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5 ways to make summer produce last all year

From stone fruit to berries, zucchini and tomatoes to fresh herbs, the trick with summer produce is using it quickly, as we often only get a month or so of abundance for each harvest. Here's why you don't have to!
5 ways to make summer produce last all year

Summer’s on the way out but our fridges and fruit bowls are still full-to-bursting with glorious produce! From stone fruit to berries, zucchini and tomatoes to fresh herbs, the trick with summer produce is using it quickly, as we often only get a month or so of abundance for each harvest. So, neighbours distributing tubs of tomatoes? Boxed plums cheaper by the dozen? Snap up those specials, because we’ve got plenty of ways for you to make the most of the good stuff while it’s in season…

Zucchini

Because it’s such a hardy vegetable, zucchini is a staple for commercial growers and home gardeners alike. As it’s in such abundant supply at this time of year, we like to put it in everything! Mild in taste and light in colour, zucchini is a great hidden vegetable to add to pasta dishes, soups and curries for a little extra veg intake…

Zucchini Soup (Cookidoo)- a nourishing soup to serve with crusty bread. Freeze extra portions for quick and easy meals down the track.

Zucchini Noodles (Cookidoo) – pasta, but make it zucchini! Tip – serve with passata, recipe below.

Zucchini Fritters (Cookidoo) – these fritters make a great healthy snack, or serve with poached egg for a hearty meal

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Tomatoes

There’s a reason those clever Italians have an annual Passata Day every summer. Do as the Italians do and spend a day making your own homemade passata with juicy, ripe tomatoes. You’ll be thanking yourself for months to come! Plus, it’s a real cost-saver, and who doesn’t love that…

Passata (Recipe Community) – feel free to switch out basil for fresh sage, parsley, or any other herbs you have in the garden. Freeze in portions.

Some other great tomato recipes to try…

Tomato Paste (Cookidoo) – a cooking staple for family meals. Spread on pizza bases or use as base in a pasta sauce.

Spiced Tomato Chutney (Cookidoo) – a flavour-packed condiment to serve with curries, salads, pies and pasties. Make a huge batch and gift jars to friends and family for ultimate brownie points.

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Stone Fruit

The blink-and-you-miss-it season of sweet, juicy stone fruit is so short it ought to be a crime. But for a very short time there’s stone fruit galore, and we know just what to do with it! Make your favourite fruits last all year by preserving as pastes and chutneys or whip into a delectable dessert…

Plum and Cherry Paste – take your cheeseboard game to the next level with this divine preserve.

Ingredients

200 g fresh plums, unpeeled, stones removed and cut into quarters

200 g fresh cherries, pitted

200 g water

20 g lemon juice

300 g raw sugar

Preparation

  1. Line a square cake tin (18 cm) with baking paper and set aside
  2. Place plums, cherries and water into mixing bowl and cook 7 min/100°C/speed 1, then blend 5 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula.
  3. Add lemon juice and sugar and blend 20 sec/speed 4. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl with spatula, then cook 60 min/100°C/speed 3, placing simmering basket instead of measuring cup onto mixing bowl lid.
  4. Check to see if paste has set. If not, cook for a further 10 min/100°C/speed 3, placing simmering basket instead of measuring cup onto mixing bowl lid.
  5. Pour into prepared baking tin and allow to cool to room temperature (approx. 2 hours), then place into refrigerator to set for a minimum 2 hours.

Mango Ginger and Chilli Chutney – Keen on that box of mangos but worried you can’t eat them all in time? Use the rest to make this fruity chutney with a chilli kick. Amazing with curries.

Stone Fruit Galettes – an elegant French-inspired dessert best enjoyed with a dollop of thick cream or your favourite vanilla ice cream.

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Berries

Making jam is a great way to preserve the flavour of summer berries…

Berry Jam (Cookidoo) – this classic recipe will work for all berries, mixed or not.

Chia Berry Jam (Cookidoo) – this jam is perfect for anyone watching their sugar intake as the chia seeds help to thicken the jam naturally.

If you’ve managed to score a bounty of berries you can also freeze them by freezing in a single layer and then transferring into containers or zip lock bags for smoothies. Or, for an adults-only treat, try our Berry Liqueur (Cookidoo) … cheers!

Chillies

By mid-summer most gardeners are left with a glut of chillies from overflowing plants. If that’s you, or if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, here are our top 3 chilli picks…

Sweet Chilli Sauce (Cookidoo) – stir through stir fries or use as dipping sauce.

Chilli Oil (Cookidoo) – a pantry staple to add some kick to your cooking. Much cheaper to make your own!

Chilli and Apple Jelly (Cookidoo)- a grown up take on a childhood classic, this cool, sweet jelly has a bit of zing!

Chillies also freeze well to be thrown in curries and sauces. Another handy tip is to chop up your chillies and store in rice wine vinegar, so you have them on hand to throw into stir fries or to add spice to salads and dressings.

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By making the most of produce that’s in season, affordable and abundant you can enjoy delicious, sweet summer produce year-round at a fraction of the price. Happy cooking!