Making the most of your summer produce is a great way to enjoy everything that your garden or the farmers’ markets have to offer. By preserving it as long as possible you can experience the taste sensations that are so reminiscent of summertime. Whether you grow your own or buy it, making the most of your summer produce saves money and leaves you with the freshest and best tasting fruits and vegetables ever. Check it out!
Maybe you have a mound of tomatoes or a hundred pounds of zucchini – I can relate! Instead of letting it sit there on your counter, research new ways to cook those items. Recipes that center on those ingredients are sure to taste wonderful and give you a new and delicious way to enjoy them before they spoil and you have to throw them out. This is one of the most interesting ways to make the most of summer produce from your own garden.
If you have more produce than you’ll ever be able to eat or can and you have run out of people who want it, consider sharing it with the needy. Many food banks are willing to take fresh fruits and vegetables on the day they hand out food to the homeless. You can drop it off that day so it doesn’t go bad. Food kitchens and those programs that serve needy children lunch during summer break are other great places to share your bounty with those who need it.
Speaking of canning, there really isn’t anything you can’t preserve. That includes tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, berries, peaches, cucumbers, grapes and so much more. Can or pickle what you have and store it so you can eat it during the cold winter that’s to come. Websites and books are all over the place to help you get it done just right.
If you don’t want to make the commitment that canning requires (and it’s a big one), you can also freeze a lot of summer’s best fruits and vegetables. Some items you can chop and freeze right away, but others will have to cooked, blanched or peeled first. Again, use books or online resources to guide you because the process differs according to what foods you have on hand. When it’s cold outside, pull out some of your frozen fruits and vegetables and let them take you back to the sun and warmth.
If you grow a lot of produce, you can earn a few extra bucks at the end of the season by selling what you have leftover. Set up a small table with your prices posted and get ready to pad your bank account. This is a fun activity for your kids and you can share the profits by going for ice cream before school starts again.
You can’t dry everything, but there are lots of fruits and vegetables that you can dehydrate to enjoy later. Fruits are especially easy to dry and you can use virtually anything you grow, including peaches, berries, cherries and much more. Add those dried items to oatmeal or soup during the winter.
If all else fails and you have less than perfect summer produce spoiling on your counter or in your fridge, make it work for you anyway by tossing it in the compost pile. Mix your compost with dirt and let it hang out until next summer. You’ll have just what you need to start all over again!
I often have so much garden goodness and my favorite way to use it up is to share it. What do you grow in your garden? How do you use it up?
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