Farm to Fork Guide
Easy Zucchini Recipes for Your Surplus
By Marissa Ames
If you’re new to gardening, you’ve probably researched when to plant squash, how to grow zucchini and which zucchini varieties to choose, only to hear jokes about locking your car doors while at church or you’ll find your vehicle stuffed with produce. Three times a year you might find offerings on your doorstep: May Day, the winter holidays, and zucchini season. Unless your garden suffers a tragedy, you’ll soon need some easy zucchini recipes.
A very versatile food, all zucchini varieties can be harvested before the blossom even pollinates. Steamed baby fruit sit beautifully beside garlic-butter polenta and chicken parmesan. Young zucchini, about 8-12 inches long, have the most flavor. After that, the taste may decline but the versatility doesn’t. And even if you don’t see the dark green squash until they remind you of submarines, you can still use them as something other than baseball bats.
To harvest, either cut through the stem with garden pruners or gently twist the fruit in a continuous circle until the stem breaks and separates. Then use the easy zucchini recipes.
Soups and Sides
Spinach and Zucchini Soup: Garden veggies, a little oil, and a pinch of salt go into this easy Vegan delight.
Marinated Salad: Cook pasta such as macaroni or penne. Drain, cool, and toss with a little oil. Dice grilled or raw zucchini. Throw in some chopped fresh herbs, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and maybe thin slivers of salami. Toss with Italian salad dressing and serve lukewarm or cold.
Mama Ghannouj: Also called zucchini hummus, this easy zucchini recipe uses squash instead of eggplant or garbanzo beans. Tahini can be expensive as an initial purchase but a little goes a long way with Mediterranean dishes.
Zucchini Spears: Cut zucchini into equal-sized spears or sticks. In one bowl, mix panko crumbs or cornmeal with the seasoning mix of your choice, such as seasoned salt. In a second bowl, beat a couple eggs. Add a little flour to the third. Dip zucchini spears first into the flour, then into the egg, and finally roll them around in the panko. Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Zucchini Fritters: Oil a baking sheet. Drop large spoons full of batter onto the sheet then gently flatten. Bake at 400 degrees F until the fritters begin to turn golden brown.
Sauteed Garlic Zucchini: Probably the simplest recipe aside from eating a zucchini stick, this one involves chopping or slicing the vegetable then sauteeing it with butter or oil and minced garlic. Top with fresh or dried herbs and sea salt.
Raw Zucchini-Tomato Pasta: Make zoodles (raw noodles) by running zucchini through a spiral cutter or simply by using a vegetable peeler to make long, thin slices. Raw marinara is simple: crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, salt, and fresh herbs. Top with a little cheese and serve unheated to take advantage of live enzymes.
Lightly Cooked Zucchini Noodles: While you cook pasta, shave zucchini with a vegetable peeler into thin noodles. Heat up your sauce at the same time. While the pasta is still boiling, toss the zucchini into the water and stir. Only wait a minute or two. Now drain both pasta and zucchini into a colander and lightly rinse with warm water. Top with pasta sauce.
Lasagna: Cut hundreds of calories and make lasagna grain-free by using zucchini instead of noodles. Cut zucchini lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slabs. Brush both sides with oil and roast at 400 degrees F until cooked all the way through but still holds its shape. Layer zucchini with ricotta cheese, sauce, and desired meat. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-60 minutes, depending on pan size, until the lasagna is heated through.
Quiche: Add cheese or leave it out. Add meat or make it vegetarian. For a crustless quiche, grease a pie plate then sprinkle generously with cornmeal or flax seed and tilt the pan to completely coat it. Toss vegetables into the crust, sprinkle with desired cheese, then finish filling with the egg and dairy mixture.
Mini Pizzas: Cut large zucchini into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Brush oil on both sides and then broil or grill for two minutes. Spread with a spoonful of pizza sauce and top with mozzarella then broil for another couple minutes, being careful not to burn the cheese.
Zucchini Kebabs: If using wooden skewers, soak them for at least 30 minutes before grilling. Two hours is better. Alternate zucchini with peppers, pineapple chunks, small onions, meat, or marinated firm tofu. Broil or grill until the meat is cooked completely. Brush with teriyaki sauce or sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds.
