How To Make the Most of End of Season Fruit
For those of us who do our best to eat seasonally, summer brings a wealth of riches that can feel all too fleeting. It’s a challenge of abundance, where it’s easy to find yourself with such a glut of one type of produce that you don’t know what to do with it, all the while knowing you’re sure to crave it months later when it’s gone.
Our summer fruits are a common culprit. If you’re like us and add fruit to your box like it’s going out of season every week, here are some ideas of how to make the most of the late-summer bounty, and how to stretch these summer flavors through the cooler months to come.
Jams and preserves are one of the easiest ways to get big harvests of fruit off of your counter and into your pantry or fridge. They’re also a foolproof way to feel like an accomplished homesteader no matter where you live. If you’re new to jam and ready to learn more, check out our Jams 101 post for everything you need to know to get started.
Preserves aren’t my jam. What are some other ideas?
Freeze your fruit! As smoothie lovers know, freezing fruit is an easy way to save produce on the cusp of over-ripening, or to squirrel away extra produce in season now for use throughout the year! Since freezing causes some of the cell walls in fruit to break down, thawed fruit may not have the same texture as fresh, so plan to use it in smoothies or sauces.
DIY dried fruit
You don’t need a fancy dehydrator to make dried fruit at home, perfect for snacking or for incorporating into recipes like homemade granola. All you need is a cooking tray, parchment paper, and time! So, if you know you’ll be around the house all day, you can throw some fruit in the oven, do some laundry, or watch your favorite show and then come back to your finished product. Time and temperature vary depending on your fruit of choice so check out a guide like this one for more info.
There are lots of creative ways to incorporate your summer fruits into a pitcher tonight or into a midwinter cocktail (virgin or otherwise).
Sangria is a fun and easy catch-all for summer fruits. Try a stone fruit sangria like this one using white wine or rosé for a refreshing take on the classic.
“Shrubs” are tart fruit infusions that are easy to store and enjoy for months to come. Serve them over ice, with seltzers, tonics, or your mixers of choice. A perfect way to use bruised or overripe fruit, shrubs involve combining vinegar with fruit that has been macerated and left to sit with sugar. Once properly infused with fruity goodness, the mixture is strained and stored in the fridge for use at your leisure. Like jam, you can brew shrubs in countless combinations for creative cocktails. Here is an awesome guide to get you started.
No matter how you decide to prep your fruit to use later in the year, working with the seasons and capturing produce at its peak is a great way to structure your relationship with food in an environmentally-conscious way. You can make sure no food goes to waste, and you get to enjoy the taste of a summer strawberries in midwinter. Now that’s a win win!