Whether they're great summer values, especially easy to prep or just decidedly delicious this time of year, some fruits and vegetables are particularly great to preserve. Try our picks:
What to make: Jame, jelly, pie filling
If you want speedy prep, blueberries are the way to go. All they require is a rinse and a few minutes spent checking for stems. Better yet, you'll be set for the holiday season: A jar of homemade blueberry jelly is an inexpensive, thoughtful gift.
What to make: Pickles, relish
Converting cucumbers to be pickles is a great project for first-timers (no watching out for the gel stage!). Snatch up the Kirby variety of cucumber when you see them: petite, mild and with very few seeds, they make perfect pickles.
Blackberries and Raspberries
What to make: Jam, jelly
It's easy to go overboard when buying these jewel-like fruits. In summer, they can cost up to $6 a pound less than they do in the off-season. Still, these goodies don't last long, and when you make your own jam, you'll lock in the flavor—without any corn syrup, which is a common ingredient in commercially available varieties.
What to make: Pickles, hot sauce
Chili pepper plants produce a lot of fruit. And unlike, say, zucchini, it's hard to pack many into one meal. Even if you buy chiles from the market, they're worth pickling. You can enjoy their summer heat—as well as a variety of flavors and colors—year-round.
What to make: Apple butter, applesauce, pie filling
During apple season, you can buy a lot for a little—especially if you opt for seconds, or slightly bruised apples. Experiment with different preparations, spices and varieties.