We are reaching that chilly time of year here in the Northeast which is synonymous with freezing temps and the end of our growing season. If you try to eat as fresh and locally as possible that means there are few local options. One way I try to help boost my winter is by preserving my summer. This means it isn’t always “fresh” but it’s cheaper and better than the grocery store. Plus it’s still local. I always make sure to buy products in season and get the best deal I possibly can for them.
Freezing, canning, and drying commence. Generally all these options have a beginning out-of-pocket but they more than pay off when you wisely use what you have and stretch the “waste” into “preserve.
I was able to get in on a canning party where I was sent a Stainless-Steel 21-Quart Waterbath Canner with Rack and Glass Lid (by Jarden Home Brands). However, you can find water bath canners inexpensively on store shelves on online.
- Craigs List
- Large (REALLY LARGE) stock pot
- Re-use your glass jars and rings
- MUST buy new seals each year
- Research and ensure the produce you want to can can be safely canned in a water bath or invest in a pressure canner.
- Think jams and jellies, fruit fillings, soup veggies, pickling, condiments – anything you buy at the store
- Plan – figure out how much you use over winter through to the next growing season and try to make that amount plus a few jars
- Label and DATE your jars
- Store in a cool, dark place so the food doesn’t lose color
Someday I would love to have a FoodSaver but for now I just do the best I can.
- Is it more efficient to freeze or can your sauce?
- Stock up and slice fruit to freeze for smoothies, juices, and desserts
- Puree bananas that are browning or pumpkin puree and freeze in amounts needed for your favorite recipes
- Blanch and freeze your favorite soup veggies or stir fry veggies in increments for a family recipe/meal
- Keep any glass jars and lids you get food in. Freeze blueberries, muffin batter, etc. in them, leaving a 1-2 inch head space for freezing expansion.
- Flash freeze sliced fruits or berries on parchment paper on a cookie sheet approximately 1 hour before putting them in your storage containers so you can use as much or little as you want.
I LOVE my Nesco Dehydrator . I bought this one and it is a work horse. Drying herbs from my pots, or that I got a good deal on, making yogurt or fruit leather, and dried fruit, saves so much money on those dried fruit purchases. PLUS I know where it came from and can avoid the preservatives many store-bought ones have added.
- Follow all directions for safe drying and storage
- I use glass jars to store for a pretty look and to cut down on plastic.
- Label with the product and date.
What are some ways you preserve summer for winter?
Share your frugal tips with us.
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