Zucchini Fajitas: A classic southwest dish turns vegetarian when you saute sliced zucchini instead of meat. Include red and green bell peppers and onions then sprinkle with lime juice, salt, and chili powder as it all cooks. Serve in warm flour or corn tortillas. To make this dish vegan, top with guacamole instead of sour cream and be sure your tortillas don’t contain lard.
Zucchini Boats: If you didn’t check your garden for a couple days and your squash have grown to resemble a size 13 shoe, don’t despair. Slice them down the middle and scoop out those overgrown seeds. Fill with rice, cooked beef or chicken, chopped onions, almond or pecan gems, cubed cheese, fresh herbs, and maybe some dried cranberries. The combinations are vast. Bake at 350 degrees F until zucchini is tender. Top with desired sauce such as ketchup, teriyaki, or a sweet chili sauce.
Zucchini Bread: This easy zucchini recipe uses less oil than most zucchini breads. To make it even healthier, replace the oil with applesauce. Switch out one cup of the cake flour for rolled oats. Add a couple tablespoons of flax or sunflower seeds. Trade the chocolate for nuts or dried fruit.
Zucchini Cookies: Not everything on the list is healthy, but you can justify this recipe because of the vegetables and protein-rich eggs. If you need another nutritional boost, substitute some of the flour for whole wheat or for rolled oats.
Waffles: This incredibly healthy recipe is easy. First, remove excess liquid by sprinkling zucchini with a teaspoon of kosher salt and drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse, squeeze out as much water as possible. Then follow the directions.
Zucchini Cornbread: A favorite side dish to comforting soups just got healthier. Try this one with zucchini you have grated then frozen, then thawed and drained, for a wintertime treat.
Zucchini Pickles: The Ball canning book says, “Why confine pickling to cucumbers? Other vegetables make delicious pickles. The book’s recipe “Pick-a-Vegetable” dill pickles suggests using zucchini, mini carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and green or yellow beans in place of cucumbers. The vinegar’s acidity is so high that switching out these vegetables is perfectly safe. Just be sure to cut the vegetables into similar widths so they cook evenly and don’t reduce the vinegar or sugar in the recipe.
Dehydrated Zucchini Chips: You wouldn’t consider zucchini to be a sweet food until you’ve condensed the sugars by removing the liquid. Thinly slice into coins about 1/8 inch thick then arrange in a single layer in a food dehydrator. Set dial to 135°F. If you start drying at night, you’ll have chips in the morning in time to pack for school lunches.
Chicken Food: If those dark green fruits hide under leaves and you don’t discover them until they’re as long as a baseball bat, they can still feed you in the form of eggs. Slice the zucchini lengthwise so chickens can eat the seeds first then move on through the flesh. If you don’t have chickens, find someone who does and offer to trade for fresh eggs.
An Easier Way of Making Tomato Sauce From Scratch
Making Italian Tomato Sauce from Scratch Doesn’t Have to Take All Day
By Marissa Ames
You’ve mastered how to care for tomato plants. Now you want a tomato canning recipe, or just an easier way of making tomato sauce from scratch. Would you like to go from vine to table in less than an hour? Grandma’s method involved washing the tomatoes then blanching them to remove the skins … then dicing, cooking, and simmering for hours. And that was before she ever added the spices. But there’s a better way. I suggested this method to a friend after I saw her pots of sauce and splattered stove top. She never went back to the old method.
Roasting tomatoes serves a twofold purpose: It intensifies the flavor and separates the solids from the liquid. Some moisture evaporates during roasting while the rest sinks down around the tomatoes. The skins allow you to lift tomatoes out of the excess liquid.
Wash ripe tomatoes then cut out the stem end and any bad spots. Slice lengthwise down the middle. Place cut-side-up in a roasting pan.
Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs, fresh pressed garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft all the way through. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool.
Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully lift them from the liquid. Either purée the entire tomato or squeeze the pulp from the skins. Discard the skins or dehydrate them to make tomato powder for soups and seasonings.
