Late Summer Recipes using Garden-Fresh Veggies
August 15, 2022
6 min. read
As summer comes to an end, you may be wondering what to do with your surplus of veggies you’ve harvested from your garden or picked from a local market or farm. So before you let all that great produce go to waste, explore our list below of fresh recipes and food preservation techniques.
Note: this blog focuses primarily on tomatoes and zucchini, but we’ll include tips for other summer faves along the way.
1. Enjoy Them Fresh
It’s no secret that the best way to savor the taste of summer-ripe fruits and veggies is to eat them just after they’ve been picked. Fresh summer produce like tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and more always tastes best when perfectly ripe at the peak of the season.
The problem is…it can be difficult to find enough ways to utilize fresh fruits and veggies or to consume them in the right about of time. That’s where we come in! Check out these featured recipe ideas to learn how to make the most of your late-summer garden haul.
Featured Recipe #1: Tomato and Zucchini Panzanella
This bright and sunny salad combines lightly sautéed zucchini and red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, mozzarella pearls, cubed Martin’s Hoagie Rolls-turned garlic bread croutons, fresh basil, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette to create a refreshing dish that perfectly balances each individual element.
View recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/zucchini-panzanella
Featured Recipe #2: Summer Veggie Strata
For a heart-warming summer casserole option, try this showstopper of a dish! This picturesque strata is filled with six different thinly-sliced and sautéed veggies including zucchini, yellow squash, assorted bell peppers, red onion, and fresh mushrooms, along with whipped cream cheese, eggs, garlic, Swiss cheese, cubed Martin’s Butter Bread, salt, and pepper. After baking for 80-90 minutes and being left to cool slightly, it can then be removed from the springform pan and plated for serving.
View recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/summer-veggie-strata
Watch a step-by-step video tutorial for this recipe below!
Additional Summer Fruit and Veggie Resources:
For delicious recipes using freshly picked sweet corn, like this Summer Corn Bruschetta check out our Summer Corn Recipes blog.
Use your garden vegetables to make homemade pico de gallo or traditional tomato bruschetta with our Homegrown Gardening Tips blog.
Do you have a plethora of freshly picked berries? Build a Summer Berry French Toast Bar to make creations like this Berry Breakfast Panzanella.
2. Freeze Them
If you still aren’t able to enjoy your fresh summer veggies and fruits in time, you can also freeze many of them so that you have a steady supply throughout the coming season.
Here are a few tips:
- Tomatoes – Freeze tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water, removing the stems and cores, and then storing them whole in a plastic freezer bag. Frozen tomatoes are great for use in soups, sauces, and salsas!
- Zucchini – You can also freeze blanched zucchini in many different forms: slices or cubes (for use in soups or sautéed dishes), spiralized “noodles” or ribbons (as a pasta alternative), or shredded/grated (for use in zucchini bread or quiche dishes).
- Peppers & Onions – Freeze chopped onions and peppers raw in a freezer storage bag.
- Other Veggies – Other summer veggies such as corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and dark leafy greens also freeze very well after being blanched.
- Berries – Whole or sliced berries freeze exceptionally well.
- Stone fruits – Stone fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, or nectarines can be peeled, pitted, and sliced, and then frozen as well.
3. Can Them
Many fruits can be transformed into delicious jams and jellies with a few simple steps. If you follow proper canning techniques, these jarred preserves will also be shelf stable for use in the following months.
Explore the following resources:
- How to Make Homemade Jam
Our step-by-step resource guide takes you through the process of turning fresh fruit (namely, peaches) into homemade fruit preserves. It also includes a universal jam recipe that can be customized for use with other fruits such as fresh berries.
- Tomato Jam – You can also turn tomatoes into jam using a similar technique to the one described above. As an example, see this recipe from The Suburban Soapbox.
- Canned Tomatoes – You can also can whole, diced, or pureed tomatoes (peeled) for future use in sauces, soups, and stews. Check out this resource from The Spruce Eats to learn how.
- Canned Tomato Sauce – Take it one step further and turn your fresh tomatoes into a seasoned Italian-style spaghetti sauce prior to canning, using this recipe from Taste of Home.
4. Dehydrate Them
Use a food dehydrator or low-temperature oven to dehydrate your favorite fruits or veggies. By removing the moisture, the produce can last for a longer period of time.
Try these techniques:
- Zucchini Chips – Turn your fresh zucchini harvest into a batch of crispy, air fried zucchini ‘chips’ using this recipe how-to.
- Oven-Dried Tomatoes – Use your oven to dry out Roma or plum tomatoes, then store them in a jar with olive oil in the refrigerator for up to two months. Try this method from The Kitchn.
- Dry Fresh Herbs – Dry out fresh herbs in a low-level oven (around 170° or 180°F) until crisp, then crumble and store in an air-tight container. Use this article from Southern Living as guide. (Tip: If your oven doesn’t reach that low of a temperature, try preheating it to as low as it will go, then turning the oven off and letting the herbs dry inside while the heat slowly dissipates.)
5. Pickle Them
Pickling is another great way to preserve your favorite produce long after the season has ended. Certain pickling techniques can produce shelf-stable foods and extend the shelf life immensely. As an added bonus, pickled foods add a complex taste and depth of flavor to any dish!
- Pickling Made Easy – Use our detailed how-to guide to learn all about the various methods of pickling and find a beginner level recipe for Quick Pickles (a.k.a. refrigerator pickles) that can be used to pickle anything from cucumbers to onions, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, and more!
- Pickled Zucchini – Did you know you can also pickle zucchini? Some say that zucchini pickles are even better than traditional cucumber ones due to their lower water concentration! Try these recipes for Quick-Pickled Zucchini or shelf-stable Zucchini Pickles.
More Summer Recipes You May Enjoy:
Browse these additional ideas using fresh summer produce like zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and sweet corn!
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