Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Preserving the harvest can seem daunting and overwhelming to someone preparing to try it for the first time. There are certainly routes for preservation that are intensive and laborious. But some methods take less time, know-how, and have fewer steps. Stock up on fruits and veggies that are great for preserving at area farmers tailgate markets.
Pickling is perfect for preserving your produce. Either lacto-ferment (using sea salt and water) or use a vinegar brine. You can pickle almost anything: cucumbers, green beans, carrots, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, and more! Try making a fermented pepper relish or hot sauce utilizing summer’s selection of hot peppers. Or, experiment with an Appalachian chow-chow, a relish made with green tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, and onions.
For fruit, dehydrating or freezing can both be quite manageable. You can purchase a dehydrator for a fairly affordable price these days. For some fruit, you can place it, as is, on the dehydrator overnight, while for others you may need to slice first. If you’re feeling more ambitious, try blending fruit to make fruit-leathers (dried, blended, and flattened fruit, much like a fruit roll-up). Dehydrated fruit is great for taking on road trips and hikes, any time you need a quick snack. Or, add to yogurt and cereal on winter mornings to have a taste of summer all year long.
Some types of fruit (such as peaches) need to be blanched before freezing, while for others (such as blackberries and blueberries) you can skip this step. Then place fruit on wax paper over a tray to freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags to store. Frozen fruit makes great baked desserts in the middle of winter. Or, for a quicker treat, defrost them and eat atop ice cream.
Farmers have been preserving their harvests for generations. They’re amazing stores of knowledge for methods, recipes, tips, and more! Ask the farmers you shop from at market about their favorite ways to keep things over the winter. Last week, Sarah of Root Bottom Farm, won the West Asheville Tailgate Market’s jam contest for her “Bear’s Jam” made with three types of berries. Farmers often spend their days off canning, freezing, drying, and pickling for themselves and their families. It makes a cold, snowy day in winter feel like summer when you can defrost some berries to make a sweet, warm pie. Trust us, your winter selves will thank you.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. Find out where farmers tailgate markets are on which days. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting our online Local Food Guide.

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