In a saucepan on medium heat, add in additional seasonings, vinegar, salt, pepper flakes, cheese, or meat. Simmer just long enough to blend flavors then serve over pasta.
Tomato Sauce Variations
Chunky Garden Marinara
Before placing tomatoes in the roasting pan, line the bottom with peeled and diced carrots, onions, sweet or hot peppers, celery, or whatever other vegetables you like in your marinara. Once the sauce is done, either chop the roasted vegetables or purée them together. Season as desired
Roasted Red Pepper Soup Base
Cut red bell peppers in half and remove seeds. Brush oil on all sides. Place peppers in the pan beside the tomatoes, sprinkle with desired seasonings, and roast as directed above. While the tomatoes cool, place peppers in a plastic zippered bag to sweat. Remove pepper skins, squeeze tomatoes from their skins, and blend it all together
The key here is thickness. Adding a couple carrots to the roasting pan gives the sauce substance and added nutrition. Once the vegetables are cooked and purée, strain through a fine mesh sieve if it is still not thick enough. Add additional herbs, Parmesan or Romano cheeses, salt, and a little sweetener such as honey or raw sugar.
Tomatoes for Canning
Do not add any other ingredients, including oil and salt. Tomatoes only for this recipe. Roast until soft then allow to cool. After this point you can follow an approved safe tomato canning recipe, adding in acid or seasoning as directed.
Do you have a full-spectrum garden? Consider using black tomatoes such as Black Krim and dark carrots like Purple 68, then season with Purple Ruffles basil. Or use Pineapple or Cream Sausage tomatoes, Yellowbunch carrots, sweet banana peppers, and a light sweet basil. Use for recipes where contrasting hues provide a stunning kick.
It’s easy to take your best tasting tomatoes and master making tomato sauce from scratch. Roast them to eliminate hours of work and to savor your garden’s bounty without taking all day.
That’s it! For a chunky sauce, simply squeeze out the pulp, chop up, and season as desired. A smooth marinara can be made by blending the tomatoes with spices. If the sauce is too thick, add in liquid from the bottom of the pan.
Cooking Peppers for 9 Delicious Recipes
Going Beyond a Basic Green Pepper Recipe
By Jim Hunter
Unknown in the old world before Columbus, capsicums were brought to Europe by the Spaniards. Then their cultivation spread across the globe. Today, people in every corner of the world want to know how to grow peppers. Once you master the art of growing peppers, you’ll need tips on cooking peppers for your abundant harvest.
All fruits of the capsicums are low in calories, are rich in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They also contain fair amounts of calcium, carbohydrates, iron, and phosphorus. They are richer than any vegetable in Vitamin C with half a raw sweet pepper having the daily amount of that vitamin required by the body.
Cooking peppers is easy. Here are nine recipes and instructions on how to prepare your peppers. Enjoy!
PICKLED HOT PEPPERS
1 pound green or red chilies
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
3 cups water
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup white vinegar
4 dried cayenne peppers
2 tablespoons pickling salt
4 heads fresh dill
Wash and dry peppers. Make two small slits in each pepper. In a pan combine water, vinegar, salt, honey, garlic, and bring to a boil. Pack peppers into hot pint jars with one-half inch head space. Add one head fresh dill, and one dried cayenne to each jar. Adjust lids, process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Makes four pints.
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1-2 stemmed, seeded, minced jalapeños
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cilantro
1-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
Cook onions in oil until tender, but not brown. Purée tomatoes. Mix tomatoes, minced peppers, and cilantro into a bowl. Chill. Makes two cups.
NACHO CHEESE DIP
1/2 pound mild cheese
3 tablespoons milk
Combine milk and cheese and stir over low heat until cheese melts. Stem, seed, mince, and stir peppers into cheese. Pour hot cheese dip over nacho chips, fresh cut vegetables, or baked potato.
