Let's jam: your family guide to picking and preserving summer fruits!

Ever wish that you could put a little bit of summer in a jar? Turns out you can. Here's our guide to baking, freezing and preserving produce—so that your family can enjoy a taste of summer any time of year.

August is a magical month because so many sweet summer harvests overlap at this point. Apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines are all at their peak. Apples and Asian pears start coming into season. And strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are still available for picking and enjoying, despite the summer heat. You can find more info on what’s in season and available to pick with this helpful tool from Pick Your Own—and you can find out more about locally grown food with our Spotlight on Farmers

It's a lot of fun for kids to have the chance to pick their own fruits, and many BC family farms are beginning to open up again—for details on which farms are open to visitors again, use BC Farm Fresh's farm finder. For kids who enjoy bike rides, try these self-guided Circle Farm Tours. And if you can't get to a farm, don't worry—the produce aisle in your closest grocery store will also have lots of locally grown fruit for you to try. 

Once you get all this delicious fruit home, it’s time to preserve some of it! Here are three easy ways to make the most of your summer harvest.

Cook with it: Check out our recipe finder for all kinds of ideas—just enter your favourite fruit in the search box for lots of recipe ideas. Some of our favourites are raspberry pancakes and blueberry frozen yogurt popsicles (yum) -- and apple pie is a classic late-summer recipe for a reason. 

Freeze it: To prepare your fruit for freezing, just wash it and pat it dry. For stone fruit, remove the pits and slice, placing on a cookie sheet for a few hours to freeze it before transferring it to a freezer-safe bag or jar. For berries, just wash, dry and freeze on a cookie sheet. 

Preserve it: Turn your fruit into jams and butters (and your veggies into pickles!). Our friends at We Heart Local BC have an excellent how-to guide for making preserves from stone fruit here and cooking with berries here. Over at BC Tree Fruits, they have a detailed guide for canning all kinds of other fruits, plus recipes for jam. And here are some easy recipes from our community to get you started!

What are your favourite ways to use up summer fruit? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram, where you’ll also find more activity and meal ideas. 

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