Fresh produce is one of the cornerstones of healthy diet, and each season brings its own cornucopia of fruits and vegetables into supermarket aisles, farmers’ markets and, of course, backyard gardens. But how do you make the best of your garden harvest (or even supermarket harvest) to extend its shelf life?
In summer, which gardener hasn’t struggled to keep on top of the harvest and found the lettuces grown tall and inedible? The French have a soup called ‘chiffonade’ which is made with lettuce, and my mother-in-law let me in on a secret: she makes it with bolted lettuce. It may sound a little strange to cook lettuce, but don’t be discouraged, it is wonderful in this soup.
I used to think I needed a fancy juicer and special ingredients to make a smoothie. Not so. I pulled out my old blender that I hadn't used since my margarita days a decade ago. Then, I poked around in the fridge to see what kind of fruit was on hand. I clipped some lettuce from the garden, added water and cinnamon and — voila — a terrific smoothie, easier than pie.
After you grow your own organic greens, it’s hard to go back to grocery store crap. The good news is that greens are easy to grow in a multitude of environments. If you are short on space, try building a salad tray and grow your own greens on a patios or balcony. If you have a small patch of ground, do what I did and install a raised bed.
This is the time of year for harvesting the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumbers, fava beans, green beans, all types of peppers, garlic, basil, along with other Mediterranean herbs.
When lettuce is mentioned, many think of the standard iceberg lettuce found in supermarkets and restaurant salads. That is changing with the growth in popularity of the different types of lettuces from Romaine to head and leaf-type lettuces, mainly due to the flavors and colors that they offer from deep red to almost white and noticeably sweet to tangy and slightly bitter.
Come rejoice in the bounty of heirloom tomatoes - experience the flavors and choose your favorites at tomato tastings throughout the Southeast. Plus, it's time to plant fall alliums - garlic and perennial onions - and fall crops for winter storage!
It may be sweltering hot outside, but we're still busily sowing seeds at the Southern Exposure farms! Learn how to plant your bountiful fall and winter garden, with abundant harvests through Thanksgiving and beyond.
Hints for harvests all summer long - don't just sow once! Ira helps you plan summer successions for your garden. Plus, discover culinary secrets of okra you never suspected - okra coffee and okra oil - and a recipe for a simple okra lunch.
Southern Exposure celebrates Slow Food's Terra Madre Day with a fresh winter greens salad, featuring yacon, a South American root vegetable that tastes like fresh pear! Plus garden planning to have your own farm fresh food through the winter.