Summer brings with it the freshest flavors of the year. With bounties of fresh herbs, fruits and veggies, food just tastes better in the summer thanks to the homegrown goodness. But the tastiness doesn’t have to end with the first frost. Here at StyleBlueprint, we love to share ideas and tips for all sorts of things — including how to enjoy fresh summer fare all year long. It was that notion that led to this article. Take a look at these bright ideas from some StyleBlueprint team members, and keep reading for one bonus freezer hack to keep your iced coffee tasting great.

3 Freezer Hacks to Enjoy Fresh Produce All Year Long

Freeze those peaches.

How to prepare & freeze:
Peach season always seems to come and go so quickly — just like a peach’s window of ripeness. So how can you enjoy this quintessential summer flavor all year long? “Freeze your peaches,” says Ginny Staggs, StyleBlueprint’s Director of Sales. Ginny says that eight peaches — enough for a 9-by-11 cobbler — fit perfectly in a gallon-size freezer bag. But before you freeze them, you must wash them. “I wash my peaches in a solution of water and vinegar (4:1 ratio) — no scrubbing required.” Dry them thoroughly, and then gently place them in the freezer bag and place them in the freezer. They will store nicely for up to a year — long enough to carry you through to next year’s peach season.

How to thaw & use:
When you’re ready to use the peaches, remove the bag from the freezer and let them thaw, but only half-way. “If you thaw them all the way, you’ve got a mess and you tear the peaches up,” Ginny explains. “You don’t have to cut the peel — it will pull right off!” Additionally, Ginny only buys freestone peaches, which makes pulling the peach off the pit a snap. Otherwise, you can simply cut the flesh away from the pit.

With fresh, half-way-thawed peaches at the ready, they can be used for cobbler, ice cream, pie, smoothies, and anything else you desire.

Freezer hacks: Frozen peaches

Whether you want to make peach cobbler or peach popsicles, you can use fresh peaches anytime when you freeze them for later use.

RELATED: Easy Peach Swirl Ice Cream (No Churning Required!)

Fresh tomatoes for the win.

How to prepare & freeze: 
Tomatoes are one of the most prolific fruits in the summer months. With this handy freezer storage trick from StyleBluprint’s Marketing Director Megan Casey, you can enjoy fresh tomatoes year-round. Megan offers two options: roast and freeze, or simply freeze. “Rinse them, pick off the stem if it has one, and roast them at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes on a baking sheet,” Megan explains of the first option. “Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, and then sprinkle the tomatoes with olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. This process gives you a head start on building the flavors.” After roasting, let the tomatoes cool, and then fill a gallon-size freezer bag half- or three-quarters of the way full and place in the freezer. “Once they’re frozen, you can stand the multiple bags up vertically next to each other to save space,” Megan says.

If you’d rather forgo the fuss, simply skip the roasting part, pack the freezer bag the same way, and pop it in the freezer.

How to thaw & use:
When it’s time to put the tomatoes to use (think pizza sauce, pasta addition, soups, stews, etc.), let them thaw for about an hour. “They don’t have to be unfrozen if you’re making sauce with them. You’ll just have to cook the sauce a little longer if you start with frozen tomatoes,” explains Megan. “If you’re using them as an addition to pasta or a pizza topping, though, thaw completely before using.”

To roast your tomatoes prior to freezing, Megan recommends you rinse them, pick off the stem if it has one, and roast them at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes on a baking sheet.

Enjoy fresh basil for cooking — and oil for dipping.

How to prepare & freeze:
Basil is best enjoyed fresh off the stem. But the next best thing? Fresh basil that has been preserved in olive oil and frozen! Before you put the basil in the freezer, though, gently wash the leaves and dry completely — about an hour should do. Once dry, again, you have options. “For whole leaves, you can put them into a 4-ounce plastic freezer container and cover them with extra virgin olive oil,” shares Ginny. “Or you can chiffonade the leaves, place them into a good silicone ice cube tray (half full), and cover with olive oil.” The key is to ensure the leaves are completely covered so they don’t get freezer burn, and once frozen, you can pop them out of the tray and put them into a freezer bag for long-term storage — “I freeze enough for a year,” Ginny says.

How to thaw & use:
When you’re ready to use, simply throw the frozen cubes into the pot while cooking. Or, grab a nice loaf of bread, and let your cubes thaw completely. Top the oil with Parmesan, black pepper, balsamic vinegar or any other favorite flavor, and dip the bread for a tasty snack or appetizer. YUM!

Freezer hacks: frozen basil can be used for pesto

Fresh-from-the-garden basil pesto can be enjoyed any time of year when you freeze basil and olive oil for later use.

RELATED: Try This Spinach-Walnut Pesto Pasta

BONUS HACK: Iced Coffee Ice Cubes

This hack comes from a friend, who says that her aunt freezes ice coffee in an ice cube tray. When she makes her iced coffee, she uses the coffee cubes (instead of regular ice cubes) so that when they melt, her coffee doesn’t get watered down — it just gets more coffee. Genius!

**********

Subscribe to StyleBlueprint for your best “me moment” of the day. Click HERE!