A true sign of summer is a fresh bowl of fruit sitting on your counter. The fruits you buy at the grocery store, especially in winter that have traveled many miles will have less appeal than fresh local fruit. The flavors and the smells will enrich you taste buds if they come straight from your garden (or local farmer). There’s nothing more refreshing than fresh fruit in the summer and add it to a tall glass of ice tea with mint and you’ll be especially delighted (even better when using frozen fruit). As with any fruit tree you’ll have more than you can eat before they spoil. The key is preservation, and deciding what option to use. If you have a time crunch drying or freezing are both great ideas. Nevertheless, drying can take a long time depending on the moisture content of the fruit. So be sure to use a timer if you think they’ll be ready in the middle of the night!

By the time end of summer or early fall our gardens are full of plums, peaches, pears, apples, and blackberries just to name a few. All you need is to add a few spices to make these outstanding combinations of fruit leather, jams, jellies or pies. If you don’t know where to start take a look at Ball for recipes. As pioneers of the canning industry Ball and Kerr have a wealth of information to check out.

A fresh juicy peach is a delicious complement to any fruit dish and they all have excellent flavor. To narrow it down choose between clingstone, freestone or semi-freestone.

  • Freestone peaches: flesh that easily comes away from the stone
  • Clingstone peaches: flesh that hugs tightly to the stone
  • Semi-freestone peaches: a hybrid of freestone and clingstone peaches

Fresh Popsicles
Makes 4 popsicles (depends on size of your sleeve)

  • 2-3 fresh peaches
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup almond/soymilk milk
  • dash of cinnamon and nutmeg

Cut the stones out of the peaches. Blend all ingredients until the consistency of a smoothie and freeze for several hours (overnight is best) *if you like them sweeter you can add a 1 tablespoon of maple syrup but typically the natural sugars on fresh fruit is enough to satisfy your taste buds.

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist