Preserving Produce: How to Can, Freeze and Dry Your Favorite Foods

August 4, 2015 2 Comments | Disclosure


Enjoy Fresh Produce Throughout the Year!

Preserving fresh produce can save you quite a bit of money as you add up the cost of dried fruits and other foods sold in store. Below you’ll find tips, tricks, and advice for preserving foods, as well as great recipes to inspire you throughout the process! Get started now and check out our favorites below!
How to Save Money on Produce
My biggest and most frugal tip is preserve your food when fresh produce is in season! Blueberries on sale? Buy them by the flat and freeze them for later! Tomatoes heavy on the vine? Make sauces or stewed tomatoes. The nice thing about going by what is in season is that it does not all hit at once. You’ll be steadily busy, but it can be done as each fruit or veggie is ripe for the pickin’!
  • At the grocery store:
    • Use the Ad: Each grocery store puts their produce on sale each week. Use the front and back side of the ad as your guide when looking for produce deals. The stores tend to put the best deals on the front and back cover of the ad.
    • Know your Price Points: I have certain price points on produce that I wait for before I buy on a weekly basis, but especially when I buy in bulk. I do not like to pay more than $2/lb for strawberries and I stock up when they are $1.50/lb or less.  I wait for peaches, nectarines, pears and apples to be less than $0.99/lb. Get access to our full price point guide.
    • Talk to your Store: It is always a good idea to talk with the produce or grocery manager at your local store to see if they have any produce they are getting ready to discount. You can call ahead or just ask for them while shopping. Creating a good relationship with your store can open you up to possibilities of knowing about discounts that over shoppers will never know about.
  • Local Farms & Fruit Stands: Go visit fruit & veggies stands or look for roadside stands. I just bought a baker’s dozen of the most amazing corn on the cob from a little stand set up by a local family for $5. I am headed back tomorrow to get more and freeze it for later – it was THAT good! Outside of Boise we have access to farms in  areas like Weiser and Marsing where you can buy apples, pears, peaches ect in bulk straight from the farm. Some farms allow you to come pick yourself for an even deeper discount.
  • Grow a Garden and Fruit Trees: This is my favorite way to save on produce. We have our own fruit trees and we grow a garden every year. This is a great way to get a lot of good fruit and vegetables. Check out our gardening tips.
  • Network with Neighbors: Talk to your neighbors and trade some of your harvest. Last year I traded apricots for apples with one of our neighbors. I also traded tomatoes for pickling cucumbers with another neighbor. If you have enough of an interest, you could even coordinate crops so you can trade unique crops back and forth.

When you get a good deal on produce you save even more money if you preserve it. Why? Because you find ways to use it all and you keep from paying full price the next time you want to enjoy that produce. There are several ways to preserve produce and these are my three favorite; freezing, canning and dehydrating. I have the tools and the skills for each of these fabulous methods.



Freezing produce is the best preservation method for keeping the most nutrients in your food. Freezing produce is so easy! I have been doing it several years. In the last few years I discovered that with a foodsaver your food lasts much longer and avoids freezer burn. Preserve some of your favorite summer produce with this easy method and enjoy it all year long!

I love my foodsaver! <– This is the highest rated, best prices model on amazon. 

foodsaver vacuum sealer 2200 series
Freezing Tips:
  • A full freezer uses the least amount of power; if your freezer isn’t full, fill cartons or jugs with water to keep it full.
    • *Bonus: You canput these right out and have ice ready to go for the coolers when camping. Add 1/4 cup of salt per 1/2 gallon and the jug of ice will stay frozen for up to 3 days!*
  • One of the MOST IMPORTANT tips.  Spread out the product in a single layer on cookie sheets and freeze; THEN package.  Try to package in the amount you would use for one meal; THEN package all the smaller packages together in a gallon or 2-gallon ziplock bag, to avoid losing them in your freezer.  LABEL the large bag, (Amazing how hard it is to identify something green after its frozen.)  When I store I place large bags on top of each other with the “zipper” edge to the front.  I can open it without disturbing the ones above or below, and get out one (or more) packages.
  • I generally do NOT dice or chop too finely, as the edges tend to dry out in freezer if pieces are very small.  “Spears” or pieces no narrower than your thumb usually are best.  Purees will also freeze well.

Freezing Produce How-to’s:

Freezer Jam – Freezer jam is so easy to make. No cooking or hot stove involved. Jam is a wonderful way to preserve your produce. Your family will thank you for it. Plus it tastes so much better that the store bought jam! Check out our freezer jam recipes…


Canning Produce – Whenyou can foods they can last for years on your shelf and you do not have to worry about the power going out and your freezer thawing. If you know someone who has experience in canning we recommend spending some time learning from them, but if you are wanting to get started right away you can learn more from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving book. When you can your own food you will NOT be disappointed – there’s nothing like enjoying delicious home canned food throughout the year!

Canned Jam – Canning Jam takes more time and patience, but it can last much longer than freezer jam and does not take up freezer space.

Stove for canning:

The first time I canned peaches I ruined my burner on my electric stove. Then we moved to a house with a glass top stove and canning is not recommended on a glass stove. If you do not have a gas stove I would recommend getting a two-burner propane stove to use outside. The propane stove is great to have for emergency use and for camping. This camp chef propane stove <— is well priced and highly rated on amazon.



Drying produce is another fantastic way to preserve a bountiful harvest. Drying pears, apples, cherries, and berries for fruit roll ups can be taken easily as snacks, orare also great for road trips!

Here are some of our favorite food dehydrating recipes.

I love My Dehydrator-

dehydrator fruit leather

This is the dehydrator I have. I love my dehydrator.  I Like it because you can dry fruits on it and make fruit leathers on it. You can also add more trays to it or work with less. It is also well priced and highly rated.

Smoothies & Popsicles

Smoothie packs

My family loves fruit smoothies. All you need is a little juice, some fruit, a sweetener and ice! Popsicles are also an ideal way to keep everyone cooled off through the cot temps in the summer!


If you liked these ideas be sure to {Pin This} post for later! ^^^^^


  1. I made almost 40 jars of pomegranate jelly. Remeber those $1 off POM juice coupons a while back :) Safeway had the small bottles for 99cents. I practically made it for free. Biggest cost jars. I posted on my facebook to my friends that I was looking for jars. They ended up bring me more than enough. some even bought me a case and they left with a few jars of jelly.

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