With the final harvests of fruits and veggies quickly approaching, it’s easy to feel down about winter’s lack of fresh, local produce. Preserve your favorites by experimenting with the age-old tradition of canning. We compiled one sweet and one savory recipe to inspire your canning projects. As one of our favorite bumper sticker says, “I eat because I can.” Amen. ~ Ashley Owen/Moonshine Ink

Lacto-Fermented Pickles

If you love pickles, have you ever tried making your own? It’s relatively simple to create a batch of homemade lacto-fermented pickles with a few ingredients you may already have on hand. You can use cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, green beans, and basically any firm veggie you like, and you can add or omit herbs and spices to your tastes. It’s a recipe to have fun with, not fret about. Lacto-fermented vegetables become an extra healthy food since they are chock full of probiotics, way more than you can get by popping a probiotic pill. ~ Kelley Maresca/Sunshine Organic

Herbals Ingredients:

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1/2 gallon mason jar, sanitized (dishwasher does this perfectly)

4 cucumbers, sliced

1 cup baby carrots

1 cup cauliflower florets

1/4 cup garlic cloves

1/2 cup dried dill (if fresh, increase amount)

1/2 cup pickling seasoning (usually a blend of mustard seeds, peppercorns, chili flakes, dill seed, and celery seed)

A couple of fresh horseradish or fresh grape leaves (optional, adds crunch)

Spring water to cover veggies

5 Tbsp sea salt

Directions:

Clean the veggies and add veggies, herbs, and spices to mason jar. Mix salt into water until dissolved and pour mixture over veggies, ensuring that they are submerged. Cover jar and allow to sit at room temperature for three days, or longer according to taste.

Lavender Plum Jam

I first started canning while working as an artisan baker in Santa Cruz. We made our jam from local fruits to feature in our winter pastries when fresh fruit was scarce. I’ve since experimented with tomatoes, pickles, green beans, and many fruits. When you can seasonally, you’re preserving the flavors of fruits and vegetables at their peak. There is nothing sweeter than tasting a homemade summer jam on a cold winter day. ~ Jessie Phillips/chapter leader, Slow Food Lake Tahoe

Ingredients:

7 lbs of plums and/or pluots

6 cups organic sugar

1 cup lemon juice

2 tsp lavender

Directions:

I’ve always experimented while canning, so these measurements are approximations. If you want a sweeter jam, add more sugar or cut part of the lemon juice.

Place lavender flowers in cheesecloth and tie to secure. Cut plums/pluots over a bowl to catch the juices, and put pits in separate bowl. Toss sliced plums with sugar and let sit for at least four hours. Place plum mixture in large pot, adding pits, lemon juice, and lavender sachet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and watch while it cooks down and thickens. Mixture should reach around 220 degrees. To test if it’s done, perform the spoon test: at the beginning of cooking, stash a couple saucers in your freezer, then when you think the jam is ready, spoon a small amount of jam on a chilled plate and if it forms a surface skin, it’s ready. Once desired texture is reached, strain out skins as you fill jars with the jam, leaving at least 1/4-inch of headspace, and process in water bath.

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