By Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension

Farmers markets are in full swing, and gardeners are beginning their harvest. It is time to start preserving the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season.

Freezing is one of the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming ways of preserving fresh fruit and vegetables for later use.

The cold stops the growth of microorganisms and slows down changes that spoil food and affect food quality.

First, select fresh, firm fruit or vegetables that are free of damage. Freeze them within a few hours of harvest if possible.

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Did you know some vegetables freeze better than others? For example, thawed cabbage, celery, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley and radishes are limp and water-logged, and quickly develop an oxidized color, aroma and flavor.

Did you also know that some fruits, such as peaches, apricots, pears and apples, darken quickly when exposed to air and can darken when thawed? Adding ascorbic acid will prevent that discoloration.

To learn more about freezing and other food preservation methods, you can attend free online food preservation workshops being hosted by NDSU Extension-Stutsman County agent Christina Rittenbach.

Starting in August, four online workshops will be offered. This event is online only; there will not be an in-person component. All workshops will be held from 12:00 – 1:00 PM on their respective days.

  • Aug. 11 – Freezing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  • Aug. 18 – Preserving Jams and Jellies

  • Aug. 25 – Preserving Salsa

  • Sept. 1 – Preserving Pickles

Preregistration is required and will allow you to get the link for the workshop. You can register for any or all workshops on the Stutsman County Extension website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/stutsmancountyextension

For additional information about freezing fruits and vegetables or other food preservation methods, you can contact Rittenbach at (701) 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ndsu.edu or visit the North Dakota State University Extension website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.