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Making the Most of Summer Produce

Are your produce bins overflowing with fruits and vegetables from the garden or grocery store? Late summer is a great time to buy several types of fresh fruits and vegetables, but inevitably we all end up with some that go past their prime. Here’s how to put them to use — before it’s too late.


When tomatoes start to get wrinkly, halve them and arrange cut-side up on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a low oven for several hours. Remove them when they still have some moisture and flexibility, and use them like classic sun-dried tomatoes or in a sauce.


From veggie loaded quiche to zucchini filled bread, baking is a great way to use up fruits and veggies.


You can drink your fruits and vegetables, too! Combine pureed or juiced fruit with sparkling mineral water for a tasty mocktail. Bananas, especially super-ripe ones, lend a creamy sweetness to smoothies without needing added sugar.


If you have an abundance of herbs like basil, tarragon or chives, all you have to do is chop them up, pack them into ice cube trays, top them with olive oil and freeze. Add the cubes to a sauce for fish or to a winter minestrone.


Pesto is another great way to use up those extra herbs. Once made, pack the pesto into a freezer-safe container and top with a thin layer of olive oil before freezing.


While cucumbers may be the first thing that comes to mind, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try pickling anything you’ve got an abundance of, such as zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green beans, or wax beans.


Don’t be afraid to mix and match – ever had nectarine-raspberry or peach-plum jam? If you’re looking for something with a longer shelf life, try Freezer Jam, which can be made with any summer fruit and stored in the freezer for up to six months.