12 ways to preserve the August harvest (without canning)

I keep telling myself that September is going to be my big canning month, and it very well might be; I can’t say no to the bushels of tomatoes and crisp new apples beckoning at the markets during the fall.

So far, I’ve pickled a few jars of asparagus and made my usual strawberry honey jam, there was a batch of sweet relish, too, but I am not regularly turning my kitchen upside down with mega home canning projects. Oh, the cookbook is taking care of keeping us in dirty dishes just fine, thank you very much.

That said, I am still preserving the beautiful summer produce here and there, by freezing, roasting, packing in oil and drying. These are just some of the options to saving the season.

12 ways to preserve the August harvest (without canning)

Today I’m sharing some alternative to hot water canning in hopes that they will inspire a weekend project or two.

whipped raspberry butter on simplebites.net

1. Whipped Raspberry Honey Butter

You can make this beautiful breakfast spread with any berry, really. I currently have both blueberry and raspberry butters stashed in the freezer.

strawberry lemonaid concentrate

2. Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

We just made a few jars to freeze yesterday, as the local berries are benefitting from our cool summer weather. You can use limes or lemons interchangeably in this recipe.

Lacto-fermented pickles

3. Brine Fermented Pickles

These are old-fashioned brined lacto-fermented pickles, and are super easy to make in any batch size you wish.

broccoli for freezing

4. Frozen broccoli packages

It’s one of my children’s favourite vegetables, so I do try to freeze some in the peak of summer to add to soups, stir-fries, and winter pizza.

roasted strawberries

5. Roasted Strawberries

I made these in mass amounts this year, then packed them into Bernardin freezer jam containers and stashed them in the freezer for this winter.

drying herbs

6. Drying and freezing fresh herbs

I do these in small batches, or else it takes too much time. If I’m washing a bunch of parsley for dinner, I’ll prep some to dry overnight as well.

Updated post: How to Use and Preserve Summer Herbs.

corn cutting

7. Frozen Corn

First use these tips for cutting corn easily off the cob, then freeze your sweet corn with these directions.

roasted cherry tomatoes

8. Slow roasted tomatoes packed in oil

A favorite pizza topping come January! Roast as per directions, then pack into small jars and cover with olive oil. Freeze for up to 6 months.

roasted tomato sauce

9. Tomato Herb Sauce for Freezing

A family staple, particularly handy when you need a quick dinner.

DIY stir fry frozen vegetables

10. Stir-fry Vegetable Freezer Packages

A quick blanch, a chill and these colorful summer vegetables are ready to be frozen for the winter. We like them in soups and stir-fries, as well as our favourite slow-cooker meal, Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables.

Herb Compound Butter on Simplebites.net

11. Herb Compound Butter

Minced parsley and dill get incorporated into butter, wrapped and stashed in the freezer to serve many different uses later in the year.


12. Slow-Cooker Ketchup

Go ahead and simmer that ketchup, then cool completely, portion in clean jars, leaving plenty of headspace, and freeze to preserve.

Now, if you are packing away some of this goodness into a chest freezer, you’ll want to be sure that handy appliance is running in top condition. Contributor and engineer-in-residence Danny has expert advice on How to Keep Your Freezer Cold. Be sure to read it before commencing to ‘put up’ the entire garden.

Happy preserving!

Do you have any suggestions to add?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I love this post! Such great tips. I can’t wait to try the roasted strawberries as well as the roasted cherry tomatoes. Both are still abundant at the farmer’s markets in our area (Halifax, NS).

    • I have to say, roasted strawberries are my favorite. I roasted both strawberries and blueberries this summer, then froze them in their own juices. I’m almost eager for winter so we can enjoy them. 😉

  2. These are all such amazing ideas! I am surely going to be trying a few!

  3. I love the alternatives to canning you’ve presented. I haven’t canned for a couple of years because my grandmother scared me by telling me all about botulism and how I could poison my baby. 🙁 I know its a little silly, but I think about it every time I look at my canning jars now. I’m trying to get the courage to do it again, but for now I think these recipes will help me ease back in to preserving.

