Five ways to preserve fall fruits

Five ways to preserve fall fruits

Five ways to preserve fall fruits
Summer and fall collide at the farmers market this month. Tomatoes, peaches, and peppers, sitting side-by-side with apples, pears, grapes, figs and even winter squash. The Tuesday market is year-round, but the last Thursday market in Todos Santos Plaza happens Sept. 30.

CONCORD, CA (Sept. 21, 2021) — There’s not much that surpasses the flavors of apples, pears, grapes, figs or persimmons in the cool fall months.

Consuming produce in season provides the best flavor and nutrition, but sometimes it’s nice to have the taste of an apple or pear to enjoy during the off season. Preserving fall produce for later use means you can enjoy seasonal favorites all year long.

A bag of crispy cinnamon apple or persimmon chips, a jar of canned pears, or even pickled figs and grapes could be what you need. When preserving, remember to start with high-quality fruit from your local farmers market for the best results. Their produce is fresh and flavorful, often with unique varieties available.


One of the most flexible ways to preserve fruit is canning, which preserves fruit for about a year or so. Jams, spreads, butters and fruity syrup are just some of the delicious foods you can create with a simple water bath canner, jars and a few tools. Apple butter and pears in light syrup are two easy ones to try. Be sure to follow recipe directions to avoid illness or contamination. Visit the National Center for Food Preservation website at for more information. Uses: Top toast or ice cream with jams and butters; pour on chicken or pork.


This version of canning allows for many fruits to be preserved by adding vinegar, salt and pickling spices. People usually pickle vegetables, but pears, grapes, figs and persimmons can also be pickled. Pickled fruits can last up to two years because of the acidic content. Uses: Impress at your next dinner party featuring homemade pickles on your charcuterie board, or pepper jelly topping on a block of cream cheese.


Love apple chips? Using a dehydrator, the oven or even the sun can produce some great snacks with fall and winter produce. Persimmon, apple and pear chips are some favorites. A dehydrator is an easy way to make raisins at home. Dehydrated foods should be used within four months. One drawback to dehydrating is that it takes time and patience to dry fruit to the desired consistency, but the results are delicious. Uses: Mix your dried fruit with nuts for a homemade trail mix, or add to quick breads, muffins, yogurt or your morning oatmeal.


This form of food preservation has been experiencing a renaissance as people discover the advantages of fermenting for the probiotics that are created. Start with a fermenting kit or visit reliable websites to learn how. Apples, figs, grapes and more can be fermented. The difference between fermentation and pickling is that fermentation is preservation through a bacterial reaction, whereas pickling is preservation via salt and acid. Uses: Make pastrami and homemade sauerkraut sandwiches, add to potato salad or toss in salads.


Almost all fruit can be easily frozen, but some do not maintain their firmness. Frozen fruit is better used for sauces and jams. If you do a lot of freezing, one of those seal-a-meal machines is a good investment. Many types of seasonal produce selections can be stored, defrosted and used at a later date. Frozen fruit should last several months. Uses: Pull fruit from the freezer for easy-to-prepare jams or making healthy smoothies in the blender.

This month at the Concord Farmers Market, you’ll find crisp apples from Rainbow Orchards in Camino, plump grapes, persimmons and apples from J&J Ramos out of Hughson, and apples from Smit Farms in Linden. Support your local farmers and shop the farmers market, where you know you’re getting the freshest and most diverse selection of fruit.

Pickled Asian Pears

Asian Pears

Makes 2-3 pint jars

  • 2 lbs. very hard Asian pears
  • 1 1/3 c. Chinese white rice vinegar (Can substitute distilled white vinegar. Cider vinegar not recommended as it adds too much apple flavor.)
  • 1 1/3 c. water
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt

Peel, wash, seed and cut the pears in quarters. Add to pint glass mason jars.

Mix all remaining ingredients well, until dissolved. Pour into the jars. Cover tightly. Keep in refrigerator, undisturbed, for at least three days before use. These pears will keep refrigerated for at least six months.

Adapted from “The Chinese Kitchen” by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo.

The Concord Farmers Market is in Todos Santos Plaza in downtown Concord, CA, every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.