CORN STUFFED PEPPERS
6 medium sweet peppers
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 finely chopped onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 finely chopped hot pepper
3 cups frozen or fresh corn
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 beaten eggs
Cut out stem ends of peppers, remove seeds, but save ends. Sauté onion, garlic and hot pepper. Add all ingredients, except eggs. Cover and cook 10 minutes, remove from heat, and stir in eggs. Stuff peppers with the corn mixture, replace the stem ends, place in casserole dish, add one-half cup water. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes, or until peppers are done.
6 sweet red peppers
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
2 garlic cloves
Seed peppers and cut into one-inch pieces. Put remaining ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Add pepper pieces and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, remove from heat and place in a glass container. Cover and let stand overnight before serving, or fill pint jars, seal, and process for 10 minutes.
PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP
4 tablespoons cooking oil
2 chopped onions
6 crushed cloves garlic
1 finely chopped hot pepper
2 chopped large sweet peppers
4 cups stewed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoons allspice
4 cups water
Sauté onions, garlic, and hot pepper in oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 20 minutes until pepper pieces are done.
CABBAGE AND PEPPER SALAD
4 cups shredded cabbage
2 chopped sweet red peppers
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Put cabbage, peppers, and green onion in a salad bowl and mix. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the vegetables. Toss just before serving.
PEPPER AND RICE
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 finely chopped sweet pepper
1 chopped onion
2 crushed cloves garlic
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Sauté pepper, onion, and garlic in oil. Add rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium/ low heat for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the rice to cook in its steam for 30 minutes.
EGGPLANT AND PEPPER SALAD
4 large sweet red peppers
4 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Boil eggplant and peppers until they blister on all sides, remove and let cool.
Skin eggplant and peppers, cut into strips and put in a salad bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients, marinate for 1-2 hours, and then stir and serve.
A Tasty Recipe for 3-Bean Salad
Moving Beyond My Dilly Bean Recipe
By Erin Phillips
I have made my Dilly Bean recipe more times than I can count. When I picked my most recent harvest, I just couldn’t stand the thought of another round of Dilly Beans so I went in search of something new to make. In my Ball Blue Book: Guide To Preserving, I found a recipe for 3-bean salad. This classic recipe called for different kinds of beans than the ones I grew as well as some ingredients I didn’t have at hand so I modified it a little. I am going to share with you what I came up with in case you, too, can’t stand that Dilly Bean recipe anymore.
First, I began in the garden. I picked from a variety of plants so I’d have a mix of at least three beans for my salad. In the spring when I was reading about how to grow green beans, I kept seeing that they do well on trellises, so my husband made me one for my plants. It has worked magnificently for growing string beans. I decided against growing bush beans because I wanted mine to climb and use the trellis. The varieties I ended up with were: Kentucky Wonder Pole, Purple Podded Pole, Sultan’s Golden Crescent, and Ideal Market. I purchased all my seed from Seed Savers Exchange.
So, back to the garden. I picked and picked until I had a huge basket of beans.
That evening, I spent the whole length of a movie trimming and cutting the beans into 1” pieces. I ended up with about five pounds of trimmed assorted garden beans.
The next day, I sliced a large red onion into thin strips.
I also picked seven small sweet peppers from the garden and cut them into small pieces. This amounted to about two and a half cups of peppers.
I mixed all of these vegetables in a large pot and covered them with water. The pot went on the stove until it was boiling. I cooked the vegetables about ten minutes then drained them in a colander.
Meanwhile, I made the brine by mixing eight cups of cider vinegar, four and a half cups of water, three tablespoons of salt, two and a half teaspoons of celery seed, two and a half tablespoons of mustard seed and two cups of honey.
I brought this to a boil for a few minutes to blend the flavors. It was a beautiful golden color speckled with herbs and spices.
Now I was ready to fill my jars. I always sterilize my jars in the dishwasher. You can also put them in your boiling canning pot to do the same thing. I packed the clean jars with the cooked vegetables and poured brine over them, leaving about a half-inch of headspace. After wiping the rims and applying the lids and bands, the jars went into a hot water bath for 15 minutes. This quantity made five and a half quart jars.
