I love gardening and eating fresh vegetables. But, for me, it’s a real chore thinking up ways to use them. Too often, good food has wasted away in my fridge or on my counter.
One winter, after looking over a garden catalog, I brainstormed about how to get organized by rearranging my recipe file. Instead of traditional categories, such as soups, breads, and casseroles, the sections in my new system would list recipes alphabetically by individual vegetable: asparagus, cabbage, green beans, etc. So when I have zucchini to use, for example, I could just go right to that section.
It’s worked! Recently, I had a bunch of Swiss chard to use. Looking in my file, I found a forgotten recipe for hummus using Swiss chard stems! Who would have thought? Not me.
I still love eating veggies! Now, it’s an adventure digging into my recipe file for ways to serve them.
Anyone who has grown cilantro to use with Mexican-style dishes knows how quickly it bolts and goes to seed. I grow cilantro close to my back door, which allows for easy last-minute picking to top my favorite fish tacos. This also means I can see the first stem beginning to bolt. My usual response is to rush to cut off that stem and thereby save the last few cilantro leaves. However, a busy schedule prevented me from cutting off the stem this past season, and the next time I looked at the plant, there was a display of tiny white flowers similar to baby’s breath. I paired the cilantro flowers with my garden zinnias and created an ideal table arrangement. Now, I make use of my cilantro leaves for Mexican dishes but also look forward to cilantro’s tiny, white flowers as an addition to our table arrangements.
Sharon Moe Furl
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
I had an old crib kicking around from when my children were little. Because the regulations on cribs are ever changing, I was reluctant to sell it. So, I took it apart and used pieces of it around the farm. At one time, one side of the crib served as a gate for my baby goats. Now, it’s working beautifully as a feeder. I could easily have two feeders, but the other side of the crib is mounted to my son’s wall to hang and store musical equipment.
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