3 Ways to Make the Most of Fresh Fall Produce

Fresh fall produce is more affordable than imported fruit and vegetables-and it tastes better, too! Here are easy ways to extend the shelf life of your favourite harvest foods.

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Drying can extend the shelf life of food
Photo: Shutterstock

1. Dry it

Drying fresh fall produce is one way “to make an overwhelming abundance of produce fit into a couple of jars,” says Rick Havlak, owner of Vancouver’s Homestead Junction. If you were overzealous at the orchard, try making apple chips. Sprinkle thin slices with lime juice, then cook them at 225 F until crisp, or about 2.5 hours.

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Frozen fruits and vegetables
Photo: Shutterstock

2. Freeze it

Freezing fresh fall produce seems simple, but if done wrong, it can leave produce limp and odd-tasting. Prevent that by blanching vegetables such as carrots or peas. First, dip them in boiling water for one to two minutes, then plunge them into ice water. Dry the veggies, then spread them on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Herbs like thyme and rosemary also freeze well, says Robin Long, chef instructor at the Pearson School of Culinary Arts in LaSalle, Que. You can also toss them into stews for a burst of flavour.

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Preserved peppers in jars
Photo: Shutterstock

3. Preserve fresh fall produce

DIY canned goods are the perfect host gift, says Havlak. But sterilizing jars to do your own canning can be tricky. While Havlak preserves his homemade tomato sauce, he offers this beginner’s version: cook your own sauce then freeze it in Mason jars. It’s a cherished fall activity for Havlak and his family. “We have two burners on the porch, and we’re all slicing and watching the sauce boil,” he says. “It’s a fun ritual.”

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