One thing I love about summer is going to the store and picking up bargains that I can preserve for later use when prices go up (as we all know they will). While I do lots of canning there are other ways I put these items to good use-
One way is my drying it and yes, I’ll give a little shameless promotion here. I co-authored a book called The Essential Dehydrator and while some of its focus is on how to dry foods, it contains lots of gourmet recipes using dried foods.
Just this week I dried six pounds of onions and the thing I like best is I can walk away and leave the foods to dry. I can dry them overnight using the timer. And best of all, those six pounds became two jars of food so it’s great for storing extra food if finding space is an issue for you.
One other way you can put summer produce to use for later enjoyment is to make soups and stews. I’ve already made a couple of soups that I’ve put in the freezer and hope to do more as time permits. Something else I’ve been freezing is fruit based desserts like peach cobbler, strawberry crisps etc.
And the CSA box has been full of herbs. For the last two weeks I’ve opened up a paper bag to find it filled with basil. I’m growing my own too which I’ll dry so thought I’d use these bags for pesto which also freezes well. There’s one I made the other day that I’ll tell you about in an upcoming Meatless Monday meal.
Buying foods now can also save you money when the holidays roll around. Not just food gifts like jams but foods you can serve at buffets. This weekend I’m planning on making a peach and mint salsa…peaches were on sale and I’m growing mint in my herb garden. And with the zucchini and eggplant from the CSA box I’m also planning on making caponata. I’ve never made it before but thought it might make an interesting addition to the holiday table.
Another good thing about making all these goodies besides the money saving factor, is the time saving one too. Yes, you’ve have to put in some hours up front but it’s great to pull something out the pantry or freezer when you don’t have time in the fall or during the hectic holiday season.
(I’ll be holding a giveaway for a few copies of The Essential Dehydrator very soon!)