kale, shiso, turnips and tomatoes in a white bowl

It’s officially high summer.

Which pretty much means that gardens are exploding…and the cherries that were six bucks a pound a few weeks ago are now more like two bucks a pound.

It’s almost like mother nature is taunting us with all of her abundance because it comes all at once and we know that soon enough, we’ll be back to eating carrots, potatoes and apples for 9 months straight.

So how do you carpe diem…or, carpe produce? I’ve got a whole bunch of ideas to help you luxuriate in summer’s bounty and put WAY more plants on your plate. Click on the links for recipe ideas!

Get Creative with Your Meals

It’s no secret…I LOVE my spirallizer. Have pounds of zucchini to enjoy? Make Zoodles and enjoy them in place of pasta. It’s too hot to boil water anyway!

Spiral cut cucumber and beets are also great as noodle substitutes with your favourite dressings and sauces.

I also use slices of kohlrabi as crackers and chard or collard leaves as taco shells.

You can also make fritters or vegetable pancakes out of pretty much anything.

Try Fermenting

I am not much of a canner, so I love fermenting vegetables. It’s soooo easy, and fermented veggies will keep in your fridge for a couple of months, without canning!

What you can ferment: cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, beets, and more!

Dry it Out, Freeze it or Sauce it

No dehydrator? You can oven dry tomatoes. Or you can freeze them whole. You can also make tomato jam that will last two weeks in the fridge.

Zucchini works well in the freezer too. Steam it, then freeze it. Use in baking, stews, or…wait for it…smoothies.

Embrace the Shrink

If you’ve ever found yourself overwhelmed by kale, you know that making kale chips is the easiest way to eat a whole bushel of kale in 10 minutes flat. Making tomato confit is an awesome addition to pastas or a charcuterie board.

Use the Whole Veg!

Much of the year, vegetable tops aren’t worth eating…but right now, they are perfect…so don’t throw them in the compost bin!

You can use almost any vegetable top in a pesto, including carrot tops.

This veggie meatball recipe takes some time, so make a double batch, but it’s soooo worth it. Toss the extras in the freezer for a lazy meal later on!

I also use vegetable tops and extra herbs in salads, such as radish tops, or cook them down in a saute.

For kale and chard stems, separate them from the leaves and dice them, cooking them down with the onions and garlic in a dish. Or, add them to salad for crunch! You can even pickle them. In fact, you can quick pickle just about anything, and use them in salads or on sandwiches and grain bowls.

Share the Love

If all that vegetable ingenuity still leaves you with an embarrassment of riches, swap it with neighbours, or bake it in to freezable muffins. Here’s to a delicious summer!