For many of us there’s nothing so pleasing as putting our hands in the dirt after a long winter. Starting those tomatoes and training our zucchini vines is the best medicine for those winter doldrums. By now, depending on where you’re located, the fruits of those labors are coming in. Some with a vengeance. What on Earth do we do with all those veggies?!
Step One: Give Them Away
It’s obvious, I know, but it’s also really effective! Nobody needs twenty eggplants; even the biggest eggplant lover in the world can’t possibly eat all of them. You can bring them to work, give them to neighbors, or the kids’ swim coach. The more you think about the more people you’ll think of to give the gift of garden fresh produce. Summer squash for the mailman and cherry tomatoes for the dog groomer! Seriously, giving them away is a no brainer but it’s a great place to start! You can even look to your local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Many organizations would happily accept your donations. You could also start a little veggie swap club with you friends or co-workers. Some people only like growing one or two things and if you bring enough people together you can pool together your vegetable splendor and go home with something different!
Step Two: Bake Them Away
At some point, if your bounty is truly plentiful, you’re going to run out of people to give them away to. This is when you become a clever little baker. Zucchini bread and cookies are a good start. Then you can explore the world of jalapeño cornbread. Next, go on a pie bender! When the flour settles and you realize you now have a surplus of baked goods please see step one. Also, be advised that nobody ever lost friends from giving away baked goods. Ever.
Step Three: Pickle Them Away
You can pickle anything. Anything! You can do a quick pickle recipe and have delicious pickled onions on your sandwich by Saturday or you can really get into it and go whole hog with the long soak pickling methods. Once you know what you’re looking for you can make a sweet, kosher, or a bread and butter pickle. You can become the Forrest Gump of pickles! Pickled onions, pickled okra, pickled carrots, pickled cauliflower, pickled peas, pickled beets, pickled pickles. The pickling options are endless. You could throw a pickling party!
Step Four: Jam Them Away
This is very similar to the whole pickle concept but you make jam. Quirky jams are all the rage these days. Make a smokey chipotle onion marmalade, a fig and violet preserve, or a spicy strawberry jalapeño jam. You’re really only limited by your imagination. Sure, you’ll make a couple stinkers but you’ll never fly if you don’t spread those wings!
Step Five: Freeze Them Away
This is a great option for preserving them for another time while keeping them in their original good ‘ol vegetable state. This is a great resource for all sorts of delicious veggies and how to go about freezing them. I wish I could tell you it was as simple as throwing them into a bag and popping it into the freezer but we both know it wasn’t going to be that easy.
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What do you do with your vegetable surplus? Do you have any go to methods for dealing with an overabundance of tomatoes? Tell us what you do with your extra veggies; we need more ideas!!