Category Archives: Recipes

Homegrown: Five Seasonal Cooking Resources

This season we’ve been inundated with orders and happy to see many folks trying to make the best of a tough situation by planting victory gardens. We love seeing new gardeners grow their own food for the first time and veteran gardeners expanding their plots.

Particularly for new gardeners, cooking from the garden is a bit different. Rather than selecting a recipe and purchasing the ingredients, gardeners harvest their ingredients and then select a recipe.

While we try to post some of our favorite seasonal recipes here on the blog, we certainly don’t have a comprehensive list. Here are a few of our favorite resources for seasonal recipes and preservation techniques.

Fresh Preserving

When you’re in doubt about putting up the harvest check the Fresh Preserving site from Ball Canning. They have tons of recipes and guides for water bath canning, pressure canning, freezing, dehydrating and more.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Some of you may have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Kingsolver documents her family’s year-long adventure of eating locally to their Virginia home. You can find some of their favorite recipes from their year of local food on their website. Try quick dinners like their swiss chard “Eggs in a Nest” or recipes like their Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies to use up excess produce.

Mother Earth News

The seasonal recipe section of Mother Earth News is filled with tons of recipes from a wide variety of homesteaders and gardeners. Check out unique recipes like Thai Green Tomatoes with a Coconut Crust or Creamy Parsnip Soup with Sorrel.

Garden Therapy

Stephanie Rose created Garden Therapy after she found that gardening helped her to “rebuild [her] health.” Her website now includes an abundance of gardening resources including recipes that will help you bring seasonal ingredients to the table. Try fun treats like Edible Flower Lollipops, delicious meals like Garden Fresh Quiche, or beverages like her Salad Bowl Gin and Tonic.

Farm Flavor

Farm Flavor strives to connect consumers to agriculture by profiling U.S. farmers and ranchers. Their recipe section is full of easy ideas for you to use your homegrown or local produce. This summer whip up some Collard Green Salad Rolls or Garden Fresh Gazpacho.

SESE Blog Recipes

Here are a few favorites from the SESE blog. Browse for more recipes and stay tuned with us this year.

Did we miss something? If you know a great food preservation or seasonal cooking resource, let us know on Facebook!

Fall Harvest: 5 Ways to Use Green Tomatoes

Fall is a beautiful time of year but it does bring an end to summertime, heat-loving veggies. If a frost is in the forecast for your area, it’s time to pick any green tomatoes that are still in your garden. While crops like winter squash and pumpkins simply need to be cured for winter storage figuring out what to do with crates of green tomatoes can be a bit tougher. Here are 5 ways you can use them up.

Fried Green Tomatoes

The classic way to serve green tomatoes is battered and fried and for good reason! Fried green tomatoes are delicious. If you’ve never had them, give this simple recipe a try.

Combine 1 egg with 1/2 cup of milk. In a separate dish whisk together 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp of garlic powder or a couple cloves of fresh minced garlic. You can also add a touch of chili powder or other spices to taste. In another dish, set out 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Slice 2-4 tomatoes into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices. 

Dunk each slice into the plain flour, then the egg and milk, and then the cornmeal mixture. Preheat a cast iron pan with 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Drop tomatoes into the hot oil and fry on each side until golden-brown.

Ripen Tomatoes

If you’ve got space to keep them fresh you can also ripen your green tomatoes. All you need to do is lay them out in a single layer, so they’re not touching. Store them at room temperature and check them at least often to use any that are ripening and remove any that are rotting. Any blemished tomatoes should be used immediately because they’ll probably rot before they ripen. 

Some varieties of tomatoes are made to ripen slowly, off the vine to provide fresh winter tomatoes. Learn more about the storage tomatoes we offer here.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

If you love pickles why not try pickled green tomatoes? Pickles are a simple way to preserve the harvest, even for beginning canners. If you’re not into canning you can also make “quick pickles” meaning you just refrigerate them rather than water bath canning them. In a refrigerator, they’ll still keep for a long time. Garden Betty has four awesome recipes.

Green Tomato Relish

Also called chow chow, green tomato relish used to be a common recipe. Green tomato relish was used through the winter to add flavor to all sorts of dishes from meats to sandwiches. Stone Axe Herbals has easy green tomato relish and green tomato salsa recipes that are worth checking out.

Freezing Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes are also quite simple to freeze, perfect for making fried green tomatoes throughout the winter! Select firm, unblemished tomatoes and slice them 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Lay the slices in a container with wax or freezer paper in between layers. 

Eating food from our gardens forces us to slow down and appreciate our food. This fall don’t let any of your harvest go to waste. Try one or two of these ideas to use up your green tomatoes. 

Canning Garlic Dill Pickles

Arkansas Little Leaf Pickling Cucumber

Enjoying something you grew at home months after the garden season is over is a satisfying part of being a gardener. If you’re new to food preservation canning pickles is a great place to start. They’re easy to make and are highly acidic meaning that they’re safe to process in a water bath canner rather than a pressure canner. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12 quart-sized canning jars with lids and bands
  • water bath canner
  • about 20lbs of pickling cucumbers
  • 12 cups of water
  • 12 tbs of canning salt
  • 6 cups of vinegar (5% acidity)
  • fresh dill or dill seeds
  • fresh garlic
  • optional: other spices and pickle crisper

Preparation

To begin you’ll need to sanitize your jars and rings. Boil them in your water bath canner for 10 minutes. I’ve found it helpful to tie a cotton string through all the rings so they’re easy to retrieve from the water.

While that’s happening wash and slice your cucumbers. I usually do spears for dill pickles but you can cut them any way you’d like. Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil, stirring it until all the salt is dissolved.

Packing Jars

Pack each jar with 2 fresh dill sprigs or 2 teaspoons of dill seed and 4 cloves of garlic (I like to mince mine but you don’t have to), and cucumber slices, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. You can also add other spices like mustard seeds, red pepper flakes or even a fresh hot pepper to each jar depending on your taste. If desired you can also use a product like Ball Pickle Crisper to help ensure your pickles stay crunchy. It can be added to jars at 1/4 tsp per quart.

Pour the hot brine into the jars, covering the cucumbers, and leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the jar rims with a clean cloth and place new lids on, securing them with sanitized rings twisted finger tight.

Canning

Place your filled jars into your water bath canner (you may have to do several batches), making sure they’re covered with water. Bring them to a boil and process them for 15 minutes (adjust for altitude). Turn off the heat, remove the lid and let them stand for 5 minutes. Remove the jars and check their seal after 24 hours. The lids shouldn’t flex up and down in the center when pressed. 

Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used up first. The rest can be stored out of direct sunlight for use throughout the coming year. 

Enjoy your pickles!