Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

How to Eat Summer Fruit All Year

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

How to Eat Summer Fruit All Year

Article excerpt

The time is ripe - excuse the pun - to preserve early summer fruits.

I have been picking rhubarb since May. The strawberries are ripening. Soon the farm markets will have cherries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, followed by mid-summer stone fruits and melons.

By preserving these fruits now, you can enjoy their wonderful flavors, reap the benefits of their nutritional value and share "delectables" with your family and friends long after the summer is over.

Food safety is of utmost importance when preserving food. Follow only research-based methods and recipes like those listed in the reliable sources at the end of this article.

Start with only top-quality fruit at peak ripeness. Always sort out bruised or past-ripe fruit; preserving does not improve its quality. Wash but do not soak and drain well. Choose your preserving method - drying, canning or freezing - depending on how you would like to enjoy these fruits later. Each method has its benefits and costs.

Drying requires an investment in an electric food dehydrator. But once dried, the fruit can be stored at room temperature in airtight containers away from sunlight, moisture and heat. Always label each jar or zip-lock bag with the contents and storage date.

Canning requires some rudimentary gear and an up-front investment of time and energy from you and your stove. The jars are shelf stable at room temperature once they are hermetically sealed. Canned goods should be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and used within a year.

Oh, the possibilities! Rhubarb chutney, strawberry-rhubarb jam, strawberry sauce, sweet raspberry vinegar, 'Bing' cherry jam with amaretto, blueberry syrup and spiced blueberry marmalade are among my family's perennial favorites.

A cardinal rule is to follow the recipes exactly. …

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