Ideas and Recipes for those Extra Vegetables

article image
Photo by Fotolia/Orlando Bellini
What can you do with all those extra vegetables? Zucchinis, summer squash, rhubarbs, and more all have a variety of delicious uses. Just listen to our Facebook fans!

Many of us at MOTHER EARTH NEWS find ourselves with an oversupply of zucchini during the summer months, and we’ve taken to grating it and adding it to cake batters for some extra moisture. We can’t be the only ones to come up with novel solutions to this issue, so we posed this question to our Facebook fans: What’s the one crop in your garden you always have way too much of, and — besides preserving it or sharing it with neighbors — how do you put it to good use? What do you do with those extra vegetables? As always, our Facebook fans shared their excess-harvest solutions and special recipes here. Enjoy the fruits of their wisdom, and be sure to check out our 20 Ways to Use Your Zukes.

Are you on Facebook? Follow MOTHER EARTH NEWS Magazine to find even more great ideas and conversations like the one below. Learn more about our Facebook presence and how to use this cool social tool to best connect with us.

Andra Leimanis Tomatoes, but I LOVE that. I wash them, “hull” them, and put them in plastic bags to freeze for winter stews or soups.

Jessica Dally Dandelions, and I let the bees use them for pollen.

Robin Hackler Back in the day it was corn! But it worked out great cause we fed it to the pigs!

Robin Hoffman I would love a surplus of zucchini! We have such trouble with squash bugs. I always have extra cukes — I do crock pickles with them.

Tristin Morgan Squash in general! I like to pick some of the blossoms, stuff them with seasoned homemade ricotta, dip them in light tempura batter and fry them. Yum!

Linda Toliver Goodale Peaches and okra.

Tami Pollard I had just a small city garden and my problem is more often not enough of anything.

Sean Burke Zucchini. However, I found a wonderful bread recipe so I just bake loaf after loaf and freeze them.

Viana Boenzli We just planted two apple trees, so hopefully will have a ton of apples soon!

Dave Merredew Lettuce. Every year I plant too much and every year I vow to cut back. I deal with it by telling my (small) children to pretend they are cows (or goats, sheep whatever really) and then have them graze at will. Funny thing is that they will eat it when it is in the ground but shy away when we put it on the table.

Patty Hamm We tried to grow an over-abundance of zucchini last year, but our enthusiasm for it took over and we had no trouble using up the 80 zucchini, only ended up freezing a couple. This year we are planting two varieties and way more. Our favorite ended up being scooping it out and stuffing it which whatever, chili, spaghetti sauce, taco meat, sausage…

Sarah Honadel I have three horses — they like the extras from the garden!

Carl Wayne Hardeman That’s easy: eggplants!

Stephanie Crampton Buckley I had so much zucchini one year I started a farmers market in our town, then one in the community over (because the neighbors stopped answering the doors when I dropped my excess off).

Louise Haney Usually it’s zucchini and yellow squash, but this year mine got wiped out by vine borers.

Amber Savela Jaggers Zucchini cookies and jam.

Raymond Petke Chives, rhubarb, asparagus, and zucchini…

Todd Henry Right now is mustard greens. Only planted a small round 3×3 bed enclosed by rocks. Have given away four huge bags of them. No time to blanch and freeze yet. Justin Sleeper Cherry tomatoes! Unfortunately a lot of them hit the ground before they get eaten. I don’t know what to do with them?

Julie Pratt Bartlett Green beans. After eating fresh, canning, pickling, freezing, sharing with neighbors and still having more I stopped picking for a few days. Then I discovered a local zoo/circus animal retirement sanctuary. The animals loved the five gallon pail of overgrown beans! Especially the monkeys.

June Carlisle Most of our excess (after family) goes to the chickens. They love a good treat and we benefit as the good stuff goes to make them healthy happy little egg layers.