Here is the 3-bean recipe in a shorter version, for use in your kitchen. Print it out and tuck it in with your list of things to try! In case you want to try the Dilly Bean recipe I made most of the summer, I’ll give you that too. My middle stepson loves Dilly Beans. He just eats them out of the jar with a fork, but my husband and I enjoy putting them on sandwiches for an added crunch. A friend of mine told me she likes to put them in a martini instead of an olive — lots of possibilities!
Recipe for 3-Bean Salad
(modified from Ball Blue Book: Guide To Preserving)
5 lbs garden beans, washed, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2.5 c sweet peppers (about 7), diced
8 c apple cider vinegar
4.5 c water
3 T salt
2 c honey
2.5 T mustard seed
2.5 t celery seed
5 to 6 quart jars
Trim and cut up all your vegetables. Mix them together in a large pot and fill the pot with water to cover.
Bring the water to a boil and cook ten minutes. Drain the vegetables and set them aside.
Make your brine by mixing together the final six ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt.
Pack your prepared jars with cooked vegetables. Pour hot brine over to fill, leaving about ½” headspace.
Wipe rims. Apply lids and bands. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove the jars and let them cool.
Check seals, clean jars, and label contents.
Erin’s Dilly Beans
2.5 c apple cider vinegar
2.5 c water
2 heaping T salt
2 lbs green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut in half
5 t dill seed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2.5 t black peppercorns
Handful of fresh dill, pulled apart into sprigs that will fit into jars
5 pint jars
- Sterilize 5 pint-sized jars in your canning pot or the dishwasher.
- Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
- To each sterilized jar add 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 clove of garlic (or 2-3 cloves if you prefer garlicky pickles), 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, and a few sprigs of fresh dill.
- Pack the beans into the jars. If you put a towel on the counter and tap the jar gently on it, the beans will settle nicely down into the jar.
- Pour the hot brine over the beans, leaving about 1/2” headspace at the top.
- Wipe the top of the jars. Apply the lids and bands. Process 10 minutes.
- Remove jars and let them cool.
- Check seals, clean jars, and label contents.
Try My 7 Best Beet Recipes
Creative Ideas For Cooking Fresh Beets From Your Garden!
By Erin Phillips
I have been growing beets in my garden for a couple years now. They are so easy to grow! I always end up with an abundance; so I’ve been on the hunt for the best beet recipes for cooking fresh beets. One thing that makes beets such a great food plant is that just about the whole plant is edible. When I pick a beet, I use the root and the leaves.
The hard stems — the only remaining part — I like to grind up for the chickens so literally every part of the plant gets eaten. Generally, I think of beets as a savory food, but they have a high sugar content so the kinds of food that can be made from them are various. Let’s explore some of the best beet recipes I’ve found.
There is an abundance of juicing recipes available on the internet, many of which claim various health benefits. I tried a whole bunch of them and found most unpalatable. Beet juice has a fairly strong flavor, which a friend of mine described aptly: “It tastes like drinking dirt.” To say the least, it needs some jazzing up!
My favorite combination mixes the beautiful color and rich antioxidants of Detroit Red beets with the sweeter flavors of apples and carrots. A piece of ginger adds a bit of spice to the mix.
• 2 medium beets
• 2 granny smith apples
• 3 carrots
• 2” fresh ginger
• 1 can soda of choice
Finally, and this is the key to a truly delicious drink, I top it off with either a bit of 7-Up or Verners. I know that might be against the core idea of juicing, which is so strongly linked to detoxification and boosting health, but I need the juice to be drinkable or it won’t go in at all! I figure the soda is minimal in relation to the juice, and you’re still getting all the good stuff from the fruit and root vegetables. Try it both ways – with and without the soda – and see what you think.
Baking with Beets
One of my favorite easy zucchini recipes is zucchini bread. I would never have imagined baking with beets, until I found a recipe for a Chocolate Beet Bake. You’ve got to try this option from the best beet recipes list!
First I mixed the oil, honey and chocolate pieces in a medium saucepan and turned on very low heat under it. I stirred gently until the chocolate melted then removed the pan from the heat.
Next, I added the beets.
The recipe called for three eggs, but I used our little pullet eggs, so I needed six. I whisked the eggs separately then added them to the saucepan. The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cacao and salt) got mixed together and then stirred into the beet mixture.
