Strawberries in December

Each year, when the summer harvest reaches farmers markets at attractively inexpensive prices, the white-nectarine and heirloom-tomato starved among us buy them up like gluttons. However, there's no sin in that, because some of the bounty can be dehydrated and stored in airtight jars to enjoy during later seasons. Electric dehydrating machines range from $40 to $400 (and beyond), but placing sliced fruit or vegetables on a screen in the Sacramento Valley sun for a few hours is the most energy-friendly method. Tip: Place the screens in the trunk of a car, so there'll be no need to worry about hungry bugs. Oven dehydrating is another option, too: Set the oven to the lowest temperature (no higher than 175 degrees), keep the door ajar, and enjoy strawberries in December.