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July is high summer and fresh produce abounds! A fabulous way to save money on fruits and vegetables is to take advantage of what’s in season. Even in Wyoming, we start seeing farmers’ markets and produce stands with an abundance. The gardens are producing, and life is good! I’ve put together a few of the popular vegetables or fruits you may be picking this month and my favorite ways to preserve my July harvest.

Preserving Your July Harvest

Not only will you save money by buying produce in season, but if you can grow your own or find it locally, the bonus is amazing flavor. And though the calendar may say July, those of us with shorter growing seasons are likely still harvesting items that were seasonal in May and/or June. Be sure to check my Preserving Your May Harvest and Preserving Your June Harvest for my top five picks for those months. (Picks! Get it? LOL)


Preserving Your July Harvest


When I lived in Central Wyoming, I met a lady with the most amazing raspberry patch. She’d cultivated and tended her canes for years. That summer she had her largest harvest ever, selling more berries at the farmers’ market than she’d ever thought possible. Last year, I planted my own small patch of raspberries in hopes of duplicating her efforts. Apparently, I don’t have her magical touch and won’t be getting any fruit this year. Maybe next year!

Harvest time for raspberries is early June to early August, with some varieties peaking earlier or later. Freezing is a simple and easy way to preserve your raspberry harvest. Be sure to allow them to freeze in a single layer before bagging to avoid a lump of berries. Raspberries can also be canned, fermented, or dehydrated.

Keep in mind, when fermenting fruit, they do not have as long of a shelf life as fermented vegetables, such as cabbage. The natural sugars in the fruit turn into alcohol. Be sure to use whey or another starter and monitor your ferment. I check and burp my ferments weekly (keeping them in cold storage), paying special attention to how they look and smell. Most fruit ferments last only a few weeks to months.


Preserving Your July Harvest - Garlic


Unlike most of our vegetables, garlic is planted in the fall with harvest at the end of spring and into summer or somewhere between the end of June to the middle of September. Garlic should be harvested when the lower leaves begin to turn brown. You may need to dig up a few bulbs to check their progress.

Freshly harvested garlic is often braided for preserving, giving a fun-looking kitchen ornament in the process. Garlic is a low-acid vegetable that requires a pressure canner to be properly processed. Garlic loses most of its flavor when heated in this way. For this reason, adequate processing times have not been determined for canning garlic (excerpt from a PDF link from UC Davis with extra information). That said, if you choose to look into pressure canning garlic, I’ve provided a few non-USDA-approved links.


Green Beans

Green Beans

It’s still a little early for green beans in Wyoming, but maybe we’ll start seeing them toward the end of July to early August. Something I’ve heard is that once green beans are ready, they should be picked every day to encourage a larger harvest. True? Untrue? Does anyone know?

Beans are a low-acid vegetable, and the only safe way to can them is by using a pressure canner. The addition of vinegar (in the case of a pickled green bean recipe) does change the acidic level and, when following approved recipes, is considered safe.


Summer Squash

Summer Squash

It’ll soon be that time! Zucchini season. The challenge of keeping up with the zucchini harvest is real. How many of us have thought we got everything picked only to move a leaf and find a squash the size of a baseball bat hiding out?

We can, and often do, eat zucchini and yellow squash daily during the season. My very favorite zucchini dish is crispy fried zucchini. So good! Of course, I also love zoodles and sautéed squash and onions. Oh! And did I mention also love zucchini cake? With all the fresh eating, there’s usually still enough to preserve. Zucchini, like garlic and green beans, is a low-acid vegetable. Recommendations for canning zucchini and other summer squash alone seem to no longer exist, and freezing is now the preferred method.


Preserving Your July Harvest - Herbs


July is a great time for fresh herbs, both cultivated and wild. While some herbs, such as stinging nettle, may benefit from an earlier harvest, many are at their prime in the height of summer. Fresh and preserved herbs are great for cooking, but certain herbs can also be powerful medicine.

While I’ve experimented some with medicinal herbs, I’m essentially new to the path. I’m also new to wildcrafting or gathering herbs in the wild. There’s much to learn when herbs are being used as medicine and when finding native plants! I’ll provide a few links for your further research. I’d also highly recommend herbal classes and in-depth books. My friend N.A. Broadley recently released Homesteads & Herbals: Resources for Learning and Using Nature’s Gifts. I’m just beginning to work my way through the book and am loving it so far.


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How do you preserve your July harvest? Leave a comment below!

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