Cucumbers and Tomatoes and Squash – Oh My!

June 27, 2013 in Family and Consumer Sciences, Feature

vegetablesTaste, affordability, and excellent nutritional value.  That’s the buzz each summer for families who plant home gardens.  Rich yields of delicious green beans, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, zucchini or peppers – picked fresh from your garden.   What to do with all those summer veggies when your garden flourishes & you have a bumper crop?

Slice & dip—peppers of red, yellow, orange & green, tomatoes, and summer squash.  Add raw sweet peppers to vegetable platters or salads. Sauté peppers with other vegetables. Stuff whole sweet bell peppers. Hot peppers are great in salsa.  The nutritional value of peppers is amazing, providing : Vitamins A, B6, C, K; anthocyanin antioxidants (red and purple varieties), lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants (green and yellow varieties).  Plus, peppers are fat free, low in sodium, and high in fiber. Add juicy, thick sliced tomatoes and slivers of yellow & green squash for a real splash of color!

Chill—Chilled Cantaloupe Soup, Cold Roasted Tomato Soup,  Gazpacho,  and Carrot Coconut Lime Soup.  To create and taste these delicious summer soup recipes, see Cold Summer Soups  Fact Sheet

Steam—green beans, peas, peppers, squash, onions, and eggplant. An appetizer that uses eggplant and tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers right from the garden can be found on the Eggplant Fact Sheet.

Grill—corn, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, squash and more.  Here’s a Grillled Summer Vegetable Medley recipe from Cooks.com that’s sure to please your backyard guests:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1750,157187-246193,00.html

Tips for grilling vegetables:

Choose firm vegetables i.e. peppers, eggplant, corn on the cob, mushrooms, summer squash.

Clean and trim vegetables

Marinate 15 minutes or brush lightly or use a foil pouch or grill basket

Fire should be medium-hot  in charcoal or gas grill

Place vegetables on grill grid, or skewers or inside foil pouch or basket, keeping in mind that cooking time varies greatly.

Turn vegetables often, brushing on more marinade as needed.

Remove vegetables when easily pierced with a fork.

Share–Consider donating a row or two to your local food bank, with programs that promote fresh produce and city farmers markets to make fruits and vegetables available to all.  To donate to The Food Bank of Delaware, read http://extension.udel.edu/factsheet/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/PlantRowFinal.pdf

And one final recipe that incorporates a rainbow of taste that is a popular Cooperative Extension request:

Rainbow Salad

4 cups spinach, washed and torn into pieces

1-1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (optional)

1/4 cup toasted almonds (optional)

1 orange, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup strawberries, washed and sliced

Directions:

1. Put all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss.

2. Serve with Citrus Dressing or your favorite bottled

low fat dressing.  Serves four.

Citrus Dressing

2 tbsp. vegetable oil                                  2 tbsp. orange juice

1 tbsp. sugar                                                1 tbsp. vinegar

Combine all ingredients and shake to mix in a bottle or covered bowl.

nutrition-facts-rainbow-salad