Get the most out of everything from citrus to root veggies with these no-fail guides and recipes.

By Stacey Ballis
January 15, 2021
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Everyone thinks of summer as the time for canning, that fun and productive project of "putting up" produce for the long winter ahead. It seems ideal when the bounty of fruits and vegetables are everywhere, and there is something so satisfying about knowing that you will still have the bright pop of sweet corn in the darkness of February, or a swath of summery berry jam on your January toast. But for me, I love a winter preserving project. The kitchen gets warm against the chill, the house smells comforting and cozy, and there is nothing like a great cooking project on a cold, hunkered down winter's day.

Why winter for canning and preserving?

Think about it: There are some winter preserving projects that pay big dividends, including taking advantage of citrus season, making homemade condiments, and embracing winter vegetables. These are all perfect projects for long winter weekends.

Secondly, if you're not already an ardent canner, winter is a great time to practice for when the bounty of summer rolls back around.

Thirdly, this is a much easier time to source canning equipment (try finding jars in June!), so again, if you're not already a pro, 'tis the season to be canning!

Here are some of my favorite ways to get into some winter preserving. Most of these recipes will hold for weeks or even months in the fridge, but if you really want your delectable to last, any of them can be canned for extended preservation.

Credit: Getty / Watson, Jamie

Onion jam

Summer jam is all about fresh fruit, but one of my favorite winter jams to make is onion. I make mine with red onions for the color, but any old onion will do. Onion jam is terrific on sandwiches and burgers, great on a cheese board, and a perfect accompaniment to any roasted meat. Try this version with maple for added punch!

Get the recipe: Maple-Onion Jam

Citrus marmalades, preserves, and more

Winter is citrus season, and I am always excited about that! From classic marmalades and candied peels, to preserved lemons for Moroccan cooking, to tart shrubs that bring some welcome brightness to my cocktail or mocktail hours. Citrus celebrations are where it's at in winter, and anything you make now will give you months of joy. (Plus, you know, staving off scurvy.) Here are some of my favorite citrus preserving projects that are perfect for right now!

Get the recipe: Quince-Lemon Marmalade

Get the recipe: Candied Citrus Peels

Get the recipe: Grapefruit Shrub

Get the recipe: Simple Preserved Lemons

Get the recipe: Candied Kumquats

Apple and pear chutneys, butters, and more

Citrus isn't the only fruit at max fabulousness. We still have some time for apples and pears and there is so much more to these fruits than just pies and tarts. From dehydrating them for snacking to making apple or pear butters, to unusual condiments like chutneys and mostardas, apples and pears are worth exploring for some fun winter projects! Here are a few to get you started…

Get the recipe: Ginger-Cardamom Pear Butter

Get the recipe: Apple Butter

Get the recipe: Sweet and Spicy Apple Chips

Get the recipe: Pear Mostarda

Creative pickles

Pickles aren't just about summer cucumbers and green beans anymore. And whether you do a quick pickle for this week's sandwich toppers, or a preserved pickle for the whole season, think beyond green. Here are some fabulous and unexpected pickles you might want to make this year.

Get the recipe: Pickled Pine Nuts

Get the recipe: Quick Pickled Grapes

Get the recipe: Pickled Celery

Get the recipe: Pickled Red Onions

Squash and root veggie chips

Winter squashes and root vegetables make for delicious crispy chips, which you can achieve in your oven, air fryer, or even the microwave!

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Beet Chips