The summer growing season may be nearing its end, but your garden is probably just hitting its peak production! You can only personally eat so many tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, and zucchini. Your neighbors and co-workers will only allow you to share so many. And really, it seems a total waste to let them go. So don’t!
Belly up to your kitchen counter, pull out a few handy appliances, and make finished food items you can eat through the winter and your neighbors and co-workers are far more glad to take off of your hands now!
Does your neighbor want 10 cucumbers? No! Does your neighbor want an adorable jar full of homemade pickles? Heck yes! Use any garden variety cuc to make these shockingly easy pickles. You’ll never want store-bought again. And in our experience, a generous batch will last you all the way to spring!
When the watermelon and cantaloupe runneth over, runneth it through the blender! Combine your favorite melons, add your choice of fresh herbs, and top with a goat or feta cheese to make the simplest chilled soup ever! We love ours at brunch.
There’s no such thing as too much salsa! There is such a thing as too many peppers, cilantro, garlic. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have too many tomatillos or pineapple! When that’s the case, toss it all in the food processor and make this to die for salsa that’s even sweet enough for the kids to eat! Top grilled chicken, pork or fish, then jar up the rest for later or for sharing.
Every single gardener has too many tomatoes, and every single gardener runs out of ways to eat them. Behold the BEST SOUP we’ve ever eaten! Prepare a generous batch or two now and taste the flavors of summer all winter long. Your friends will beat your door down for this, so if your garden allows, make enough to share.
In our backyard, the fig tree production is on overdrive! What our very happy birds can’t get to, we put in this simple protein-packed breakfast bowl. Still stuck with too many figs? Roast and puree for a delectable sauce over grilled pork.
In a pickle with more cucumbers than you can eat? This salad can’t be beat! Rhymes and puns aside, this is an easy side dish that pairs with just about anything else you’re serving.
No one has ever been mad at too many strawberries. But if your patch is running wild with strawberries, and you’re just about shortcake-d out, then drink ’em up! These milkshake is so simple and yet so decadent, you’ll feel like a gourmet foodie who expended little to no effort.
While we’re on the subject garden-fresh beverages, toss some more watermelon in the blender. Those jalapenos you can’t seem to use fast enough? Chop up one of those, too! And too much mint in the herb garden? Grab a handful! This cocktail will knock your socks off and use up a good chunk of your garden harvest this weekend.
Does anything grow with as much wild abandon as does asparagus? It requires daily harvesting, but steamed aside a piece of fish can only be consumed so many times. We save our stalks for Sunday Brunch, when we roll them in homemade crepes wrapped in prosciutto.
Care to have some more carrots? If it’s in a divine little homemade baked good, bring it on! You will truly not even know there are carrots in these muffins, and neither will all the people who receive a half dozen or so. Get to gratin’ these orange goddesses and bake a batch to share as soon as possible!
TEN MORE THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH EXTRA GARDEN PRODUCE
1. Make homemade bags of salad greens. At more than $4 per container for organic greens at the grocery store, your friends will welcome clean, rinsed, ready-to-eat greens. Stuff baggies full of kale, romaine, spinach, and spring greens. Add a jar of homemade salad dressing to really seal this edible gift.
2. Use up extra basil to make pesto, pour in ice cube trays, and freeze for easy use all winter long!
3. Donate your surplus to food banks and families in need. AmpleHarvest.org makes this a tax deductible effort that supports your local community.
4. Make and freeze purees for easy additions to smoothies, sauces, and soups throughout the year.
5. Freeze after blanching any number of garden gems like green beans, peppers, squash, carrots, broccoli, and potatoes. Enjoy your own homegrown frozen veggies for months to come.
6. Freeze surplus herbs in ice cube trays for tasty additions to ice water and iced tea any time.
7. Make baby food purees for your own baby or share with a strapped-for-time mom with a hungry toddler you may know! You’d be surprised how welcome a gift like this would be!
8. Tweet the availability of too many tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, [insert produce item here]. Your @ replies will be as stocked as your garden!
9. Make your own dried fruits and veggies for healthy snacking or additions to trail mixes. Snap peas, green beans, squash, zucchini, and berries are all prime suspects.
10. Compost for next year’s rich soil. If the supply is just more than you could possibly demand, feed your compost pile. At least it’s not a total waste there!