Brandis L Roush Actually, last year I had just the right amount of zucchini (thanks to a recipe for zucchini salsa and my chickens’ voracious appetite) but way too much eggplant. I planted seven plants mostly as a trap crop for the potato beetles. I’d heard, “eggplants are SO hard to grow.” I neglected them completely — I think I sprayed them with Spinosad twice out of pity after they were like 70% defoliated by the bugs. Then it seemed like out of nowhere I had 25 eggplants! But there is really no good way to preserve eggplant, and I don’t know a lot of ways to prepare it. My go-to is eggplant parm, and I fried and froze a bunch of slices to make future batches, but that’s really all I do with it! This year I’m going to set up a stand on the highway and sell the excess, if I’m that blessed again!

Heather Smith I usually end up with more lettuce and greens than we can eat or preserve. What doesn’t get used goes to the chickens. I like that they convert my excess to eggs.

Julie Batch Rhubarb — we make some of the excess into wine.

Vicky Reed Grapes, plums and apricots. Last year a late winter storm wipes us out. This year everything is making up for it.

Emi Fox I use zucchini as “pasta.” I use a veggie peeler to make linguini strands and boil them for just a minute. I tried making a fake apple pie — you sub zucchini for apple. It was okay!

Denise Ribbecke Sweet peppers. My partner just starts with way too many seeds and then insists on planting them all. This year he planted one row more than he has before. I dry them and freeze them, and give as many away as I can. The goats like them, thank goodness.

Emi Fox My favorite thing to do with excess cherry tomatoes is half them and dehydrate. Delicious!

Sarah Staggers For the last 6 years I’ve had an abundance of tomatoes. I’ve only planted them once. They come up all over the garden and I just take out the plants that I don’t want. This year I had four plants last through winter and have several volunteers that I’ve decided to let grow. I usually puree and freeze them for tomato sauce. Before a freeze last year, I picked about 12 pounds of green tomatoes and canned green tomato salsa. 🙂

Tad Alvord We grow too much of everything. We eat it, can or freeze it, and most of all share or trade it with family or friends. My daughter makes gift baskets of our multi sized and colored Tomatoes. Beautiful, edible art.

Heather Licari Usually excess zucchinis and lettuces, but I love to share with others and we have rabbits, so they eat well during the growing season.

Pam Farley My garden is exploding with artichokes!

Wendy Korb Klauda Cucumbers. I can find ways to use the extra zucchini and tomatoes — but haven’t figured a way out to use the cucumbers (not the pickling kind).

Marsha Zirkle-Watson Jalapeños are turned into jalapeño pepper jelly, then given away as Christmas gifts, and extra basil is made into pesto that I freeze to use in multiple ways throughout the year.

Rebecca Ryan Take zucchini slices and marinate them in Italian salad dressing, then grill. Top with a slice of provolone cheese and close lid till melted. Sooo goood!

Jake Chumbley Usually zucchini and corn. We use them as skeets for shotgun practice

Ambur Johnson Always tomatoes. I just share more — my neighbors and family love it!

Alicia Yeager Ghio Runaway zucchinis! I feed them to the chickens. With extra tomatoes I slice and oven dry over night with a little olive oil and sea salt. They keep for months in air tight containers.

Susan Campbell Zucchini, YUM! I use for all my summer salads in place of cucumbers…I also grate ’em and add to turkey meatloaf for color and moisture. I chop and freeze some (just blanch and bag) to add with other veggiess to cover up pasta in the winter and to add to soups or stews. Green beans, turnip greens and tomatoes are also frozen or canned for winter. If there’s extra, I put ’em up to use in the winter.

Sandra Deneen Shredded Zucchini added to beaten eggs and fried as pancakes. Really big Zukes and Cukes get cut in half lengthwise and put in the chicken pen.

Karen S. White Zucchini and summer squash — I do plan on dehydrating excess this year. We also have an excess of chestnuts, paw-paw’s and mulberries that I am still looking for ways to use/preserve.

Shelly Douglas Cain I can it using my bread and butter pickle recipe. It’s wonderful! I usually scoop out the larger seeds first.