How To Use All Those Summer Vegetables.

It's that time of year: all the plants to which you've so gingerly tended have returned the favor, with thousands of fruits and vegetables that you and your family can never eat.

Of course, you're thankful for the zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and the tomatoes....the countless, countless tomatoes.

Here's a couple options to use all that nature has provided. Please post your favorite tips below.
  • Kayln's Kitchen suggests slow roasting tomatoes and then freezing for later use.
  • All kinds of ideas from the Food Network.
  • Make Soup! Sure, you might not be ready for a steaming bowl when it's still 95 degrees, but you'll be happy to have it in your freezer once the chill of autumn hits.
  • Share it with your neighbors: Don't be obnoxious and force them on your pals. Simply put up a sign on your mailbox, or even throw up a post on Craigslist.
  • Can them. If you've got the cannery skills and know-how,  use them to preserve your garden's gifts. If you don't know how to can vegetables, don't try without serious research and the appropriate tools. Improperly canned items are not preserved, and will grow all sorts of nasties.
  • Freeze them. Slice eggplant and summer squash/zucchini into long strips, then salt liberally and allow the moisture to come out for 1-3 hours. Pat dry, then chop and store in freezer bags.
  • Give them away. Donate produce to local food centers, co-ops, soup kitchens, and churches. They can certainly use your veggies, or can point you to someone that can.
[Heirloom Tomato photo from Tastefulgarden.com]

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Keter on Sep 05, 2007:

Lots of rain this year meant TONS of figs -- more than the birds and squirrels could eat, which meant I actually got some this year!  Voila, enough fig preserves for a year.  Next year I'll have a garden and will be doing a lot more canning, freezing...and let's not forget drying!

One year's basil yields three times as much dried leaves as needed for cooking...dry the tomatoes that can't be eaten or canned fast enough for intense flavor later...you get the idea.

jasimar on Aug 29, 2007:

israeli salad.  cucumbers, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes, olive oil, lemons juiced and sea salt.  make a ton, it goes fast.

purees are great frozen. 

Caya123 on Aug 29, 2007:

In summer, when my place is fully shaded and nearly 10 degrees cooler than everyone elses', it is very nice. However if there was so much as a spot on my place that got anywhere near a day's sun, where I could put even one tomato plant in a pot, I'd do it. SOOOOO jealous!

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