Between our gardens and our local farmer’s markets, we Savvy Gardeners have been busy cooking, baking, canning, dehydrating, chopping, freezing, simmering, roasting, and eating! But, we always have time to share some inspiration and we thought that you might enjoy some of our favourite recipes… and perhaps even share some of your own with us?
Jessica – Cantaloupe pie (Note from Niki – What? I have to try this one!)
I love growing melons in the garden and buying them at the farmers market, but there’s only so much fresh melon a person can eat. About ten years ago, while searching for recipes that used cooked melon, I came across this awesome cantaloupe pie recipe in an issue of Kitchen Garden magazine. I’ve made a few of them every summer since then, and I’ve loved every bite!
For the filling:
2 to 3 cups sliced cantaloupe
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup shortening
5 Tbsp ice water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl combine the filling ingredients and set aside while making the crust. In a mixing bowl, combine the four and salt. Blend the shortening into the flour with two knives or a pastry cutter until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the ice water. Mix just enough to blend. Turn the dough onto a floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a large circle. Place one circle of dough in a 9-inch pie pan. Add the cantaloupe filling. Cover with the remaining dough circle. Crimp edges to seal and cut a slit in the top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.
Amy – Sun dried tomatoes
Quick steps for making your own sun dried tomatoes
- Preheat oven 200F
- Wash tomatoes and cut into small pieces
- Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray
- Spread tomato pieces over the cookie sheet
- Place cookie sheet in the oven
- Allow tomatoes to dry for 2 hours in the oven, then check on them every 30min-1 hour. Smaller pieces will dry faster and may need to be removed before larger pieces. Sun dried tomatoes are ready when they are leathery, but you can dry the tomatoes until almost crispy if desired.
Tara – Salsa Verde
One of my favourite recipes for preserving the harvest is for salsa verde. I pull it out every year. This year, sadly, I didn’t grow tomatillos because I gave my garden a break from the Colorado potato beetle, which decimated my crop last year (despite that, I still reaped a pretty good harvest). But I do plan to buy tomatillos at the local farmer’s market and whip some up to enjoy right away and freeze for the winter. Now, as for the hot peppers that the recipe calls for, I do happen to have that crop covered!
For Tara’s recipe, click here… Salsa Verde
Niki – Hodge Podge
Since I’m a novice preserver – my canning resume includes simple stuff like freezer jam, refrigerator pickles, and dilly beans – I thought I’d share my favourite way to use up the homegrown harvest – hodge podge! Hodge podge is a dish regional to Atlantic Canada and, in my humble opinion, is the best way to celebrate summer.
When it comes to hodge podge, simplicity is key. There are no fancy spices and no formal recipe, but there are a few rules.
Rule #1 – Hodge podge uses five main veggies – new potatoes, carrots, yellow beans, green beans, and peas. My mother also likes to add turnip and sometimes corn. Hardcore hodge podgers (yes, they exist) would disagree with this. Whatever floats your boat.
Rule #2 – You don’t add all the veggies at once. The slower cooking potatoes and carrots are added first, followed by the beans, and then the peas. Cooking time is about 15 minutes – total.
A hodge podge tutorial (~ 2 servings)
– About 2 cups new potatoes – halved or quartered depending on their size
– About 1 cup new carrots – cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
– About 1/2 cup green beans – cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
– About 1/2 cup yellow beans – cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
– About 1/2 cup of shelled peas OR sugar peas
You’re probably noticing I used the word ‘about’ a lot. Hodge podge isn’t an exact science and I suggest that you adjust the quantities of the veggies to suit your taste.
Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. After about 5 minutes, add the carrots. After another 5 minutes, add the beans. After another 5 minutes, add the peas. Continue to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the peas are bright green, then drain off most of the water. I usually leave about an inch at the bottom of the pot. Add 1 cup of blend (or half and half) and 1/2 cup milk and reduce the heat to low. Toss in at least 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter (real butter!), and salt and pepper (I go kind of heavy on the pepper). Stir to combine. The starch on the potatoes should help thicken the cream/milk, but the broth will still be quite thin – this is how hodge podge is supposed to be. Do not boil! Once the milk is hot – it’s done.
Grab your bowls and dig in!
Please share some of your favourite recipes – fresh or preserved – with us in the comment section.