Sunday, August 11, 2013

Organic Garden Recipe Ideas

Quit fussing with smoothie ingredients! Here are organic ripe red tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers which are in abundance in my garden right now. Simply pick and process what's in season.
The summer may be winding down but get ready for a bumper crop of delicious fruits and vegetables coming into season.  Chances are, if you garden as I do, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, corn and other mid-late summer vegetables and fruits.  Technically the tomato is a fruit!

What I like to do is freeze the little plum tomatoes whole for storage but a good amount of my garden vegetables get used up as organic smoothies and cream soups. Frozen bags of peppers and tomatoes line my chest freezer to become quick additions to one pot meals, stews and sauces. They can also be added to fresh, raw juices.

Bumper crop of beefsteak and plum tomatoes which are actually fruits.

Cukes are a little trickier as they don't really freeze well. You can make dried cucumber chips but since they have such a high water content, the result is still going to be a bit chewy. You can make a very simple cucumber salad that is delicious and only require a few ingredients:

Cucumber Salad
10 large chilled Cucumbers
1 cup sour cream (lite is fine)
1 tsp fresh dill

Peel the pre-chilled cucumbers and cut into 1/2 inch slices and then cube. Add a pinch of salt and the add your 1 cup of sour cream. Garnish with dill and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Goes great with Hummus or Chick Pea Dip and Pita Chips.

Corn on and off the Cob

Creamed corn soup with sweet bi-color corn
You can quickly turn your garden vegetables into hot or chilled, cold soups. Corn soup has many variations but among the Iroquois tribes of New York, it is made with both fresh corn and hominy which is corn with the outer hull removed. The soup above was cooked in a VitaMix and the steamed corn was added later as a garnish.  Here is an easy creamed corn recipe:

Creamed Corn
6-8 ears of bi-color sweet corn, steamed
1/2 cup of Corn Starch
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups of milk, (almond, rice, soy, etc.)
1 tbsp unsalted butter

To speed things up, heat your two cups of milk first and add to the seven ears worth of steamed corn cut from the cob. Place in VitaMix or blender with sugar, cornstarch and butter. Process until hot and thick as the VitaMix cooks in the container in under 5 minutes. Once the soup is thickened to the desired consistency, add the corn cut from one cob to the soup and serve.

Whole Food Juices
Once you get used to whole food juices, you'll not want to go back to extracted juices. Clear, processed juices from a juicer discard a lot of vegetable fiber, lignans and vitamins. What a waste! I process most of my vegetables skin and all, especially if they are organically grown from my garden. No waxes or pesticide residue to worry about!
Carrots can be mixed with red peppers and dried cranberries for a zesty drink.
Organic Smoothies
Vegetable Smoothies: To make your own organic smoothies, scrub your vegetables and throw them in your blender or processor with some crushed ice.  I use dried cranberries for sweetness in my vegetable smoothies.  Add any and everything you want: kale, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, cukes, peppers, celery, etc.
Blend everything until it turns into an icy slush. Now add enough water to make it as thin as you'd like. This is very concentrated so I add quite a bit of water and the result is a somewhat cloudy juice produce. Totally delicious!

Fruit Smoothies: There is no problem with mixing fruits AND vegetables but I like my fruit smoothies to be well, fruity. Mix in any combination of in-season fruits. If you need a little sweetness and a smoother texture, add 1/2 to 1 whole ripe banana to the mix. In the summertime, bananas often ripen before we can eat them all. Simply peel, cut them in half and store in a little freezer container. When you make your smoothies, you'll have nutritious frozen bananas ready to go. This also works with berries, cherries, peaches and other fruits.

"You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing." Psalm 145:16

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