  4. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says

    Whipped raspberry butter!?! Don’t mind if I go make some right now because that sounds delicious.

  5. Great tips! I always like to save some of summer for those long winter days!

  6. ok, these are way super smart tips. i haven’t gotten into canning yet so these alternatives are wonderful!

  7. You read my mind with this post! I’m making a list of what I want to do preserving-wise and this gives some great ideas to work with. The blueberry u-pick just opened down the road and blueberry butter sounds like the perfect thing to make with those berries.

  8. I love this list of ideas to preserve!! Noted and bookmarked!

  9. Yum! I just helped my SIL halve and flash freeze two cases of organic Niagara peaches that all ripened at the same time, naturally. As we were working away, my 11-yo son wandered into the kitchen and quipped, “Two women in a kitchen can do ANYTHING!” (Ha! Little does he know!) My mum makes herb ‘pucks’ in her ice cube trays out of a melange of herbs whizzed with a bit of mild-tasting olive oil. Pop them out of the tray and into a freezer bag and add them to soups throughout the winter.

  10. Slow roasted tomatoes and compound butter are some of my favorites! Also, veggie stock!

  11. This is great Aimee!

  12. this is seriously a brilliant post! I totally appreciate each and every one of these suggestions – especially because I never have canned before and it totally makes me nervous. Thank you!

  13. I am so excited about trying these suggestions! Things have been pretty crazy for us, and I am not going to be able to squeeze in a canning session, but we have a fantastic selection of fresh fruit & veg in our fridge at the moment. I also have some beautiful sweet corn that my aunt brought me from Indiana last week – will definitely be preserving some of it for the fall! Many thanks for the excellent post.

  14. Aimée,
    Great ideas in this post! I’ve got some cranberry butter put up for the harvest dinners (cleaning out the freezer from last year’s cranberries) and every freezer in the kitchen got defrosted last week, but I think I’m going to can some crushed tomatoes tomorrow. I like how utilitarian a jar of crushed tomatoes is, and I’m just ready to get going with all the lovely tomatoes on the counter. I’ve slow roasted some, and put up fresh tomato pesto with others, but I think I’m just ready.

  15. I see currants in your header pic – did I miss a recipe or preserving idea for them? There have been an abundance at our farmer’s markets this year and I really want to try something with them.

  16. Great ideas! Love the sound of the fermented pickles! And the tip for freezing corn!

  17. Very smart & tasty ideas 🙂

  18. Great list! I’ve got the marinara in the freezer, preserved lemons and roasted tomatoes in the frig.

    I’d like to share the idea of roasting and storing whole peppers in the freezer. I do this with Hatch Chiles since their season is very short. It’s easy: Pick (or buy) the peppers, wash and dry, roast, steam, cool completely, store whole peppers in freezer containers for up to a year!

  19. Great list, Aimee! Will definitely be trying a couple of these!

  20. Thanks, Aimee, these are great tips! I think a batch of that raspberry honey butter is on my agenda for this week 🙂

    I’ve also been stocking the freezer, but not doing much canning- I roasted hatch chiles and cherry tomatoes this past weekend, but my freezer is already starting to fill up!

    I know I need to do a batch of dilly beans and a batch of kosher-ish dill pickles, but I feel like I’ve still got so much time (even though August is almost over!) Labor day weekend is usually my big tomato push – 100 lbs last year, oy. I suppose after that I’ll have time for the pickles, but then we’ll go apple picking at some point and I’ll need to do apple butter. Luckily I made WAY too much jam last summer so I can cool it a little bit and just make a few small batches of my favorites.

    Looking forward to seeing your book, by the way 🙂

  21. You have some great ideas here. I’m especially excited about the stir-fry packets!

  22. Oh, these are wonderful ideas 🙂 and they all look so delicious!

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