Summer fruit is not just something to eat. It is a family project. It is a creative endeavor, and it is Holiday preparation. Finally it's a great bargain.
Most people think of boxes of ripe summer fruit as the mere predecessors of pies and cobbler. I love fresh pie and cobbler as much as anyone else, but there is only so much you can eat and stay healthy.
Consider the price of frozen fruit at the grocery store, even Costco. Frozen fruit is a premium item, and if you have ever tended a tree or picked a bushel of fruit you will know why. But, to go to a produce vendor for a box of ripe fruit in season, you will pay a fair price for an excellent product. But you must buy it by the box or bushel, which might be daunting to some.
Take courage ! To freeze you need only freezer worthy ziplock bags, some time, and some lemon juice. Freeze by the quart or by the gallon.
To dry, you need patience, an oven, a very hot day, or a dehydrator. With a little more cleverness and maybe a recipe, you can make fruit leathers, which are a most welcome gift. Now is the time to get some made to give at the holidays.
Jam has less sugar than jelly and is a suitable treat or gift when home made. Delve into the exotic fruit spiked salsas, and you will have serious trouble keeping it around.
To be fair, you will need some equipment. First you will need large bowls and pots. You will also need many hands to help wash and slice. The thrifty among you will want the largest good freezer you can afford. Canning pots and tools are relatively inexpensive, and jars are a common item at garage sales. Just be sure they are in good condition and not chipped. Finally for the connoisseurs, you will want a proper dehydrator. And by all means indulge yourself in one of the many beautiful books about preserving. You may as well get the gold standard, the Ball Blue Book Guide to Canning and Preserving.
If you do this sort of kitchen magic with the kids, they will be fascinated. Photo document your fun and you will be blog- worthy and an instagram hit ! You will also have a really good spoon to lick.