In home preserving, drying, canning, and freezing are the most common methods to use.
For some veggies/fruits like tomatoes, the options for preserving are large; for others like cucumbers, the choices are more limited. Sure, you can ferment cucumbers, which is a very long process – or freeze some in cubes – ice cucumber-mint tea anyone? But pickling is probably your best bet.
For other vegetables and fruits, you need to think outside the box. Take, for example, cantaloupe. You can freeze some pieces for smoothies or even pickle it (not for me), but when you have 3 cantaloupes in the fridge and 7 on the way in the garden, you need something to help you to use them. Sorbet or granita is a good idea but we, at home, prefer ice cream. The Ben and Jerry’s homemade cantaloupe ice cream recipe we have can swallow a large cantaloupe without a problem. It’s easy to do with the right equipment.
Another way to preserve cantaloupe is to make fruit leather. In short, leathers are dry- rolled sheets of pureed fruits. According to the Excalibur’s guide to food dehydration – the maker of my dehydrator – some basic guidelines must be followed, for example: mixes with nuts must be kept in the freezer. Other than that, this is a good way to use slightly overripe fruits. Your imagination is your only limit!