For some people, August is depressing. Not for me. Since I love the Fall, it doesn’t bother me to see the summer wind down. It’s a time of anticipation; even the air smells different to me.
In the Midwest, August means tall fertile fields of corn, apple trees heavy with fruit, and our local Menard’s and Fleet Farm stores have great sales on canning supplies. Everyone is ready to harvest.
August involves parents scrambling to get their restless kids ready for school. High school athletics are underway and pro-football fans are counting the days to the season opener. For die-hard Packer fans, it means five months of cheering on the home team, gathering with friends and family and eating food…lots of food!
If you’re a football buff, you’ll want to check out our post 10 Healthy Game-Day Recipes and Tailgating Tips. Packer football is synonymous with beer and brats, but this post features some tasty vegetarian recipes you’re sure to love.
Vegetables, vegetables and more… fruits?
August is bursting with seasonal veggies and fruits. Do you ever find yourself at the farm market wanting to buy all the produce you see, only to bring it home and wonder what to do with it? It happens to me. My intentions are good, but my follow-through, not-so-much!
Maybe we can help. We’ve rounded up some great recipes using seasonal foods you can stock up on and enjoy. We’ll focus on zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and green beans!
Zucchini for everyone!
One of the most prolific veggies here in the Midwest is zucchini. Normally, I shred it and freeze it in 2 cup portions, but our freezers are already jammed full and I need to conserve space. I was happy to find this article from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship, “6 Ways to Use Zucchini When You Don’t Like the Taste and How to Save it for Winter.”
For parents with picky eaters, you’ll see how you can put zucchini into many foods and no one will ever know! I also learned I can dehydrate shredded zucchini! Isn’t that great? (It doesn’t take me much to get me excited.) I can now fit 15 cups of zucchini in one quart jar and it doesn’t have to go in the freezer. You can use as little or as much as you want.
While zucchini isn’t considered a super-food like broccoli, it does have noteworthy nutritional value. See The Health Benefits of Zucchini from LiveStrong.com. Since it’s so economical this time of year, why not stock up?
Our first recipe is Tortellini & Zucchini Soup from Eating Well. You’ll find the full recipe here, but this is quick (40 minutes max!) nourishing meal and, if gluten is an issue for you, make it with a gluten free tortellini and voila.
Peppers are a fruit!
Yes, that’s right. We think of them as vegetables but they’re actually a fruit. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, they taste good and they’re good for you! Peppers are high in vitamins A and C, E and carotenoids (red peppers) and lutein.
Since I’m always short on time, and I’m not always wild about making dinner when I get home from work, I found this great recipe from Family Fresh Meals
Use different colored peppers for a colorful display. The recipe has a vegetarian option and you can jazz it up with more spices and seasonings, to your liking, too.
Tomatoes – another seasonal fruit!
Every year, it seems my husband and I plant too many tomatoes. Correction, I buy too many tomato plants every spring..sorry honey. Last year I was determined to do the most with our abundance of tomatoes, and found this recipe from SimplifyLiveLove.com. It’s a recipe for Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce.
There are two really great things about this recipe:
1) You don’t have to peel the tomatoes! Once you roast them a Vitamix does the trick turning them into a thick and tasty sauce. I don’t have a Vitamix (yet!) and used an old blender – it wasn’t perfect but it worked great for us.
2) You can freeze the sauce or can it – whatever works best for you. I’m going to can the sauce this year following Michelle’s directions here.
So easy and delicious.
Cabbage – inexpensive, nutritious and oh, so versatile!
Since I’m a Weston A Price member, I’m big on fermented veggies. Did you know that fermenting veggies increases their nutrient value significantly? It’s a good way to get more vitamins and save money! For a very easy recipe on fermenting cabbage here’s a good one from The Kitchen Rag: Homemade Sour Kraut
Since cabbage is so plentiful, don’t stop there. Try these Reuben Cabbage Rolls from Real Food RN, they’re a grain-free take on your favorite sandwich. She recommends you serve them with gluten free beer. We have some recommendations for you in our post – 7 Gluten Free Beers to Indulge In This Football Season.
And finally, how about a delicious chocolate cake with – you guessed it – sauerkraut! Here’s a recipe from our local fermenting expert, Thomasa, at Let’s Ferment. She got the recipe from the National Kraut Packers Association and tried it out on her four children! They loved it!
Isn’t it time you snuck a little sourkraut in your cake?
Green beans don’t have to be boring!
If your garden is like mine, you have an abundance of green beans. Cooking with green beans can be boring. Everyone resorts to the usual green bean casserole with mushroom soup, but green beans don’t have to be boring. You’ll love this green beans recipe from The Pioneer Woman
So there you have it, six creative new ways to serve up your August Garden Harvest. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, please post it in the comments section below!