Finally, I greased a bundt pan and poured in my batter.
The cake baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When it comes out it will still be a little sticky inside.
The cake was really rich and delicious. Our only complaint was that the beets were a little stringy so next time I might try cooking the beets and pureeing them before adding them to the batter.
Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Decadent Beet Chocolate Cake
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 60 grams dark chocolate (54%), broken into pieces
- 2 cups raw beets, grated
- 3 eggs (I used 6 pullet eggs)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoon cacao powder
- a pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the oil to a medium saucepan and turn on very low heat. Stir in the honey and chocolate, mixing until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and add the beets.
- Whisk the eggs and add them to the saucepan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, cacao and salt together and stir it into the beet mixture.
- Grease a bundt pan and pour in your batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake should still be a little sticky inside when finished.
Kale & Beet Green Pesto
Pesto can be made from most garden greens. The term pesto refers to a sauce made from combining greens, nuts, cheese, garlic, and oil. To make mine, I harvested a large basketful of curly leaf kale and mixed beet greens as well as several sprigs of basil from my herb garden.
I brought these inside, cleaned them and picked the leafy parts off of the hard stems. I ran all the kale and beet greens through my food processor to make a thick green paste.
Garlic went in second – almost a whole head for me. Add a few cloves and taste to get it just how you like. You can always add more if it’s not strong enough. Next, I added a wedge of Parmesan cheese, chunked to make it easier for the processor to chew it up. Then a package of pine nuts went in.
Finally, I pulled the basil leaves off their stems and tossed them in as well.
Some salt, pepper and olive oil finished it off.
I filled about seven small plastic containers for the freezer. If you are freezing your pesto, make sure to cover the top with a thick coat of olive oil.
This qualifies for the best beet recipes list because it is a great, space-efficient way to save a lot of garden greens. The options are endless, too, as you can try different combinations of cheeses, nuts and greens, depending on what you have available. I love to pull out a container of pesto for an easy dinner over pasta or a flavor boost to a homemade pizza.
My favorite recipe for pickled beets is in the book Canning for a New Generation (Krissoff 2010). To begin, I harvested about ten Detroit Dark Red beets. I pulled off the stems and leaves and scrubbed the beets clean.
I brought a large pot of water to boil and dropped them in. I let them cook about twenty minutes, or until the skins are loose and a fork slides in with little resistance. Then I dunked the beets into ice water to stop the cooking and rubbed the skins off. My beets were fairly large so I cut them into quarters then into about ¼” slices.
My cutting board and hands looked like I’d done some butchering when I finished preparing my beets!
While my beets cooked, I prepared the brine by mixing four cups of cider vinegar, one and a half cups of water, one teaspoon of allspice, a half teaspoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of salt and a quarter cup of honey.
By the time I had finished slicing my beets, the brine was simmering nicely on the stovetop. I added the beets and let them cook a couple minutes before using a slotted spoon to fill pint jars. A ladle works well to scoop out the liquid and top off the jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch headspace.
After wiping the rims, I covered my jars with lids and bands and processed in a water bath canner for thirty minutes.
My favorite use for my pickled beets is a salad with beets, red onion, feta cheese, walnut pieces and a few slices of turkey cut up.
Sautéed Beet Greens
One of my favorite quick and easy best beet recipes is a side dish that utilizes beet greens or kale. I pick about 10-12 large leaves from the garden, remove the stems and chop up the rest. Set this aside while you get the other ingredients cooking. Start with an onion, sliced thinly and browned in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop. To this, add something sweet (either raisins or craisins work well) and a handful of nuts (walnut or pecan pieces are my favorite). Cook several minutes, until the craisins begin to soften and plump up. Now, toss in those greens you collected from the garden. As they start to wilt, add a dash of balsamic vinegar and mix well. When you are happy with the texture of your greens, remove them from the heat and stir in as many chunks of goat cheese as you want. They will partially melt, giving your dish a delightful creaminess. Imagine how good this would be if you were not only growing beets but also making goat cheese at home!
