Gardeners are reaping the benefits of their labor by the bushelful about now. And, if you don’t have a garden yourself, the farmers and vendors at local farmers markets and produce stands are happy to share the fruits of their labor with you. A visit to the farmers market in my area yielded perfect zucchini — smallish and dark, with no unbroken skin, and gorgeous pole beans that were firm (making them really good for “snapping” later) and blemish free. This is the time of the year to brush up on your canning skills (or acquire them) and be reminded about the proper way to prepare vegetables for freezing. In my home state of South Carolina, excellent information on both safe canning and freezing comes via the Home and Garden Information Center, Clemson Cooperative Extension, at http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/preservation. The National Center of Preservation maintains an outstanding one, too, at http://nchfp.uga.edu. If you’ve got a surplus of garden-fresh summer vegetables, preserve them now for a time when just-picked veges are no longer easy to unearth — come November, trust me, you’ll be thankful you did.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.