Summer is almost over but there’s still plenty of vegetables that are still being harvested or still need to be harvested. Late Summer Harvests include vegetables like onions, potatoes, garlic, shallots, leeks, cabbages, celery, eggplant, peppers, pumpkins and winter squash! This week we will be talking about recipes to go with the late summer harvest!
Grab some celery from your local farmer’s market or CSA and appreciate it since celery can be a little tough to grow…it isn’t greatly tolerant to heat or cold or drought. This finicky plant is great for cooking, salads, and more though. Plus, it boasts wonderful health benefits like reducing inflammation, aiding in digestion, and helping to alkalize our often highly acid diets.
Harvested in late summer, they are a member of the nightshade family which is the same family as tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes (but not sweet potatoes!). Some people have sensitivities to nightshade produce that may experience gas, joint inflammation, headaches, and more. BUT, if you don’t have sensitivities they are also high in vitamins and antioxidants including a boatload of vitamin C. Red peppers pack the most nutrition since they have been on the vine the longest. TIP: All bell peppers start out green then change to yellow or orange before ripening to red.
Leek’s are good at holding onto grit, so let’s talk prep! The tops will look darker than the rest. Cut the darkest part off and compost those or save for soup stock. Next cut off root (the fuzzy stuff at the bottom). The stem can be cut into rings or chiffonade (thin strips). Rinse the cuttings in a colander to get any grit out. TIP: Like onions and garlic let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking.
Leeks can be tossed into pot roast, added to a pan of roasted vegetables, tossed into soups, added to a green salad, or tossed with cooked green beans to add a new flavor. Check out this link for a Salmon and Leek Dish!
A relative of the tomato, can be healthy when prepped in less “heavy” ways than the traditional eggplant parmesan. Eggplant is a non-starchy vegetable that can be grilled, roasted, stewed, breaded, or sautéed and can be used in many different types of recipes. Often used as a meat substitute in dishes like lasagna, it packs a meaty texture with its higher fiber content. Not sure where to start? Try this grilled eggplant and yogurt dip recipe! Just serve with pita chips or vegetables and you’re all set for your next dish to pass!
Garlic is a perennial that grows in spring and is ready for harvest in the late summer. It is ready for harvest when the bottom two leaves turn brown. Garlic needs to be cured/dried out for about 2 weeks (like on a covered porch) before using. Rumor has it, the number of leaves on the stem will tell you how many cloves of garlic you will have! Garlic has a laundry list of health benefits, so make sure to include it in your regular recipes. Not used to using raw garlic? Just buy a garlic press and it is easier than you can imagine to mince your own garlic. BONUS: Although you probably run into vampires, garlic repels mosquitoes too!
If you are not a squash fan, odds are you just haven’t tried the right one or had it prepared in your tastes! Squash come in many varieties, textures, and flavors. Load up on different winter squash at your local farmer’s market since they can store for months in a cool dry area. Spaghetti squash are super easy to grow and can be microwaved or baked to produce strings/”noodles” that are tasty just with a little butter and salt, combined with spaghetti sauce, or added into a variety of recipes. Other squash can be roasted, pureed for sauces, and even cubed and frozen for later use. Follow this link for a Squash Breakdown!