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How to Make the Most of Your Summer Harvest


If you’ve been having a fantastic year for fruit and veggies then you might just find yourself with an excessive yield. This only means your gardening skills are really improving and as a reward you’ve been blessed with quality crops. So as not to waste these, however, there are several great ways to make the most out of your summer harvest. Homegrown fruit and vegetables are much tastier than store-bought and you’ll want to incorporate them into as many recipes as possible and even give some away. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Try out new recipes

The best way to use up your homegrown delights is, of course, by eating them. If you’re in need of new ways to get more vegetables on the table you could experiment with different recipes. There are plenty of great options for summer. You could make salads, curries, stews, kebabs, and more. If your family is fussy, you could get the kids interested in vegetables by letting them help you pick some. If you’re short on recipe ideas, here are some delicious plant based meals for everyone.

Make preserves

If you have an excess of fruit or vegetables and you aren’t able to get them all into your meal plan while they’re still fresh, you could make preserves. Try your hand at a couple of new jam or chutney recipes, for example. These will last for months. You can even pickle certain fruits and vegetables and leave them fermenting in your shed. If you’re looking for a convenient place to keep your preserves while they mature, check out these other storage options for your garden.

Homemade ketchup and sauces

If you’ve got an impressive yield of tomatoes this summer, why not make your own ketchup? This is much healthier and more flavorsome than the standard brands you get at the supermarket, and will last a long time. Here is an all-natural homemade ketchup recipe that uses fresh tomatoes. You could even give an extra bottle or two out to friends and family if you still have too much. Homemade ketchup is ideal for summer BBQs and potlucks, so it’s the perfect time of year to make some.

DIY dehydrating

Another way to use up fruit is by dehydrating it. You’ve heard of sun-dried tomatoes, but you can actually dehydrate various fruits at home. You can dry them out in the sun or even in the oven. Once dried, you can keep it in a preserve or pickled. You can also freeze it. Dried fruit makes a great healthy snack as well. You could serve it at your next family event or put it in the kids’ packed lunches.

Give something back

If you’ve got more fruit and vegetables than you can eat then why not share the bounty? Take fresh produce, preserves, sauces, or other recipes you’ve made to a food bank or the local church. Research what type of organizations there are in your neighborhood. They will definitely appreciate your delicious donations. Another idea is to research gardening events and markets in your local community where you can give out or swap your crops. Find ways to feed hungry people near you, so that your harvest doesn’t go to waste.

Treat friends and family

If you’ve got extra crops, you could also give these to your friends and family. You could turn them into preserves and sauces first for a longer lasting gift. You could potentially even wait until their birthdays or special holidays. If your friends and family members don’t grow their own then they’ll certainly appreciate some fresh fruit and veggies as well. Homegrown always tastes much better and you’ll save them from going to the supermarket. 

Compost the excess

Even after using up your fresh produce in as many ways possible, you still might have an excess, or some that have gone bad. This doesn’t need to be wasted either. You can give it back to your garden in the form of compost. It’s easy to DIY your own compost and if you use organic ingredients it will help improve the quality of the soil for longer, rather than using chemical fertilizers. You can make your own compost container by repurposing wooden crates in your yard. Be careful to compost the right things as certain items even though natural, like animal products, aren’t suitable. Here is a complete guide to composting. Get the most out of your harvest this summer, and feed your garden as well.

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