Mid-July is my favorite time in the garden. Everything starts rolling in, and I pick what we’re going to have for our meals based on a visit to the garden. If you’re lucky, things are even starting to get a bit abundant, so I thought I’d go through some of my favorite ways to use up all that summer produce.
I find that it’s best to pick stuff smaller versus letting it get too big – the flavor is better, and there is less likelihood of pests. Here are some easy tips on when to pick your produce for the best flavor.
Squashes are easy to lose in the leaves, so they often get huge in a hurry. While the big ones aren’t as delicious eaten fresh/raw as the smaller ones, big squashes make delicious zucchini bread or muffins (or add some frosting and make cake). Grant loves zucchini bread, so I always shred a few pounds worth of zucchini or summer squash (any recipe you see for zucchini can be easily interchanged for summer squash), freeze, and make zucchini bread in the middle of January for a little taste of summer. Here are some easy recipes that we like:
I also love shredding the zucchini or squash and using it in place of pasta in spaghetti and lasagna like this.
If you’re having trouble using up your tomatoes, call me and I’ll eat them! Just kidding.Here are some other ideas to spice up your tomatoes if you need them.
If you have more peppers than you can eat (a great problem to have), they’re great to freeze. With hot peppers, just cut off the stems, pop them in a ziploc, and put them in the freezer. They retain their flavor perfectly. For sweet peppers, try this method.
Beans and peas freeze really well – just wash, snap off the ends of the beans, and freeze them like the peppers. Pickled green beans are delicious too (even if you don’t can them, they’re great just to leave in the fridge).
Sweet corn freezes beautifully too. We shucked and froze nearly seven dozen last night.
We love refrigerator pickles for all sorts of vegetables, but especially cucumbers,carrots, and cauliflower.