Beet Pizza Crust
I saw a picture of a purple pizza and I had to try it! This recipe comes from Bakers Royale.
I started with one big beet, picked fresh from the garden.
It was quite a large beet, so after I scrubbed it clean and removed the stems, I quartered it. Then it went into a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes.
When the timer went off, I drained off the hot water and cooled the beets with cold water so that I could touch them to remove the skins. Clean of their skins, I threw the beet quarters into my trusty food processor and pureed them.
This one beet actually produced enough puree to make my recipe three times over so I measured out 3/4 cup into two freezer containers and saved the remaining 3/4 cup for my pizza now.
In my mixer bowl, I added one cup of water and two teaspoons of yeast, stirring to mix. Next, I added 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of honey and my prepared beet puree. Finally, I finished it off with 17 ounces of all-purpose flour and stirred with a spoon to mix the ingredients loosely. Then I set my dough hook in place on the mixer and turned it on low. I let it knead for a minute or two then, seeing that the dough was pretty sticky, continued to sprinkle in flour along the sides until it looked fairly smooth.
I turned the mixer off, sprinkled a little more flour on the ball of dough and rolled it in my hands for a minute to make a nice ball. I added a bit of olive oil to a nice big bowl and rolled the ball of dough in it. Lastly, I covered the dough and left it to rise.
Several hours later, I returned to find my pizza crust had grown enormous!
I split it into two balls for two pizzas. Then I spread out a large sheet of parchment paper and greased it with a little olive oil. I turned one ball of dough out onto it, topped it with a dash of oil and laid a second sheet on top. The recipe said to use a rolling pin to spread the crust, but I found it easier to just push down on the parchment paper with my hands. In no time at all, I had a perfect crust, which I flipped onto my pan.
I prepared two sets of toppings for my pizzas:
I got them ready and then popped them into my pre-heated 500-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
When they came out they were beautiful, with their pink pizza crusts. What a unique homemade pizza recipe — sure to be a hit with the little girls in your life!
The final option on my best beet recipes list is an easy home-fermented brew of beetroot wine. It requires very little special equipment, which can be purchased online for about $13 – a one-gallon carboy with airlock. Everything else you probably already have in your kitchen so why not try it?
Begin with two large or three medium beets. Scrub them clean then either run them through a food processor or cut them into small pieces. Add them to a large stockpot, along with a quarter cup of raisins, and fill with about eight cups of filtered water.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in two cups of sugar until dissolved.
Let your mixture cool to room temperature then mix in a half teaspoon of bread yeast. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside for several days, stirring once each day. By the end of the first day mine was bubbling crazily!
After several days, strain out the solids.
My chickens really enjoyed this beet treat. Listen to the rooster crow to tell his ladies there is something yummy to be had.
The liquid that’s left after you strain the solids out goes into your sterilized carboy and gets topped off with the airlock.
Be sure to add water to the fill line on your airlock so that water can get out but not in. This is what mine looked like about an hour after I put it in the carboy.
I love this video because it shows how the yeast are “breathing” during fermentation. Doesn’t it look like they are breathing in and out, releasing a wine burp?
The wine will ferment for about two months. When the bubbles cease and the liquid has clarified, it’s done!
- 2 large beets, scrubbed and diced
- ¼ cup raisins
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon bread yeast
- Scrub and dice beets or run them through a food processor with shredding blade.
- Add beets and raisins to a large stockpot and fill with filtered water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Let your mixture cool to room temperature stir in yeast.
- Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside for several days, stirring daily.
- After several days, strain out the solids. Pour remaining liquid into a sterilized one-gallon carboy and top off with the airlock. Be sure to add water to the fill line on your airlock so that water can get out but not in.
- The wine will ferment for about two months. When the bubbles cease and the liquid has clarified, it’s ready to bottle.
Green Smoothie Recipes
How Do You Make a Good Smoothie? Start With Fresh, Healthy Ingredients.
By Kenny Coogan
Whether making a green smoothie or adding summer greens to a fruit smoothie, these blended concoctions are healthy and revitalizing.
