Freezing and Cooking Your Garden Vegetables

Use the vegetables from your garden harvest, with recipes for caponata, baba ghanoush, Greek vegetables, freezer vegetable soup.

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    Vegetable soup is a flexible recipe, accommodating just about any vegetable from your garden, and stores in the freezer.
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    Babaghanoush is a great way to use up eggplants.
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    Now that you've grown this plethora of produce, what do you do with it all?

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"As long as the earth remaineth, seed time and Harvest…will not cease." — Genesis 8:22

At last, the moment of truth…harvest time has arrived. Those little seeds that you so carefully planted in May have actually reached maturity and produced real garden vegetables. And you did it with your own two hands. You feel like a new parent—ecstatic and proud—until the panic sets in, and you wonder what on earth you can do with all your homegrown produce. You always thought that your gardening neighbors were so kind and generous to annually bestow bushels of tomatoes and assorted produce on you. You're on to them now. They're cleverly eliminating their own panic by dumping all their garden vegetables on you.

Personally, I don't do gardens. I'm in charge of the flowers and I leave the organic vegetable gardening to my husband. I wouldn't want to deprive him of rushing out to the garden after work to water and care for his little babies. It's his idea of therapy. Every so often, he'll call my son and me outside to admire the progress of say, his varieties of prize peppers. We "ooh" and "ahh" obediently as we gaze at the tiny peppers. Sometimes we don't see anything at all because of my husband's unique gardening style—also known as "organized disorder" or "welcome to the jungle." But this doesn't seem to affect the quality of the vegetables. They look and taste as though Farmer John just brought them in from the "back 40."

But around the beginning of August, the jungle becomes "bee haven," where hundreds of bees vacation until Halloween. My son and I then refuse to pick anything out there because we've been stung too many times. This was definitely becoming a major produce problem for a while, so my son designed his famous "bee armor," which he wears faithfully to this day. The armor consists of a hooded sweat shirt and sweatpants, ski goggles and ski gloves—not such a weird outfit during March in the Midwest, but a bit strange for a 102° day in August.

It's wonderful to have fresh produce just a ski-gloved hand away. That is, until around the third week of August, when your veggies are multiplying faster than rabbits. At 10 p.m., my husband will enter the kitchen with 28 perfectly ripened tomatoes, 13 zucchini, and 7 cucumbers, all in his personal horn of plenty. To this I say, "You take those vegetables back to the garden and put them back on their vines this minute!"

Before produce panic sets in at your house, get a plan, get a freezer, throw a huge veggie barbecue, and don't be a bit afraid to unload your produce on your neighbors. (Smile, and remember that "plastic" grocery-store tomatoes are only 60 days away.)

8/27/2019 8:06:16 AM

Instead of freezing the complete soup, we cook the ingredients with minimal liquid and freeze it as a concentrate. Add liquid as desired after thawing. This uses less space in the freezer.

9/26/2014 10:26:18 AM

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6/17/2014 4:57:15 AM

This sounds interesting.

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