So you had a fun time planting things in the garden this year and you had fairly good success! Now what? By the time August gets here I am usually burnt out on working in the heat and, regretfully, will just avoid the garden and allow the produce to ripen and rot, right on the vine. Then I feel bad. Guilty. All those starving kids in Africa that my parents told me about. In order to help myself get more done during this time, I decided to find the MOST simple ways to use or save this produce and not let it go to waste.
*This post contains affiliate links to products or companies that I truly love and believed in before I joined the affiliate program. If you use these links to make a purchase, I will be compensated at no extra cost to you.*
- Drying herbs is very simple and once they are dried, you use them just like you use the herbs you buy at the grocery store!
After cutting or picking the herbs, give them a gentle rinse and shake off most of the water. Spread them out on paper towels and let them sit for a couple of weeks. During that time, turn them over, or stir them up to allow air to get to all sides. Click on the following link for more detailed information on Drying Herbs.
Once they are crackly dry, crunch them up and put them in bottles. Or ziploc bags work too. Be sure to label them so you don’t mix up which ones are which. Trust me.
Use freely in your cooking!
- Herbs are also great fillers in centerpiece bouquets. They add a great fragrance and lots of texture. My favorites to use are eucalyptus, fennel, dill, and parsley. Click the following link to see my Herbal Bouquet.
Bell peppers freeze well. After washing them and allowing them to dry, dice them up and put in freezer bags and chunk into the freezer! Use in any recipe that calls for bell pepper that will be cooked.
Pickling is my favorite way to preserve jalapenos.
- Save that jar of pickling juice from a store bought (or farmers market) jar of jalapenos. Wash & dry jalapenos. Slice and drop into the jar of pickling juice. Let sit for at least two weeks. (four weeks is better!) Wear gloves when slicing peppers. Sandwich bags works too! Ask me how I know… and yes, I also wore bread bags over my shoes when playing outside when it snowed.
- If you don’t have any leftover pickling juice from a store bought jar, it is easy to make your own. Simmer 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 TBS salt, 1-3 TBS sugar and pour over sliced jalapenos which have been packed into jar.
But my next way to try using them is this Candied Jalapenos recipe from Brooklyn Farm Girl. Reading makes my mouth water in anticipation!
- Make hot pepper sauce! After washing and drying, cook red peppers with white vinegar, salt, garlic and water for 20 minutes. Then puree, strain out solids and bottle. SIMPLE! Be sure to turn on your exhaust fan and open windows unless its 1000 degrees out like it was here when I made mine.
- Make Pepper Vinegar. Fill jar, or any glass container with peppers and cover with apple cider vinegar.
- After washing and drying, cut them up and place in freezer bags. Label with date. Use anytime you are cooking a tomato based dish like spaghetti sauce, chili, or lasagna.
- Fill a pot with tomatoes and cook until soft and falling apart. Let cool. Put in freezer bags, label and freeze. Use in any tomato based dish.
- Salsa Verde! So easy to make and we love it even more than red salsa.
- Use in roasted vegetable dishes for a delicious twang. Cut vegetables into chunks. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned and vegetables are soft. The combinations are endless, but here are some I’ve tried:
- Potato, tomatillo, bell pepper, garlic, squash
- tomatillo, broccoli, onion, garlic, eggplant
Just add chicken to your fall vegetables, like The Schmidty Wife did, and you have your whole meal done in minutes!
These are all very simple and quick recipes for your fall produce that make up in about 30 minutes. Of course if you factor in the pickling time, you could say some of them take 672 hours…but who’s counting!
If you want specific and detailed recipes, check back here and I’ll be linking to those as I get them posted. Here are some that are available now: