Preserve It Fresh, Preserve It Safe: 2018, No. 4 (July/August)

A newsletter for those who preserve food at home.

Seasonal and Simple: A free app for enjoying fresh produce

Whether you get your produce from your own garden, farmers market or grocery store, the Seasonal and Simple app can help you enjoy the goodness of fruits and vegetables in season.

The application is based on the University of Missouri Extension publication, “Seasonal and Simple: A guide for enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables.” The Seasonal and Simple app offers information on a variety of vegetables and fruits grown in the Midwest, including familiar produce such as apples and broccoli, as well as some that you might not know what to do with, like okra and kohlrabi. It has a chart to show you when each item is in-season locally. The app also provides nutritional information and explains how to select and prepare the fruit or vegetable, including what parts are edible and how to store each part.

There are also a variety of serving suggestions and recipes for each vegetable or fruit. They include hot and cold options and a mix of cooking methods. Most recipes are pretty simple to make. You can watch Chef Brook Harlan demonstrate four of the recipes — links are listed under “Food Demo Videos” at Chef Harlan shows the basics of preparing and cooking the foods. He also talks about how to expand your skills and experiment with recipes and techniques with other vegetables and fruits.

The app has an additional “Farmers Markets” feature that enables consumers to find farmers markets in or near each Kansas and Missouri county. The smart phone application is available for both Apple and Android device and is free to download.

To obtain Seasonal and Simple:

  • Search for Seasonal and Simple in your device’s app store to download the free application
  • An online version is available at
So download the app and have it with you on your phone or other device at your local farmers market, produce stand or grocery store to know what the perfect fruit or vegetable should look, feel and smell like before you purchase it. You can pick a recipe while you are at the market and get all the ingredients you need in one trip. Then go home and enjoy your fresh produce in a simple meal or snack.

There’s an app for that

Checking app while cooking

For those of you who like to use apps on your mobile devices, there are currently two options for food preservation. One is from Oregon State University, the other from Colorado State University.

The Canning Timer & Checklist App was created by Oregon State University and launched in March 2017. The app provides abbreviated checklists and a timer to guide users in canning vegetables, fruits, meats and fish. This app is intended for people with previous canning experience and provides reminders of essential steps in the canning process. It has recipes for canning vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood. The app is available for Apple and Android devices.

The Preserve Smart app was created by Colorado State University and launched in May 2018. This app is similar to the Oregon university app, but it requires you to enter your elevation before you can get into the recipes. The app will remember your elevation and make processing adjustments for you in every recipe. So it is a mobile-friendly way to use tested recipes from sea level to high in the Rocky Mountains! This program has recipes for freezing, drying, canning, jelly or jam, pickling and fermentation. The app is available for Apple and Android devices. You can also access this program on the university website.

Here are links to both of these programs:

Freezing onions

Chopping an onion

Onions will start maturing in Kansas and Missouri soon, so people may want to preserve them to enjoy their flavor year-round.

Whole bulb onions store well in a cool, dry place, but onions can also be dried, canned or frozen in diced or sliced form so they can easily be used in cooking. Onions do not require blanching before freezing, which makes that a quick and easy way to safely preserve onions for later use in dishes such as soups, stews and casseroles. To freeze diced onions, simply peel, trim and clean the onions thoroughly before dicing them into approximately ¼-inch pieces. Then either pack dry into freezer bags or containers, leaving ½ inch of headspace, or freeze separated pieces on a clean tray prior to packaging. Eliminate as much air as possible from the package before storing in the freezer. Frozen onions are best if used within a few months.

Source: Wilson, Hannah K. 2018. Resources for home preserving onions. National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Enjoy this delicious recipe from Seasonal and Simple

Grilled spicy watermelon Grilled spicy watermelon with honey

  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup honey, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 medium-sized watermelon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

Yield: 8 servings

Preheat grill to high. In a bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice, 3 tablespoons of honey, chili sauce and salt. Cut watermelon into 1-inch-thick wedges. Lightly drizzle each side with remaining honey and place on grill. Grill until just browned, about 2 minutes per side. Serve watermelon slices with lime dressing drizzled on top, then sprinkle with fresh cilantro.