Late-cropping apples tend to store better than earlies. Make sure you choose unblemished fruit and place them in clear plastic bags (make a few pinholes first), or wrap them individually in newspaper, and store in a cool, frost-free place. They should keep for several months, but check regularly for signs of rotting. Stewed apple freezes well, and you can also press surplus apples and freeze the juice.
Raspberries can be frozen if you spread them out on a dish to open freeze – you can then store them in a box or bag for up to six months. Strawberries do not freeze well, and if you are lucky enough to have a glut, they are best made into jam.
Cherries will keep for a few days in the fridge – store them unwashed and wash just before using. They freeze well – it is a good idea to remove the stones before freezing as this task will be harder on softer, defrosted cherries. They can also be lightly poached with a little sugar before freezing.
You can store unwashed bunches of black, red and white currants in the fridge for up to five days. They also freeze well – remove the stalks first and open freeze on a tray before packing into bags or containers. Use gluts of currants to make jams and jellies.
Early, green gooseberries are usually too tart to eat raw, but can be stewed for use in pies, or stewed and then puréed for gooseberry fool. Later fruits, which are ready to harvest in July and August, are often yellow or red, and are sweet enough to eat raw. Gooseberries can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks and they freeze well. They make delicious jams or chutneys.
Pears will not keep for long, but as they continue to ripen once picked, under-ripe fruits can be kept in a cool place for a few days until fully ripe. Slightly under-ripe pears are also best for cooking as they keep their shape better. If you have a glut of pears, try pressing them and then freezing the juice.
Plums and damsons
Different varieties of plums are grown to eat raw, for cooking, or both. Gluts of plums can be frozen – first halve and stone the plums, then open freeze on a tray if you want them to keep their shape. They can also be bottled or made into plum jam. Damsons are not usually eaten raw in the same way but they make delicious jams or jellies. The fruit can be frozen using the same method as plums.
Rhubarb wilts very quickly and is not worth storing in the fridge for more than a couple of days. If you do keep it in the fridge, don’t strip the leaves as they help to keep it fresh. Rhubarb freezes well, either cut into lengths and blanched, or after it has been cooked. It can also be bottled.
Deal with vegetable gluts
Are you to up to you ears in home-grown carrots, courgettes and potatoes? If so, follow our advice on dealing with vegetable gluts.