The best way to preserve summer produce

Simple, functional ideas for making sure your wilting produce doesn't inevitably end up in the garbage

Published August 23, 2023 3:00PM (EDT)

Man cutting produce in the kitchen (Getty Images)
Man cutting produce in the kitchen (Getty Images)

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Late summer means preserving all the things, whether you grow your own food like I do at Catbird Cottage, or you're one to fall into reverie, dazzled by the innumerable tables of colorful fruit and veg at the farmers' market. Right now, my daily goals include preserving this bounty as much as possible. I make quick, vinegar, and fermented pickles, bottle up summer sauce and jams, infuse salt, sugar, oils, and vinegars with tender aromatics, and generally work on overdrive so when days are cold and short, I have the bursting bright flavors from warmer days to keep me company. Here are a few tried-and-true methods to capture the seasons, so when cold winter days hit again, you can reap the benefits and enjoy bottled sunshine.



  • Pickled Peaches With Burrata Toasts: Pickling less-than-ripe peaches is a fun way to carry the season forward. Pair them with rich cheeses or meats, and keep a puckery token of summer close at hand.
  • Wheat Berry Salad With Radishes, Feta & Avocado: It doesn't have to be summer to pickle red onions. This pretty pink condiment is universally beloved — and versatile — and takes just minutes to make.
  • Quinoa Bowl With Jammy Eggs & Pickled Shiso: Bright, floral shiso grows abundantly at my Hudson Valley cottage, and a way to manage it wholesale is to make this aromatic, punchy condiment. It pairs excellently with so many things, from eggs to roasted meats, to beans, to noodles.


  • Alex Raij's Mushroom Confit (Setas Confitadas): A boatload of mushrooms becomes lush, meaty fare for your next brunch or lunch, and bonus, the recipe is vegan.
  • Confit Halibut With Tomatoes & Preserved Lemon: Toss together a few summer stars, some punchy aromatics, and a handsome piece of fish and make confit. Its low-lift / high-return combo makes for easy enticement, plus, the leftover infused oil creates the foundation for future stews, rice, and pasta.



  • Overnight Oats With Cherry Compote & Hazelnut Brittle: Got armfuls of fresh berries? Make compote, a rustic preserve that is perfect spooned onto ice cream, spread on toast, to top overnight oats or yogurt, and even stirred into cocktails.
  • Pickled Strawberry Jam: Combine puckery flavors used in pickling and fruity sweetness for a new take on jam. Voilå a surprising, delightful spread you'll want to slather onto everything.

By Melina Hammer

MORE FROM Melina Hammer

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Food Food52 Partner Pickling Recipes Summer Produce