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When deciding what to can, think about your favorite seasonal foods. What do you look forward to most in summer? Plump strawberries? Sun-kissed tomatoes? Also, notice what’s abundant and affordable. When plums are piled high on farmers’ market tables, you’re likely to get a good deal. Not ready to can when corn hits its peak? “You can freeze it and can it later,” says Vinton.

Canning isn’t limited to summer produce. Vinton makes hot pepper jam in the fall, citrus curd and marmalade in winter, and pickled asparagus in spring.