Preserving the Summer!

Perhaps it is my zen-like presence practice, but in the peak of crop season I have a hard time really conceiving that winter will come. It’s so far away that it seems foggy, and maybe imaginary.

There is much evidence, however, that winter will indeed come. And so, when it seems we might be overwhelmed with tomatoes, that’s exactly the time to give a nod to your future self, and lay away some of the deliciousness of summer.

We have lots of gorgeous produce during the late summer at our farm stores in Granby and Montague, as well as in quantity at discounts through the farm’s Bulk Orders where we offer half bushels of tomatoes, bags of onions, boxes of peppers and such.

A shout out to all the cooks and recipe writers over the generations, because we are in a time of inordinate wealth of ideas for how to preserve our seasonal bounty, from the hundreds of cultures all across the Earth.

Here is a brief collection, a jumping off point, for your own forays into preservation.

Recipes for Preserving the Summer


I’ve been fond of canning because we don’t have much freezer space and you can keep your canned goods on the shelf. The jars also make beautiful gifts. We usually make a bigger batch of something special each year that we can share later during the holidays.



One of the quickest ways to preserve food. Each year we freeze sweet peppers for use over the winter – just chop, bag and freeze. You can also bag and freeze tomatoes whole and raw, after coring out the stem. Then chop frozen for use in winter cooking. You can freeze tomato sauce and puree very successfully. Frozen corn brings the summer into winter cooking and I try to set up a good amount of that each year.

With our smaller freezer, I emphasize freezing things that don’t take up a lot of room but add lots of flavor to dishes over the winter, like herbs, oven roasted tomatoes, and my favorite flavor mix I’ve learned so far – Sofrito.

Things to remember when freezing, courtesy of National Center for Home Food Preservation.

  • Freeze as soon as you can with the freshest produce possible.
  • Freeze at 0 degrees or lower, if you can turn your freezer down, to make things freeze faster.
  • And don’t overload your freezer with too much to freeze at one time.



cucumbers being made into lactoferemented pickles

Lacto-fermenting cucumbers with garlic scapes and a couple wild harvested grape leaves to help keep them crunchy. You can see my methods here for keeping the cukes under the brine :)… Another canning jar full of water on top and a plastic bag twist-tied over all to limit air flow.

Here’s a way to preserve while creating recipes full of wonderful probiotics for your body! Lacto-fermentation typically uses salt and a cover of brine to create an environment where good bacteria thrive and turn foods into tasty pickles, krauts and more! Once you get a finished kraut or the like, you move it into the refrigerator or a cool but not freezing spot in the house to maintain the ferment at a certain stage.

Some folks make big barrels or buckets of sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables in their basements, as a way to keep them cooler.



At home, we do lots of herbs, as they are as easy as hanging a bunch up from a string. I always do some halved cherry tomatoes, because they have uses all over the place. And my kids love dried apples and other fruit, so we try to do as much of that as we can.



We hope you can try some of these methods!

Down the line in the depths of winter we can thank our selves for having foresight to save some of the very best local things from a warmer time to taste and enjoy!