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Filtering by Category: canning and preserving

Freezing Cherries

Patricia Reitz

Freezing Fresh Cherries - ButterYum

Freezing Fresh Cherries - ButterYum

Fresh cherries are in season and I thought I'd show you how easy it is to freeze them for future use.  This technique works for sweet or tart cherries.  

how to freeze fresh cherries - ButterYum

Start with clean cherries.  Remove all stems and pits.  I like to use this nifty cherry pitter - it's kind of fun.... and as you can see, a little messy too.  Totally worth it though.

Place the pitted cherries in a single layer on a sheet pan and pop them in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.  I've lined my pan with plastic wrap to keep the cherries from sticking and for easy cleanup.  Parchment paper would work too. 

If you have a side-by-side freezer, a quarter sheet pan should fit.

how to pit and freeze sweet or tart cherries - ButterYum

Here's how my cherries looked after they were frozen overnight.

prepping fresh cherries for storage in the freezer - ButterYum

Transfer the frozen cherries in a freezer-grade storage bag and place in freezer.  That's all there is to it.

Items used:

DIY Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Patricia Reitz

DIY Sun-Dried Tomatoes - ButterYum

DIY Sun-Dried Tomatoes - ButterYum

Tomato season is winding down here in VA and I have a wonderful way to prolong the life of all those cherry tomatoes bursting out of your garden.  Everybody love sun-dried tomatoes, but do you know how they're made?  They're placed outside  and allowed to dry naturally, uncovered and exposed to all kinds of misc debris floating around in the air (dust, pollen, and yes, bugs).  I prefer a more controlled environment - a clean, dust-free, pollen-free, bug-free dehydrator.   

Wash and cut your little tomatoes in half length-wise.

Place them cut side up on dehydrator trays, allowing space between them so the air can flow freely around each tomato.  Give them a light sprinkling of Kosher salt.

Stack up as many trays as you need and turn on the dehydrator.  The total time will vary greatly depending on the size of your tomatoes, but mine took about 14 hours on a very low setting, rotating the racks every few hours.  Follow the guidelines give by your dehydrator or just check them periodically, removing individual tomatoes as they're done.  I like them to remain on the soft and chewy side - they'll feel flexible and leathery, but they won't exude any moisture when pressed between your thumb and forefinger.  If you let them dehydrate longer, they'll turn crispy - great for snacking, but if you want to cook with them, reconstitute them in warm water until pliable before using.  

DIY Sun-Dried Tutorial, how to make sun-dried tomatoes with step by step photos, dehydrated tomatoes with how-to photos

I like to store my dried tomatoes in the fridge, in a pretty, repurposed jam jar filled with really good olive oil.  Use in recipes, on salads, or just snack on them.  They'll last for many months in the fridge.  Enjoy! 

how to make your own sun-dried tomatoes, technique and step-by-step photos

Small Batch Pickled Beets

Patricia Reitz

Small Batch Pickled Beets - ButterYum

Small Batch Pickled Beets - ButterYum

I'm not a gardener, but I do subscribe to a CSA Program that supplies me with plenty of fruits and vegetables that I don't normally purchase, and I love the challenge of finding ways to prepare them.  Last week our delivery included 4 beets and I thought it would be nice to pickle them.  Let me show you how I did it.

Boil beets until tender.

Cool until they're easy to handle.


While the beets are cooling, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove from heat and reserve until needed.

Peel the skins off with the dull side of a knife blade - if you use the sharp side of the blade, you'll remove more than just the skin.  you might also want to wear gloves so your fingers don't get stained. 

The aftermath.

My hands were covered in beet juice so I didn't get a photo of me slicing the beets, but I think you can figure that one out.  Pour the pickling solution into a large jar and add the sliced beets. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Small Batch Pickled Beets

makes 4-6 beets

Printable Recipe


  • 4-6 whole, skin-on beets
  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Don't peel beets, but trim tops, leaving about 1 inch attached.  
  2. Place beets in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil; cook until beets are tender when pierced with a knife (20-30 minutes depending on size).
  3. Remove beets from cooking water and allow to cool.  
  4. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt; heat and stir gently until sugar and salt are completely dissolved.  
  5. Use disposable food safe gloves to remove beet skins.  I find it scrapes away easily using the dull side of a knife blade. 
  6. Slice the peeled beets thinly and place in pickling mixture; refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Note:  after you finish eating the beets, don't throw away that pickling juice - use it to store peeled, hard-cooked eggs for several days to add lovely color and flavor.