When July and August roll around, you might ask yourself why you planted so many tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and green beans. You can only give so much of your luscious fresh produce away to neighbors or friends at the office, but you can store much of it for future use. Just as our ancestors grew food in the summer and put it away for the long, lean winter, you too can pickle, freeze, preserve and make jams and jellies from your garden's bounty.
Store root vegetables such as onions and garlic in a cool, dry place such as a root cellar. Rinse all dirt from root crops, allow them to dry at room temperature for several hours, and then place them into brown paper bags. They should last all winter.
Make pickles from cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, green tomatoes, celery, squash, peppers, green beans and anything else that strikes your fancy. For six quarts of pickles, heat three cups of apple cider vinegar to boiling and then add 2/3 cup salt and six cups water. Slice your vegetables into the shape you want and pack them into sterilized jars. Then fill with the hot vinegar brine and seal with sterilized two-part canning lids.
Freeze fruit and some vegetables. Peel and de-seed fruit and then mash or food process to a puree. You needn't remove seeds from tomatoes. Pack your processed fruit or vegetable into freezer-safe containers or plastic zipper bags and then enjoy your harvest up to one year after storing it.
Preserve many fruits and vegetables by canning them in Mason jars. Select ripe, unbruised fruit and cut it to the shape you want. Pack into sterilized jars, cap with sterilized canning lids and then process in a hot water bath for the correct amount of time for the particular vegetable or fruit.
Make jam or jelly with your fruit and some vegetables, such as hot peppers for the popular Jalapeno jelly. You'll need lots of fresh fruit, pectin, sugar, a large pot, a canning kettle, jars and lids. Many recipes exist---see Resources for general instructions on making jam and jelly.