7 Ways to Make Your Fall Farmer’s Market Haul Last

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

One of the best things about fall is the produce. Seriously, they don’t call it “pumpkin season” for nothing! But like all good things, autumn and its delicious bounty must eventually come to an end. Right? Well, what would you say if we told you that it doesn’t have to?

Woman holding basket of fall produce at the farmer's market | Vitacost.com/Blog

We’ve uncovered some simple ways to extend the life of your fall farmer’s market finds into winter and beyond. If you consider the following methods, you can enjoy this year’s harvest right up until the next one!

1. Freeze your veggies!

Frozen vegetables are not only perfect for preparing quick weeknight meals—they’re an easy way to amp up your nutrition. Chop and blanch your carrots, broccoli, squash and sweet potatoes prior to popping them into your freezer. Forget about the frozen produce at your grocery store—you’ve got it covered!

2. Make homemade jam

Take fabulous fall flavors to the next level—and into the next season. There are many easy online tutorials for making your own such as this cranberry chia seed jam recipe. With just a little research, your favorite seasonal fruits and a few other ingredients (e.g., sugar, lemon juice), you’ll be getting your jam on long after the fruit trees have shed their last leaves of the season. Tip: Store jam in mason jars and wrap with twine and a label for a thoughtful, homemade hostess gift for holiday get-togethers.

3. Pickle your produce

Have a penchant for pickles? Well, pickling isn’t just for cucumbers anymore. Veggies like peppers, beets and radishes really shine with a little brine. It’s a simple way to stretch the shelf life of your fall farmer’s market fare!

4. Make your own broth

Homemade veggie broth is a wonderful vessel for turnip greens, carrot tops and other fall ingredients that might otherwise be discarded. Make several batches of broth to impress your family and friends and store leftovers in the freezer for future use in soups, stews and even pasta.

5. Dehydrate fruits and veggies

Dried produce make a convenient, healthy snack. Think apple chips, sweet potato chips and dried cranberries—and that’s just for starters. Of course, you’ll need access to a food dehydrator if you decide to go this route, but imagine all the fun you’ll having preparing flavorful fall finger foods that don’t contain a bunch of added ingredients and preservatives.

6. Bake chips at home

No dehydrator? No problem! Beets, parsnips, potatoes, turnips and kale can be easily made into crispy chips. Just slice these veggies and others into thin strips and bake them in the oven until crunchy. There are countless online recipes, like this one for gluten-free cinnamon parsnip crisps, to aid in this task, so get ready to savor the seasonal flavor!

7. Blend your bounty

Smoothies and summer go hand-in-hand. But fresh fall ingredients make delicious blended beverages, too. Vegan pumpkin spice smoothie, anyone? Whip up several batches of fall-flavored shakes (try any of these 5 apple and cinnamon smoothie combos—yum!), pour them into single-serving bags and store them in the freezer. Defrost and enjoy whenever you want to capture that fabulous fall feeling!