Summer Garden Winter Food

Summer Garden Winter Food

There is nothing better than going to your garden to pick fresh vegetables for dinner.  We started our small raised bed vegetable garden in April and it didn’t take long for the plants to grow and the blossoms to appear.  We had summer squash, green and red peppers, eggplant, cucumbers plus yellow and green beans.  Our vegetables were ready to pick in about six weeks and so delicious as I prepared meals with them.  But once they started growing, it seemed like there was no stopping and way too much keep up with the eating!   But other than loving the fresh vegetables in the summer, I like to freeze them for the winter.  My Summer Garden Winter Food gives me fresh vegetables even when the growing season is over.

Every morning I would go out to our garden before work and see more and more squash and peppers.  The eggplant took longer to be ready to pick but once they started growing, they just didn’t stop!  I had so many peppers, squash and eggplant from our little 8′ x 8′ raised bed garden that it was time to get them ready to freeze for the winter.

 

The peppers were quick and easy to freeze, I cut them in slices and put them in freezer bags.  Once in the freezer, I shake the bags to keep the pieces from freezing together.  When I need peppers for stir fry or an omelette, I just pour the peppers out of the bag and into the pan!  I ended up with six large bags of frozen peppers and the last peppers I picked were a few weeks ago at the end of October so I was very happy to have so many peppers.

Besides freezing them all, I made my hubby delicious stuffed peppers and that’s a meal in itself!  They are easy to make and so filling. My recipe is at the end of this blog: http://themarthareview.com/stuffed-peppers/

 

Our summer squash was growing like weeds, I’d check them in the morning and there were some almost ready and when we got home from work, the vines were full of yellow squash!  This too is easy to freeze, I cut the squash into thin slices and freeze them on a baking sheet to keep from freezing together.  After the individual slices are frozen, I pour in freezer bags and they are ready for stir fry or other meals using baked or fried squash.  I now had six bags of squash with my frozen peppers! There is nothing better than a delicious stir fry of squash, peppers and onions, especially when the vegetables are from your garden.  This is a blog I wrote last summer with my instructions for freezing summer squash: http://themarthareview.com/freezing-summer-squash/

While the peppers and squash are quick and easy to prepare for the freezer, eggplant takes a bit longer.  I usually wait until a weekend and fry up all the eggplant at once.   After cutting in slices, I egg and bread it then fry in olive oil.  I freeze on baking sheets like the squash and then put in freezer bags when frozen. Since we had an abundance of eggplant even after giving some to neighbors, I ended up with twelve freezer bags full!  By having the squash already breaded and fried, it makes a quick dinner after work. I just layer the eggplant, sauce and cheese for a delicious eggplant parmesan.  It’s great with a side of pasta, on a sub roll or just the eggplant alone. Check out my instructions for preparing eggplant for the freezer: http://themarthareview.com/eggplant-from-garden-to-freezer/

 

But what if you have eggplant that is ready to eat but you don’t have time to bread and fry it up?  No problem, I came up with a baked eggplant boat!  After scooping out the eggplant from the skin, I cut it in chunks and mixed with olive oil, shredded cheese and spaghetti sauce, then put back in the skin shell.  I baked it for about an hour and was this delicious!  It really didn’t even taste like eggplant, it was more like a lasagna!  Here is my pictorial blog recipe for baked eggplant boats:  http://themarthareview.com/delicious-baked-eggplant-boat/

 

Gardening is fun and rewarding to be able to have fresh vegetables in the summer but it’s extra rewarding to have a freezer full of them to last through the winter. Even if you have a small yard, you can make a raised bed garden with landscape timbers or even cement blocks and add garden soil to your frame and you ready to start growing delicious vegetables.  http://themarthareview.com/raised-bed-vegetable-garden/

 

 

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Martha Demeo

I started my blog to review products. Since then it has evolved and now I teach people how to earn money online from the comfort of their home. Join the conversation. Leave a comment below.

12 Discussion to this post

  1. The Savvy Age says:

    Love the boat idea!

  2. Wow, that is amazing that you are able to have all of that food even through the winter. I hope you enjoy it all. Thank you for sharing all that you did in this blog post with us 🙂

  3. Andria Perry says:

    You had a beautiful garden!

  4. You did good! Is that an aloe vera in the middle of the freshly planted bed? I am surprised I didn’t see any tomatoes. Is that because you didn’t grow any or because you have more than one growing area? I notice you said nothing about blanching the veggies before freezing. All my books say to blanch first. How did not doing it work out for you?

  5. I’m still not sure how I feel about freezing the softer vegetables like summer squash and peppers for dishes like stir fry. I’d sure use frozen for my spaghetti sauces and such, though! And your breaded eggplant makes even me want to try it 🙂

  6. Martha says:

    It’s a great way to save on doing dishes Savvy Age! LOL I have a few other “boats” I made with potatoes, I’ll have to put all my boats in a row! Thanks for visiting.

  7. Martha says:

    Thanks Christa, I love fresh vegetables even if frozen. I haven’t tried freezing a whole pepper, but I think that will be my next experiment. Then I could just pull one out for hubby’s stuffed pepper! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Martha says:

    Thanks Andria, way smaller than yours and not near as much as you freeze and can but it’s fun growing food and having it throughout the winter. I’ll be planning my next year garden in January, not that far away. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Martha says:

    Thanks Barbara! The plant is called a Century Plant or Agave. It’s young but they grow over the top of telephone poles and flower every 100 years. We had one flower on the street next to ours a few years ago and it was exciting to watch and wait to see when it was going to show it’s flower. As far as tomatoes, I’ve had them in the past but every time they are almost ready to pick, the tomato worms get them first! With the limited space and only me eating tomatoes, I try a squash or pepper with my neighbor who has tomatoes! I know most books say to blanche, but way back when my grandmother froze vegetables, she never blanched them so I just followed her way of doing it. They say blanching removes the enzymes but it also removes the minerals in the food. I have been doing it this way for as long as we’ve had a garden and never had any problem. The only “problem” is sometimes the squash tends to get a bit mushy if I thaw it before stir frying it, I just pour it from the bag into the hot oil and cook it quick. We don’t use any chemicals, fertilizer or insecticides on our garden either. Our garden isn’t large, but it sure yields delicious vegetables. I’ll start planning for next spring’s garden in January. Thanks for visiting my garden Barb!

  10. Martha says:

    The squash tends to get a bit soft if not cooked quickly but I’ve never had any problems with peppers. They are also great chopping them up in an omelette Kyla. I love the time savings on the having my eggplant already breaded and fried. It makes a quick and easy dinner after work without much fuss. Thanks for stopping by Kyla!

  11. Jagriti Roy says:

    An idea of having a veritable garden is really nice as it provide you the chance of preparing any dish of your choice any time.. Loved the way you are taking care of your kitchen garden..😊

  12. Martha says:

    I love watching our garden grow from tiny plants to having them full of vegetables! Now I have a freezer full for winter. Thanks for visiting my garden Jagriti.

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