This is my very first year of gardening. I have a small little 4×4 foot garden in my yard.
I read the All New Square Foot Gardening and felt like this was something that I could do.
I’ve been thrilled that I’ve actually been able to grow food in my backyard.
In fact, I have been unprepared to deal with my bounty!
I’ve harvested banana peppers, broccoli and loads of zucchini. And my sons and I have picked several pints of wild raspberries in our neighborhood. I’ve got lots of tomatoes that are about to ripen.
But I’ve been scrambling to figure out what to do with all of it.
I’m more of a meat and potatoes kind of girl than a fruits and veggie type. I’m one of those idiots that buys fruits and vegetables and watches them decompose in the back of her fridge.
I thought that if I grew my own produce, I would somehow be more invested in actually eating the produce.
I am failing.
I need help!
What types of things do you do with your harvest? What’s the best way to save your zucchini? What is your favorite way to use raspberries?
Please give me some ideas so that all this fresh food doesn’t go to waste!
Canning and blanching/freezing are one option. Get the Ball Blue Book of Canning for the details. As for zucchini … make and freeze zucchini bread! That’s what my mom did with her excess back in the ’70s. There’s also a recipe somewhere online for “fried baseball bats,” which is one way to use a zucchini that’s grown overlarge.
My inlaws had raspberry bushes … they froze some, made jam, made raspberry crumble, etc. Rinse, dry, and spread on a cookie sheet to flash-freeze berries so they don’t all clump together in the freezer container.
I don’t spam our recipe site, since my tweets and Joe posts are financial, but saw your tweet regarding zucchini, and we just posted this recently.
It freezes well, and is amazingly low calorie.
If you try it, a comment on the site would be appreciated.
Rebecca at Alice says
Here are some yummy recipes I’ve bookmarked:
http://thedabble.com/blog/wait-share-grilled-bread-zucchini-goat-cheese-basil/ (this one has zucchini with raspberries on the side!)
http://bigboldbeautifulfood.blogspot.com/2010/03/zucchini-pasta.html (I put regular ole spaghetti sauce over zuchinni “pasta” – so good!)
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Zucchini-and-Red-Pepper-Enchiladas-with-Two-Salsas-354501 (When I made this, it took me a long time, but very delicious!)
Also, be sure to share your produce with friends, family and neighbors. Quick way to make fast friends! :)
I don’t understand the “too much zucchini” phenomenon. There’s never enough for me! There’s fried zucchini, stuffed zucchini boats, ratatouille, zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, chocolate zucchini cake, raw zucchini sliced thin into ribbons and cut down into “pasta”, zucchini sliced into half-moons or rounds and sauteed in olive oil (with or without yellow squash, whole garlic cloves, and diced tomato), roasted zucchini…. My favorite thing to do with any leftover zucchini I may have is to grate it, stuff it into a bag, and freeze it. Then I can just defrost it in a colander and make bread/muffins/cake.
If you’re overloaded with tomatoes you can can them pretty easily or put them whole into freezer bags and freeze. Ditto if you go so far as to make tomato sauce or marinara out of them.
You can also shred/chop your zucchini (I have a little food processor I sometimes use for this sort of thing), press out a bunch of the moisture – it will still have a lot – throw it in a freezer bag and keep it on hand for making zucchini bread in the winter, when you’ll actually appreciate heating up the house with baking. It’s also nice to have produce from your garden in the winter. Raspberries don’t last very long around my house – my daughter is a berry fiend – but I did freeze some of those for winter, too. Again, they may be better then as ingredients in baked goods (muffins, pancakes, etc., etc.) than straight. Right now, though, they’re delicious in smoothies or just on top of ice cream all by themselves. Use some zucchini and other veggies in a cold pasta salad for a summer supper, or a warm, colorful pasta dish if you prefer. If you have too many tomatoes to eat this summer, make some into tomato sauce and freeze it for later. (Meanwhile, have BLT’s, tomato/blueberry salad (small bits of tomato, blueberries, and a vinaigrette dressing, and so on.) If you or your library have back issues of Taste of Home magazine or cookbooks, they index by ingredient, which can provide inspiration. You might check out their website, too.
Send your zucchini to me!! I dont have a garden and the zucchinis at the grocery in my area are so small this summer they arent worth buying.
Lea Ann says
Two things we do with zucchini:
1. cut into thin rounds, saute in skillet with olive oil, that chopped garlic in a jar, salt & pepper, and some butter if you don’t mind the calories.
2. cut into SUPER thin rounds, heat up a skillet or fry daddy with oil, and flash fry those things like potato chips. sprinkle with salt. OMG these are so good.
Two good things to do with tomatoes:
1. Cut up into small pieces, toss with olive oil and shake on some Mrs. Dash Italian Medley seasoning. Sit in fridge for an hour, serve chilled.
2. Slice thick tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Done. You can add slices of mozzerrella in between tomato slices if you want. You can chop up some basil from your garden and sprinkle on top if you want.
If nothing else, make Zuchinni (or cucumber) boats! Make a “canoe” out of them, attach a paper sail and set afloat in a stream or backyard swimming pool :)
I’ve been wanting to make Zuchinni-Blueberry muffins ever since I saw it all AllRecipies a few weeks ago.
As far as dealing with the produce, try to use what is going to spoil first. You have a bit of time with the Zuch. – I’d start with the rasberries and wash/flash freeze them. You freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a freezer bag so you can pour out just what you need – you could even probably sub them for the blueberries in the recipe mentioned above.
This will only help with ONE of the zucchini, but here’s one of our family’s favorite recipes. My kids love it, and I like that it’s a one-pan dinner so it’s easy to make and clean up.
Wack up the zuc. in bite sized pieces and put it in a microwave dish, put in some salt, pepper and garlic and seal it with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3-5 min. The top should puff with steam. Don’t burn your fingeres when you open it. Put on some butter and cheese. I eat that a couple of times a week as a meal. Good for you fast food! If it’s not quite done, you can rewrap it and nuke it a little longer.
Someone gave me a recipe for “zuke-a-mole” (guacamole make from zucchini instead of avocado) a while back, but I’ve never tried it.
Make zucchini bread -freezes well lots of recipes- my mother-in-law made the best- my husband would not tell me when she brought us some- she found out and brought me my own loaf- the tomatos ,my mom would quarter and put on tray in freezer ,when they were frozen she would place in freezer bags and then add a few to sauce in the middle of winter -tasted like summer sauce- rich and fresh- raspberries belong with chocolate cake made with choclate ganache-the best dessert
Sarah MacRostie says
Do you have a dehydrator? They come in really handy – especially for using up ripe fruit. You can buy special ‘fruit peel’ trays for them, blend up a fruit puree, pour in, and in eight hours, voila! Healthy, tasty, fruit leather. Slices of watermelon turn into some crazy chewy fruit. My personal favorite is apples. I’d rather eat dried apple rings than a fresh apple. You can dry herbs, veggies (great for soups). Make raspberry waffles. Make lots. Freeze them. Pop them in the toaster (even at 9pm, cause it sounds sooo good).
My favorite way to eat zucchini:
Wash and slice into 1 inch thick rounds. Layer them in a baking dish. Cover with another layer of tomatoes (Roma is the best in this case) Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place generous dollops of Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese, or ricotta cheese) on top. Sprinkle with mozzarella, and grated parmesan or asiago. Bake at 375* until the cheese is bubbly and golden. About 20-30 min.
we used to grate and freeze zucchini to feed to our iguana but unless you have a very large vegetarian lizard that won’t work for you
Christina @ Northern Cheapskate says
@ Carrie – I think this is my favorite comment ever! It makes me almost want an iguana. :-)