It might be hard to believe, but the end of the growing this summer’s growing season is right around the corner. Many of the fruits and vegetables are reaching their peak and must be picked now before they begin to wither on their vines or stalks. In order to enjoy the benefits of summer’s bounty, there are a few tricks and tips to implement now.

Freeze

One of the best ways to extend your enjoyment of summertime foods is to freeze them. Quick and easy, freezing foods at the peak of their freshness helps retain their vibrant colors and superior nutritional value. To freeze berries, gently wash them in cool water before patting them dry and lay them on wax paper-lined cookie sheets in a single layer. After they are frozen, place in a freezer safe container or bag, making sure to remove all the air first, before closing it securely. This method works for all berries except for blueberries. Washing them before freezing makes their skins tough so avoid doing so. Just be sure to do so before using them later.

Zucchini and other vegetables can be shredded so they can easily be added to baked goods and savory sauces before being placed in freezer safe bags. Be sure to label storage containers and bags with the type of food and the date.

Canning

Canning allows you to turn the berries, cucumbers and peppers you pick this summer into delicious, fresh-tasting condiments that can be enjoyed by your whole family, even when the season is over. Today, there is an array of different methods you can use to can different foods. Whether you want to go the traditional route and can foods using a pressure cooker or you want to try one of the newer no-cook methods, be sure to follow the directions carefully in order to ensure optimal results.

Be sure to have fun experimenting with the best ways to preserve summertime crops. Taking the time to do this now will ensure that you can enjoy the taste of fresh foods, even in the dead of winter.