Today’s Ten on Tuesday topic comes from my friend, Bev, and I think it’s both timely and interesting. About this time in the season we’re all inundated with tomatoes and zucchini and cucumbers, right? So, let’s talk about 10 Ways to Deal with an Overabundance of Produce.
- Eat as many as possible while they are fresh. I’m about to mention several ways to do other things but eating them fresh out of the garden is still the best way to enjoy all those yummy veggies.
- Can them. I’ve had good luck with tomatoes and have made spaghetti sauce and salsa in the past. I’ve had minimal luck with pickles, it’s been kind of hit or miss on that one. I’d like to try making dilled green beans at some point but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
- Freeze them. I understand that fresh corn and green beans can be frozen very well. This doesn’t solve my squash problem, though. I tried freezing zucchini and summer squash once and it was inedible.
- Bake sweet bread. There are loads of recipes that use grated squash to add moisture, texture, and flavor. I’ve made zucchini bread many times but haven’t tried summer squash bread just yet.
- Pasta salad. Chop chop chop, mix with cooked pasta and a bit of salad dressing and you’ve got a big bowl of pasta salad that is great for lunches or sides with dinner.
- Sneak the vegetables into regular recipes. This works particularly well with grated zucchini. I’ve added it to hamburger when making sloppy joes and no one even noticed. I got to use 1/2 the amount of burger and added loads of fiber while cutting out the fat and calories. I’ve also made chocolate cake with grated zucchini and that is delicious.
- Make soup. This is a great way to use lots of vegetables but the problem is that soup isn’t very appealing in the middle of August. My advice is to make soup and freeze it.
- Unless you make gazpacho, of course. That will use up your tomatoes and so much more and it’s cold and refreshing and healthy. Win-win-win.
- Make stir fry. Or kabobs. Mix all those vegetables with a bit of protein and you’ve got a quick and delicious dinner.
- Share! Lots of people don’t have gardens of their own or CSAs so sharing is a great way to spread the veggie love around. Bring them to work, bring them to your family members, leave them on a porch after dark!
Seanna Lea says
I forgot to include sneaking the vegetables in! I cannot believe it.
With zucchini, you can cut long thin strips (carefully with a mandoline) and use them in place of part of the noodles to make a lasagna. I’ve only done it once when I had run out of noodles, but it works fine!
Great list, Carole! There are so many ways to use your veggies. (I think this week’s lists are going to make me hungry. . .)
Yum, pasta salad!!
A good dish for summer and zucchini squash is to slice and layer each with bread crumbs and two or three types of cheese. It’s easy and everyone loves crunchy cheese!
Garrison Keeler once remarked that if you left your car unlocked on Main Street in small-town Minnesota you risked coming back to find a package of zucchini on the front seat.
Great and timely topic! I needed the reminder about #10 – perfect!
Your last idea was especially appealing. A cold rainy spell during prime planting time followed by time away as delegates to our church’s annual conference led to us not getting in anything but early growing herbs and our rhubarb (a perennial) which is making a serious attempt to take over our entire small garden. Thank goodness for farmers’ markets! Jo
ive had very good luck freezing yellow squash by peeling slightly, slicing, blanching and packaging in food saver vacuum bags. We had garden squash at Thanksgiving one year! I shred zucchini, drain it well, and freeze without blanching….just dump in soups, meatloaf, breads, etc.
i have also grated a carrot or 2 into sauce, it eliminates the need to add sugar.
moosewood cookbook has an outstanding recipe for zucanoes.
Linda M says
and of course you can make lots of zucchini bread and then freeze the baked goods!
Mary K. in Rockport says
To add to Margene’s suggestion for zucchini, bread crumb and cheese casserole, adding tomatoes and onion to that mix is even more delish. I once made an extremely delicious chocolate/zucchini cake which everyone liked until they noticed the little green bits. Now my family looks suspiciously at every cake I make in the late summer.
Beverly (db81971) says
I often grate zucchini and freeze it in 1 cut portions. It is great for making muffins and bread in winter. Used pounds of it for mini loves as xmas presents for mailman/ups driver/ etc.
what a great list! (and if any of my close-by friends have bounty to share, I won’t complain a bit 🙂
You are making me hungry. My #2 list item would have been make the world’s most expensive compost. *sigh*
We simply eat a lot of squash this time of year! We’re covered in green tomatoes which will mean roasting some and freezing others in marinara. The raspberries never make it inside and the dern cat keeps eating the strawberries! We have eggplant this year – something I’ve not used much, but am looking forward to in-cooperating into my repertoire. I love produce and need to join a CSA or get a better start to my garden next year!
We do both kinds of squash by slicing into planks, a bit of EVOO and S&P and then onto the grill. Yummy side dish, sometimes they go in our fajitas. And I agree you can shred and freeze the squash for later baking. Zuke planks cut thin can be subbed for or added to lasagna noodles. We put ’em on pizza, which you can do on the grill to keep the heat out. You can also slice thinly and put in a viniagrette with some Italian herbs for a side salad. And if you’re really running behind, nip those flowers off and do the tempura thing with them. Tasty and really gets the squash under control!
I just bought a VitaMix at tax-free weekend and hoping that helps. Norma’s posts about smoothies were finally too much!