Summer is in full swing this week — all of the berries are in season and the smell of grilling is in the air.
Are you so excited about summer and the holiday that you never want it to end? Preserving the summer harvest is a great way to bring the season with you into fall and winter — and now is the time to get to it! Visit area farmers tailgate markets to get all the goods you need to keep the grilling going and start preserving.
Farmers such as Dry Ridge Farm (Asheville City Market, River Arts District Farmers Market, and West Asheville Tailgate Market) have ground beef for burgers, and Hickory Nut Gap Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market) have hot dogs for grilling. And vegetable farmers across the region have potatoes and onions for homemade potato salad, and so many veggies perfect for slicing thickly and throwing straight on the grill.
If pickling is your preservation preference, pick up cucumbers, beans, and beets this week. Each of these are classic vegetables for pickling and make wonderful snacks!
Fascinated by fermentation? Cabbage (including napa cabbage), turnips, and carrots are all available now to fuel your ferments, such as kraut and kimchi. Napa cabbage is the traditional cabbage for making kimchi.
What’s the difference between pickling and fermenting? Picking is the process of preserving with vinegar and fermenting uses only sea salt (and sometimes water depending on the vegetable). And they each yield different flavors — pickling has a distinctly vinegar flavor, while fermenting usually has a sharper, more sour flavor.
Would you rather freeze your fine summer fare? Berries and peaches are great frozen. It’s best practice to lay them on a baking sheet in the freezer until they’re frozen through, and then transfer them to a freezer bag, plastic container, or mason jar for long-term freezing.
Other fruits and veggies are spectacular for preserving but aren’t yet in season, such as apricots, heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, collard greens, and more!
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.
(Prepared by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.)