack them away and put them in the freezer. Eating Well has a great guide to freezing fresh produce.
Drying produce is another fun preservation method that can save time in the future, but it takes a lot more time. You can dry food in your oven (click here for a good beginner’s guide), or using a dehydrator. Some produce, like chili peppers and fresh herbs, can be air dried (this won’t work as well in high humidity). Tomatoes, herbs, fruit and peppers are the obvious choices for drying, but get creative. If you have a dehydrator, here’s a simple guide to drying different veggies.
What do you do with your frozen and dried fruits and vegetables? What about frozen berries on No-Grain Granola in the middle of winter, or dried tomatoes and goat cheese on Seedy Crackers this fall, and of course, stews and stir fries all year round.