At home, I have a mostly “volunteer” garden this year, which means that the plants that are growing out there have sprouted on their own. No planting on our end. We have butternut squash (5 squashes so far!), thai basil (4 or 5 plants), tomatoes and cucumber. I’ll admit, it does look a bit overgrown.
On top of that, we get a box from a local farmer every week. So it’s been a challenge to make sure that none of this food goes to waste! I thought I would share a few of the recipes that I’ve used in the last few weeks to make sure the produce is eaten when it’s fresh.
This week I cut up 3 of the butternut squashes. I cubed and blanched 2 of them which made 15 cups of cubed squash. Here’s how i did it. It was my first time blanching!
1. Put on a large pot of water to boil
2. Cut off the skin and cube the butternut squash
3. Set aside an “ice bath” – i just used another large pot and filled it half full with ice and water.
4. Put the cubed butternut squash into the boiling water for 2-5 minutes.
5. Immediately submerge the cooked pieces into ice water.
6. Freeze into 4 cup portions for future use!
For mine, I used a pasta pot/straining basket to put the squash in the hot water.
The squash is then ready to use for recipes like this one: Butternut Squash Enchiladas.
I heard great reviews from everyone who made them. You could also double the recipe and freeze the enchiladas (save the part about adding the salsa and baking for when you pull them out of the freezer). Then you have an easy, quick meal to throw in the oven.
Stewed Okra et. al.
I did not grow up in the south, but I LOVE stewed okra now!
okra (the small ones are best)
olive or canola oil
salt (even better – Cajun salt!
In the summer – you can add many different veggies including yellow squash and corn.
- Chop onions and tomato. If you have cherry tomatoes, you can leave them whole
- To avoid the slime, you can leave the okra whole, just cut off the edge where it was picked. You can also slice it, which is what I’ve done recently. You don’t really notice any slime when it’s stewed; the okra liquids act as a thickener.
- Pour some oil in a pan and heat. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until onion starts to turn transparent.
- Add okra and tomatoes, stirring for 1 minute.
- Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan and cover with a lid.
- Cook until okra is soft. Tomatoes should fall apart.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve in small dishes!
Check out the nutrition benefits of okra.
Find a friend with a fig tree! They always complain about all the figs they have. You can eat them raw, if they’re ripe. Or you can try this roasted fig recipe. A dietitian friend of mine does food demos for Whole Foods here in Winston-Salem. She shared this idea with me.
1. Cut figs in half
2. Place in baking dish
3. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar
4. Bake @ 350 degrees until cooked (~30 minutes)
I added a bit of vanilla extract to mine. I think I could have sprinkled them with a bit of sugar too as some of them weren’t as sweet as others. It probably just depends on the ripeness of the fig.