The last year or so of high school through college, a close group of friends and I would go rollerblading or bike riding along the river. We would travel between three and 10 miles each trip and when we returned we would quench our thirst by preparing oversized, revitalizing smoothies. The smoothies acted as our vegetable, mineral, fruit, and protein source. The blender masticated our drink, which allowed us to take in a large amount of nutrient-rich calories to feed and rebuild our muscles and aid in our digestion.
Today, I still enjoy a fruit- and vegetable-based smoothie multiple times a week after a hearty workout in the backyard. Smoothies can act as a meal replacement and are easy to consume on the go. The main difference between my smoothies today compared to my college years is that my green smoothies presently change according to the season and what I am currently growing in my yard. Since I am blending produce that I have an overabundance of from my garden, I am saving money and reducing food waste.
One of my favorite tips for creating a smoothie is to prepare it in the container you are going to drink it from prior to putting it in the blender. This way you know exactly how much liquid and vegetables will fit. This method allows you to easily rinse out the blender before it gets hard to clean. Enjoy these spring and summer themed smoothies that you can make straight from your garden. Blend responsibly and stay healthy!
These leafy greens are popular for green smoothie recipes. They can be combined or used individually to form the leafy green portion of any recipe. The best way to decide what makes it in the final formula is to see what is growing best in the garden at the time of the smoothie, whether I’m growing arugula from seed or planting kale.
• Beet greens
• Bok Choy
• Collard greens
• Dandelion greens
• Green and red leaf lettuce
• Romaine lettuce
• Swiss chard
• Turnip green
2 peeled citrus (lemon, orange, tangerine or grapefruit)
3 cups leafy greens
Half a cucumber
A sprig of cilantro
Chunk of peeled ginger
8 ounces of filtered water
After a year or so of fighting to keep my cucumber vines alive I have now found a few varieties that do well in my area–including the exotic, yet tiny, Gherkin. Now, I am happily being inundated with these juicy, high water content, fruits. The combination of cucumbers and freshly peeled citrus is a cause for a celebration. The piece of peeled ginger brings a spicy quality to the drink, as well as aiding in digestions, reducing nausea and fighting the common cold and flu.
1 cup fresh parsley (Italian, Japanese or curly)
1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted (papaya or kiwi are great alternatives)
2 large ripe bananas, peeled
3 cups leafy greens
8 ounces of filtered water
Blend until smooth
Parsley is not just a garnish. Parsley easily grows in my herb bed and I consider it a superfood. One cup of parsley contains around 22 calories, 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. It is also a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids. One cup of parsley contains 3.7 milligrams of iron, making it the richest source of iron from any leafy green. Since papayas and bananas are easy to obtain from my Southern garden, this green smoothie is a popular one to make. Peeling, cutting and freezing the bananas prior to making the smoothie will result in a refreshing frozen treat.
1/2 cup of mulberries (blackberries, raspberries as alternatives)
2 ripe pears or apples, chopped
1 1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blackberries are great, but growing a mulberry tree that is thornless and does not take up a large footprint on your property seems like a better alternative. Mulberries support our immune system, provide antioxidants and can help maintain our blood sugar. Mulberry trees are generally hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
To make your own almond milk, soak almonds in water for 24 to 48 hours. Rinse the almonds and blend the soaked almonds with water until smooth.
2 cups leafy greens
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 ounces of filtered water
Protein powder (optional)
If you are craving the comfort of your childhood, this healthy alternative to the classic PB & J will do your body good. Fresh strawberries, leafy greens, and protein-rich peanut butter will give you the taste of nostalgia without the empty calories of white bread. If you don’t grow your own strawberries, you can visit a you-pick farm or purchase them in a flat for a fraction of the store cost.
4 medium carrots
6 medium tomatoes
Pinch of salt and black pepper
1 stalk of celery
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Hot pepper to taste
Just as the growing carrots and celery are ending their season, tomatoes and peppers start coming in by the bushels. An added benefit of blending fresh tomatoes is that the small blemishes disappear in the whirlwind the blender creates. Raw tomato juice provides us with vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, vitamin C, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc, and phosphorus.