Tips, recipes, and recommendations for canning, freezing, and preserving vegetables and fruit this summer!
The links below may be affiliate links, meaning I earn a small compensation at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure policy here.
I spent the last several days processing our garden produce that’s been accumulating and stretching out over all the surfaces in our kitchen. Up to this point, we’ve been mostly eating everything fresh and my focus was not on putting up the harvest for later.
However, the beans and tomatoes and peppers were piling up and it was either put up or throw out!
This won’t be my only big processing session of the season, but I wanted to share all the details of this first session in one place so it’ll be easy to find the recipes and resources I used. Plus, after my fav recs, I’ll share a handful of tips to help make processing the season’s goodness a little easier and more efficient.
Putting Up A Garden Harvest: Tips, Recipes, & Resources
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list of everything we will put up, but it is definitely a great overview of our favorites— including the tools and cookbooks that I repeatedly use all season/year long.
Also, I’m just going to be honest and agree (because I don’t think anyone is trying to persuade me otherwise) that canning and freezing and dehydrating is a lot of work. IT IS A LOT OF WORK. But, it’s also really valuable work that can both leave you feeling incredibly accomplished, and will quite literally satisfy bellies the rest of the year.
So, grab some vegetables. Pick some fruit. And let’s get started.
Favorite Recipes & Preserving Methods
These are the recipes and methods that I used this past weekend. When possible, I’ve linked the recipe. Many of the recipes are from cookbooks– each of which are regularly referenced in my kitchen and which I highly recommend.
In addition to the recipes, you may see some notes about equipment I used. You can find more details about each in the following section.
- Marinara Sauce (freeze in Souper Cubes) :: recipe from my cookbook, Family Meals from Scratch in Your Instant Pot
- Canned Diced Tomatoes (water bath canner) :: instructions in the cookbook, Homemade Pantry
- Canned Tomato Soup (pressure canner) :: recipe from DIY Natural
- Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (freeze in Souper Cubes) :: recipe from Simple Bites
- Refrigerator Pickles :: recipe from Cookie & Kate
- Dill Pickle Spears (water bath canner) :: instructions in the cookbook, Homemade Pantry
- Bread & Butter Slices (water bath canner) :: recipe from the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
- Hot Pepper Jelly (water bath canner) (using jalapeños and bell pepper) :: recipe from the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
- used in the zucchini relish (below)
- slices canned in honey syrup (water bath canning) :: recipe from A Modern Homestead
- Vanilla Peach Jam (water bath canning) :: recipe from the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
- Peach Salsa (water bath canning) :: recipe from the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
SQUASH & ZUCCHINI
- shredded zucchini (freeze in Souper Cubes) :: shred, blot out excess moisture, freeze in trays and transfer cubes to bag
- diced squash (blanched and frozen in freezer bags) :: chop squash, blanch 1-2 minutes in boiling water, freeze on baking sheet, then transfer to freezer bags. Use the rest of the year in Rosemary & Parmesan Squash Casserole
- Zucchini Relish (water bath canned) :: recipe from the cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars
- trimmed & cut into 3″ pieces (pressure canner) :: recipe from A Modern Homestead (last year we didn’t really enjoy frozen green beans as much, so we wanted to try canning them instead)
- All American Pressure Canner (doubles as pressure canner and water bath canner)
- Water Bath Canner
- Canning Essentials Set
- Souper Cubes (I used these for so much. They truly are worth the investment and so versatile!)
- Immersion Blender
- Victorinox Paring Knives (these have been favorite knives for years– and they’re especially handy in the canning process)
- Ball Mason Jars
- A Beginner’s Guide to Water Bath Canning: A Modern Homestead
- A Quick Start Guide to Pressure Canning (e-book): A Modern Homestead
- Naturally Sweet Food in Jars: 100 Preserves Made with Coconut, Maple, Honey, & More
- Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ::
- 50+ Fresh Summer Vegetable Recipes
- How I’m Processing a Bounty of Garden Tomatoes + Free Freezer Inventory (2020 list)
- Summer Vegetable Canning Collection :: A Modern Homestead
- Food in Jars website
Tips for More Efficient and Enjoyable Preserving
- First and foremost, make sure you are using safe and reliable recipes for canning food. Stick to the recipes as alterations can change the acidity level of the finished jars and render them unsafe for preserving.
- Figure out a period of time (an afternoon, few days in a row) when you can have help with your kids (if you have them). Canning and preserving is a lot of hot water, sharp knives, and attention to detail. It’s best done without a lot of distraction.
- Keep a large bowl for scraps and trash. There is so much cutting off ends, peeling fruits and vegetables, removing bad spots, and so on. It’s much easier if there is a nearby place to collect it all.
- Download a book or find a binge-worthy show to help the time go by more enjoyably.
- A non-porous cutting board is great for slicing tomatoes because the juices and pieces more easily slip into the pot.
- An immersion blender is great if you want to be lazy about peeling tomatoes for sauce because the skins collect on the blade.
- Don’t plan to cook dinner after working on putting up your harvest. Plan a freezer meal or order pizza. You earned it.
- If you can’t get to everything, you can freeze tomatoes and fruit until you’re ready to can them.
- As long as your jars are in good condition (no cracks or chips), you just need to get new lids. If you can’t find them in the store, check online like Amazon.
- Remind yourself that the work will pay off. Because trust me, it will, and you will thank yourself all winter long.
What tips would you add? How are you preserving summer produce? I’d love to hear! Share in the comments below!
Sharing is caring! Don’t forget to pin and share. Thank you!