ARTICLE / KITCHEN TIPS

Winter is Coming! Delicious Ways to Preserve Fall Flavors

Preserve the last vestiges of fall with these blender-friendly recipes that will keep you stocked through the long winter. Sponsored by the new KitchenAid® K400 Blender.

Sponsored by KitchenAid and the new KitchenAid® K400 blender.

My grandmother had a backyard with grapevines that grew along the fence. Every fall, when the grapes reached their peak and weighed heavy on the branches, she’d gather them in pails and bring them into the kitchen to make jam.

I can still remember the amazing flavor of that grape jam, and nothing — absolutely no jam I’ve ever had, not even elegant confiture from Fauchon in Paris — has tasted as good.

It’s not just nostalgia. You can see the difference for yourself when you try your own hand at preserving. And while my grandmother made her jam with an old-fashioned, hand-cranked food mill, these recipes for preserving a variety of foods make it so much easier with a blender.

Two-Berry Freezer Jam

Freezer jam is a lot simpler than the wax-sealed jam my grandmother made, and it does an amazing job of maintaining the color and flavor of fresh fruit — in this case, blender-pureed blackberries and strained fresh raspberries. The only other ingredients are lemon juice, sugar, and salt, as well as pectin, a natural fruit extract used as a thickener. The jam will keep for about a year in the freezer, so you can enjoy the taste of summer all through the long winter months.

Two-Berry Freezer Jam

Frozen Fresh-Herbs Freezer Bombs

In summer, the kitchen comes alive with the aroma of fresh herbs. Come winter, cooking with dried herbs just isn’t quite the same — so these freezer bombs are a really exciting discovery. You can use herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, dill, and tarragon, either singly or in interesting combinations. And most of the work — from chopping to pureeing with a little oil — is done in your blender. The frozen cubes will keep for about six months and give soups, sauces, stews, and more an amazing fresh-herb flavor.

Frozen Fresh-Herbs Freezer Bombs

Homemade Grape Fruit Leather

Satisfy your kids’ candy cravings — not to mention your own — with the vibrant flavor of this fruit leather made with fresh grapes and two other super-healthy ingredients. All you have to do is liquefy the grapes in a high-speed blender, then strain to remove the skins. Add in honey and a little lemon juice, boil until it thickens, then pour the mixture into a lined pan and let it slow-cook for several hours. The dried strips will keep for a couple of weeks — if you and your family have the willpower to let it last that long.

Homemade Grape Fruit Leather

Big-Batch Salsa Verde

Red salsa may be the superstar of Mexican condiments, but salsa verde, like a sitcom “friend next door,” can be much more interesting. It’s made from tomatillos, a sassy distant cousin to tomatoes. And in addition to traditional ingredients like chili, garlic, onion, lime, and cilantro, this salsa verde also has cumin, which gives it a more subtle complexity. It’s not only great with tacos and chips but can also jazz up shrimp, meats, or rice. Try it with this Salsa Verde Chicken recipe.

Big-Batch Salsa Verde

Homemade Vegan Kimchi

This super-spicy pickled cabbage — a Korean sauerkraut on steroids — has been called the soul of Seoul. If you haven't tried it, know that it’s an acquired taste that can quickly become habit forming. And that’s a good thing, because kimchi is packed with nutrients, enzymes, and tummy-friendly "good" bacteria. The base is cabbage, and the sinus-clearing zing comes from a blender-made paste of scallions, garlic, ginger, miso, and chili powder. Kimchi should ferment for at least a week (during which time it emits a lot of gas, so don’t be surprised if it bubbles or the jar pops open). It’s a side dish or relish that goes with all kinds of food, vegan or omnivore. Kimchi burgers, anyone?

Homemade Vegan Kimchi

Homemade Baby Food

Health-conscious new moms with minimal time will love these simple homemade baby food recipes, where the only ingredients are the fruits and vegetables themselves. The recipe provides nine creative combinations of fresh produce, like peach-banana-carrot and pear-zucchini that are packed with nutrients and also introduce baby to a wide world of interesting flavors. The final step for each combo is a blender puree that can be stored as cubes in the freezer. They’ll last for several months, which means they’re just as handy as commercial baby foods.

Homemade Baby Food Basic Recipes

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