By Laurie Messing Michigan State University Extension Summer is finally here! Asparagus, onions and strawberries may be found in backyard gardens and at some local farm markets. Gardens have been planted and are growing all around the state. As thoughts turn to gardens and farmers markets overflowing with red tomatoes, bright green peppers and all of the other fresh produce, remember it is easy to preserve. Why not save some of this fresh, local produce to enjoy all through the year? Canning, freezing and drying are the three main methods for preserving food. The method you choose will depend on what your preferences are, as well as whether safe guidelines are available for the particular produce and equipment you have. Food preservation is a science and home food preservers must be sure to properly preserve food. If not properly preserved, dangerous bacteria can be present in the food and can cause foodborne illness when the jars are opened and food is consumed. This might sound confusing and cause you to think about how you preserve your produce, but luckily there are great resources available to point you in the direction of safe preserved foods. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following resources for safe, research based recipes and resources for preserving food: National Center for Home Food Preservation, located at nchfp.uga.edu MSU Extension Michigan Fresh, located at msue.anr.msu.edu\/program\/info\/mi_fresh,\u00a0shares current, research-based food preservation bulletins for numerous fruits and vegetables, updated by MSU Extension educators. Following the guidance provided from the above resources will allow you to preserve a safe product to enjoy all year long. Now is a great time to start planning for food preservation so that you are equipped with safe, research based recipes and the proper equipment you will need when the produce is ready.