Enjoy the fresh flavors of summertime any time of the year.
By Brian Haney
HELP!? My garden worked out WAY too well! Freezing, canning, dehydrating and
preserving my way out of an abundance of produce.
At the first hint of spring warming, you got an uncontrollable urge to feel dirt under your
fingernails. Out came the seed packets you saved from last year. Seed starting trays
and paper egg cartons you had been hoarding covered every square inch of available
sunny space in the windowsills. Those sunny windowsills worked for a while. The
seedlings sprouted, and you cared for them like family, until finally you were able to
plant them outside and really watch them take off!
Now, a couple of months later it’s summertime. It’s harvest time and you have a
problem, a big problem, but a really good problem. What are you going to do with all
those veggies? Tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash always seem to produce a lot
more than expected.
Here are a few ways to preserve and savor the bounty from your garden all year.
Freezing tomatoes is so easy and satisfying. If you have an abundance of red
tomatoes, let Diana from Wandering Hoof Ranch show you how to do it quickly, and
easily. How to Freeze Tomatoes Fresh from the Garden (wanderinghoofranch.com)
Using her method you will have plenty of garden-fresh tomato goodness any time you
want it. Use them in stews, soups, sauces or even in bread as you will learn later.
Or how about this one? Tracy, from Oh, the Things We’ll Make has a delicious and
versatile recipe for tomato powder. Use it in soups, stews or sauces to bring an intense
tomato flavor. Learn how to make your own tomato powder, dehydrate tomatoes or sun
dry tomatoes here: How to Make Tomato Powder.
Don’t put the dehydrator away just yet though.
Dehydrated zucchini chips are great for storing, preserving or snacking. Add ranch
seasoning, or dill, or salt and pepper while they’re drying to create your new favorite
treat. Zucchini is nearly 95% water so make sure to get all the water out of them, that
way all that is left is a deliciously healthy chip. Martha Piccolo has some tips for
dehydrating zucchini here. Dehydrating Zucchini Chips: 3 Easy Ways - Drying All
Zucchini and Yellow Squash can also be frozen. To enjoy the abundance your garden
has to offer any time of the year follow these easy steps from The Food Network
Kitchen. How to Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash.
Need some other options? How about Zucchini Pickles, or Zucchini Relish?
Zucchini is hardier than other vegetables which makes it a great choice for pickling, and
since you have so much zucchini, you’ll have plenty to share with everyone you know.
One large zucchini can fill 2 or 3 jars. Here is some great advice for making easy
zucchini pickles. Add your favorite seasonings again for spicy, or sweet, or bread and
butter style pickles. Easy Zucchini Pickles For Long-Term Storage.
For a homemade summertime twist, try zucchini relish anyplace you may use pickle
relish. Use it in egg salad, or on hot dogs. Make it spicy or sweet. Here’s a recipe
using sweet peppers, but you could use jalapeno peppers too, try this Zucchini Relish
Zucchini bread is always a good option and there are probably a thousand different
zucchini bread recipes out there. What about tomato bread? This will put an amazing spin on your grilled cheese sandwich or use your dehydrator again for easy tomato croutons.
There are so many ways to use the abundance of veggies you get from your own
backyard. Canning your own marinara sauce or making your own salsa can keep your
grocery bill down and give you a feeling of connectedness to the food you eat. After all,
you made it yourself!
My all-time favorite garden surplus go-to though, is Tomato Jam. This sweet spread with tomatoes, sugar and spices could easily replace ketchup in your
life forever! Try it and see. It may just be the whole reason you decide to plant a garden again next year.
Brian Haney is a writer and a traveler, and a nurse. A former West Virginia resident traveling the country and enjoying the small-town experience. "Superhighways connect us all, but the slow lane is where life really happens." Leave a comment or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.