PRESERVING YOUR ARIZONA-GROWN PRODUCE: TIPS AND RECIPES

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There are tons of delicious fruits and vegetables in season right now at farmers markets across Arizona, and with a few tips and tricks, you can enjoy these summer flavors all year long! Double Up on all of your favorite summer produce, and enjoy it later with the help of these preserving recipes and tips:

PICKLING

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Pickling is much easier than it sounds, and can help you enjoy delicious summer produce well into the winter and spring seasons. Follow these simple steps to preserve your favorite veggies: 

Step 1: Prepare your pickling jars. Pick jars with a wide mouth -- mason jars work the best. Wash them and allow them to dry completely.
Step 2: Prepare your vegetables. Peel items like carrots, trim the ends of beans or root veggies, and cut vegetables into desired shapes and sizes. 
Step 3: Add the flavorings. Create a flavor explosion with your favorite blend of spices, garlic, and herbs. 
Step 4: Add the vegetables. Try to pack as many veggies in as possible without crushing them, and leave about a half-inch space between the vegetables and the top of the jar. 
Step 5: Make the pickling liquid. Combine vinegar (1 cup), water (1 cup), salt (1 tablespoon pickling or kosher salt), and sugar (optional, 1 tablespoon if using) in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar until there is about a half-inch of space left on the top. You might not use all the brine.
Step 6: Remove air bubbles. Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if necessary.
Step 7: Seal the jars. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Step 8: Cool and refrigerate. Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickled vegetables in the refrigerator. The veggies will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.

Tips:
- Mix cauliflower, carrots, garlic, onions, green beans and jalapeños for a spicy vegetable mix. 
- Add dill to your cucumber mix for a classic dill pickle flavor. 
- Double Up on your red onions -- once pickled, they are a vibrant way to spice up any dish!

JAM OUT! 

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From strawberries to peaches, summer fruits pack a bright and delicious punch. If you find yourself craving these flavorful treats after their seasons have come and gone, Double Up on your favorites now and use this jam recipe to enjoy them later:

Step 1: Put 1 pound of fruit (pitted and chopped if necessary) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Step 2: After a minute or so, add 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste), additional desired seasonings to taste, and 2 tablespoons of juice, vinegar, or whatever liquid you prefer.
Step 3: Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily, using higher heat if the mixture looks too soupy. Lower the heat if it seems dry. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick (usually about 10 to 30 minutes). Cool completely and refrigerate. The jam will thicken more as it cools.
Step 4: Store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least a week. If necessary, remove any seasonings (like lemon-grass stalks) before serving.

Tips:
- Combine fruits such as strawberries and peaches for bright flavor combos!
- Add herbs for a more unique flavor, such as lemongrass, thyme or basil.

Try your pickled veggies on a sandwich, with tacos, or as a snack, and use your jams on toast, pancakes, or anything else that needs a splash of summer. Get creative, and ask the local farmers at your market about their favorite preserving recipes and tips. 

Finding unique ways to use your Double Up produce can be easy with of all the delicious produce varieties Arizona has to offer. Stay tuned to our blog each week for new tips, stories, and more!