Delicious Meals Straight from the Summer Garden

“The garden did well this year. Here,” you say to neighbors and complete strangers as you unload the excess of fruits and vegetables, hoping if you give away enough, your menu for the week will expand past various salads. 

Southeast Dairy Association - Peachy Gouda and Ham Skewers

The common fruits are easy enough. Once you’ve finished ambrosia, fruit salads, ice creams, pies and fresh slices at breakfast, others are quick to take you up on the offer, especially if they can pick their choices. Sweet and versatile, the conventional fruits are easy enough to go through. 

The problem comes with vegetables and herbs. There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s so easy to feel trapped. Sure, it’s convenient to have these grow in your yard or a corner of your kitchen. But once you have it on hand, you take it for granted or realize you severely miscalculated how much you would consume at one time. You enjoy them and your garden pays for the time and effort itself, but perhaps it does so a little too well. 

Canning is an option, but how much will you really go through the rest of the year? No, the solution is obvious: give it all away. 

Plenty of people are happy to accept free food. There are likely a few home chefs that mark on their calendar when you’ll likely stop by with your box of goodies this season. Yet you are getting better at gardening every day, and your harvest grows faster than your prowess in the kitchen. You don’t want the hassle of a business your garden clearly thinks it must grow for. It’s time to expand your menu with recipes that work for you. 

Southeast Dairy Association - Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup

When figuring out how to quickly make your way through cucumbers, the first thing that comes to mind might be lots of cucumber slices to place over your eyes. And while swapping out cucumber slices for fresh ones every 30 minutes sounds relaxing and wow, your eyes are much less puffy than normal, that’s not a realistic solution. Instead, try making a chilled soup to beat the hot summer heat or make a cucumber yogurt mix that is great for Mediterranean food. Still, save a few slices. You’re going to eat good food and have your eyes looking fabulous. 

When you realize that you messed up your markers and you actually grew lots of zucchini, not cucumbers, make fritters for a new favorite that will use up your surprise surplus. 

Southeast Dairy Association - rustic tomato and cheese tart

Tomatoes seem easy enough to eat lots of in a short time. Add slices to sandwiches and burgers. Dice them for casseroles, bowls and tacos. It’s easy enough to go through tomatoes, but you need some inspiration once you get into the routine of a few tomato-based meals. Try a recipe like a rustic tart or a cheesy quiche for a recipe that can be enjoyed anytime of the day. For a meal everyone in the family can enjoy, including the one that annoyingly hates tomatoes, sneak juicy slices into a pizza

Corn is a vegetable you might automatically think to make creamed corn or add to chili. If you’re already making this, use your latest round of green beans for a nostalgic casserole to pair with it. For something more original, enjoy Cheesy Corn Fritters or have a classic corn chowder with a twist. 

Share your harvest with friends and save a little for later, but now, you have no excuse to not enjoy the food you made yourself. 

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