How To

7 Recipes for Your Excess Summer Produce

7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Excess Summer Produce :: Mint.com/blog

Summer is a prime time for farmer’s markets, u-pick farms, CSAs and garden fare.

The result can be one of the best food problems to have: A whole lot of a good thing, be it armfuls of zucchini or an unexpected glut of blueberries.

That requires recipes that call for such ingredients in bulk—and can be canned or frozen—to help home cooks work through everything before it goes bad.

Sometimes, the simplest preparation is best. Chopping and freezing produce can give you plenty to work with in the off-season. But if you want to do some more cooking now, you’re not without options.

We asked chefs, bloggers and other foodies to share their best recipes that use in-season produce in bulk. Here are 7 to try:

Zucchini bread

“I live in Iowa and in our garden we have an abundance of zucchini,” says home cook Elaine Barreca. “Happens around here every year—as you know it’s so easy to grow. That means zucchini bread.”

Barreca makes it into muffins and mini loaves, too, and double bags them for storage in the freezer.

To make her version, grease and flour two 8” x 4” pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift together three cups all-purpose flour, a teaspoon salt, a teaspoon baking powder, a teaspoon baking soda, and three teaspoons cinnamon together in a bowl.

In another bowl, beat together three eggs, a cup vegetable oil, three teaspoons vanilla extract, and 2.25 cups sugar. Beat sifted ingredients into the creamed mixture.

Stir in three cups grated zucchini and, if desired, a cup chopped walnuts or pecans. Pour batter into pans.
 Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Oven roasted tomatoes

Roasting vegetables brings out the flavor, and extends the shelf life of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, says food blogger Sheri Silver of “Donuts, Dresses and Dirt.”

Her take can be used to top pizzas, and tossed in pastas and salads, among other recipes.

Berry chia jam

“So many of us wait around all summer for our berries to ripen just enough to pick,” says herbalist Marlene Adelmann, founder of the Herbal Academy of New England. “Then all of a sudden we have an abundance of fruit.”

This fast refrigerator jam solves that dilemma.

To make it, use a blender to mash together a pound of fresh berries, two tablespoons chia seeds, juice from half a lemon and two tablespoons of your choice of sweetener. (Adelmann recommends agave, honey or maple syrup.)

Mix until just combined. Keep the jam in the refrigerator.

Smoked tomato soup

Smoke the tomatoes now and freeze them, and you can make this soup throughout the winter, says its creator, Chef Darin Sehnert.

Faye’s zucchini relish

Refrigerated, this recipe from Judith Choate, author of The Best Little Book of Preserves & Pickles, lasts six weeks. Frozen, it’ll keep for eight months.

“This relish is so tasty you wish 
it would multiply on your shelf,” she says.

To make it, use a food processor to grate six cups of zucchini, three cups yellow onions and one red bell pepper. Place the grated ingredients in a nonreactive bowl.

Sprinkle with the three tablespoons coarse salt 
and toss to combine. Cover and let stand for 12 hours. Place the mixture 
in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.

Place three cups sugar, one and a quarter cups white vinegar, a teaspoon celery seed, and a half-teaspoon each of dry mustard powder, nutmeg, a tumeric and pepper in a 
heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and 
cook for about 15 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Immediately 
add vegetable mixture and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and 
pour into sterilized jars. Refrigerate or freeze.

Mixed berry compote

Silver calls this recipe, which pairs well with cake and whipped cream, one of her “secret weapons.”

Prepare it as needed from fresh berries, or defrosted frozen ones.

Grandma’s green tomato chutney

Tina Jesson of TinasTraditional.com suggests serving this chutney with ham off the bone, or in cheese sandwiches.

“Grandma always said wait 3 months 
before opening, but its good to use immediately too,” she says.

To make it, peel and grate two pounds apples. Peel a half-pound onions and slice in to cubes. Rough chop 
two pounds green tomatoes.

Add to pan together with a pound of raisins, a pound and a half brown sugar and two tablespoons salt. Place 12 chilies to a muslin bag and crush slightly, and add bag to pan.

Add a pint of apple cider vinegar. Cook gently, for about an hour. Towards the end, stir constantly because thickened chutneys can catch
 very easily, she says.

Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.