Enjoying the Bounty of a Summer Garden

For many people, there’s nothing like growing your own food. It’s healthy, cost-effective, #sustainable and above all, delicious! And if you followed some of The Organizing Blog’s previous #gardening tips, you’re probably drowning in fresh summer produce right now.

What to do with all of those garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, melons, peaches and other delicacies is the question. If you’re anything like us, you planted with abandon eight to 10 weeks ago, and now must do whatever you can to make the most of that fresh produce.

One way is to share some of that bounty with friends, family and neighbors who don’t have the same amount or variety of produce. Whether they have the space or the ambition to grow their own fresh food or not, nobody is going to turn their nose up at a ripe heirloom tomato.

Another way to take advantage of summer’s bounty is to try a new recipe (or several). Base your meal plan on whatever produce you have in abundance, and you may wind up discovering a dish that you can revisit again even in the off-season.

Speaking of the off-season, there are plenty of ways to keep and store some of that produce for cloudier and colder days. Too many tomatoes? Make and freeze some marinara for a lasagna. Got lots of corn? Cut it off the cob and freeze the kernels in bagged portions for anytime use.

Many summer fruits and vegetables can be processed, portioned and frozen quickly for later use including peaches, plums, watermelon and peppers. Got bumper crop of basil? Make pesto ice cubes and pull one out any time you need to flavor a pasta or meat dish.

Freezing summer produce can make it last up to six months, but if you really want to put things up like the pioneers, try your hand at home canning. It’s simpler than it sounds, and you can make tons of sauces, pickles and jams that you can tap into for months — or give as gifts.

Even if you didn’t grow your own fruits and vegetables this year, don’t let summer’s bounty go to waste. Visit a local farmers market to get some of the freshest, healthiest foods you’ll taste all year. (And get enough to share!)

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