One of the best things about summer is the bounty of succulent seasonal fruits like strawberries, peaches, and stone fruits. And while you can get these fruits year-round, in most major metropolitan areas, they are at their peak in the spring and summer months.
Additionally, because they are at the height of their season, these fruits are also the most economical during this time of year. And because they are so cheap and plentiful, it’s a great time to stock up on these warm-weather treats.
But the downside too many of these fruits is that they don’t always last long. If you buy too much, even at amazingly low rates, you still end up wasting money if you lose you stash to mold and other problems.
There are ways to preserve your fruit for longer, even to the point that you can enjoy them during the dreary winter months.
The vinegar wash will remove mold spores and bacteria that can cause your fruits and vegetables to decay faster. It will also remove residue, like pesticides or waxy coatings, from the surface of your fruit. It’s good for short-term storage, or to prepare your fruit for extended storage methods.
For hard-skinned fruits, like citrus, mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the fruit, rub the solution into the skin, and let it sit for five minutes. Rinse the fruit in cold water, then let it dry and store it as you normally would.
For soft-skinned fruits, like strawberries, peaches, or stone fruits, pour equal parts water and white vinegar into a bowl, add the fruit and let it soak for five minutes. Rinse the fruit in cold water, then let it dry and store it as you normally would.
The fruit should last for several days longer than it would without the wash. If you are concerned about the vinegar making the fruit too tart, try a sweeter vinegar like white balsamic, apple cider, or a wine vinegar, instead of white.
Freezing keeps the fruit in suspended animation, preventing spoilage and decay. For the best results, use the vinegar wash first, then freeze the fruit in small batches. For large fruits, like peaches, cut the fruit into sections first.
For the best quality, freeze the fruit at the peak of freshness. Frozen fruit can be used in recipes, like smoothies and sauces. You can also thaw the fruit and eat it straight, but keep in mind that freezing might change the texture of the fruit.
Dehydration removes all the moisture from the food while preserving the flavor and nutrients.
Dehydrated fruits make great lunch box snacks and you can also put them in cereal, use them in recipes, or make your own trail mix. You can also puree fruits to make your own fruit leathers with less sugar and preservatives than the store-bought variety.
It is possible to dehydrate fruits in the oven, but that is a long and inexact process, and also heats up your house. The easiest and best way to make dehydrated fruits is with a dehydrator.
You can find good deals on dehydrators at online retailers with Overstock.com coupons. And in the fall months, you can look for an on dehydrators or other kitchen appliances.
No matter which method you choose, cleaning and preserving your fruit makes it last longer. This saves you money, and gives you the chance to enjoy the fruits of summer year-round.