Late summer is my favorite time of year for many reasons. One reason is the glut of fresh fruits and vegetables in my garden and market.
This a great opportunity to save money and put up local items for the winter time. If you are tempted by all the fresh items, but don’t know exactly how to proceed, here is an idea:
Look for items that you can glean from farmers and friends. When you do get items in bulk, it is an opportunity to stretch your creativity. You can incorporate the ingredients into recipes you already love and try out some brand new recipes.
This is how I did it recently: My friend Pete runs Johnson Family Ranch. Pete is a 5th generation farmer and puts so much love into his work. Every summer he sends me home with a case of pears. While they sit ripening, I’ve been thinking about what to do with these pretty pears. Here are the 5 new things I decided to do with this year’s crop.
- Pear Crisp: It came out great! Here is the recipe.
- Pear-Mango Chutney: Batch #1 turned out nasty. I will keep tinkering to develop a recipe I like.
- Dried Pear Pieces: Just cut the pear in 4-5 slices and dehydrate for 2 – 3 days. Only half the batch survived till the end. The other half I ate during the dehydration period. Half-dried pears are so tasty!
- Pear-Cranberry Salad: This salad was a hit with my family! Chopped lettuce, shreds of kale, pecans, dried cranberries and fresh pear top this fabulous salad. The trick to keeping chopped pear looking fresh is to store it in water and lemon juice. Drain the water off just before you serve.
- Pear Smoothies: I have been loving this combo: pear, banana, mint, parsley, kale, ginger and kefir.
I hope you find these ideas helpful. I would love to know how your experimenting in the kitchen goes!
Yours in good health,
Chef Heather Haxo Phillips