Summer’s Bounty

As summer winds down, some of our Living Large in Our Little House community might find themselves with more summer harvest bounty than good recipes.

Unfortunately, that is not the case here this year. A wet, cool spring followed immediately by too hot of temperatures made for a short growing season. As you can see in my post from a few days ago, my grape and volunteer tomato plants have about had it and the ones in the garden didn’t fare much better.

Still, I know some of you are still picking and growing. Here’s a couple of recipes from my mother’s recipe box that have long been staples for summer in our family:

Sour Cream and Cucumbers

2-3 large fresh cucumbers

1 sweet or mild fresh onion

2-4 Tblsp. Sour cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the cucumbers into strips with a hand grater. Do the same with the onion. Mix the sour cream with onion and cucumbers. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes a great summer side dish or pre-dinner salad.

Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad

2-3 fresh tomatoes

1-2 fresh cucumbers

½ fresh sweet or mild onion

Italian salad dressing to taste

Cube tomatoes and cucumber. Dice onion. Mix in a bowl together with Italian salad dressing to taste. Makes an excellent summer salad or with a piece of garlic bread, is a meal!

Freezing Blueberries

For dry pack berries, wash berries, drain and remove the stems and bad berries. Pack into plastic freezer bags or vacuum package. Seal, label and freeze. For blueberry pie filling, wash and drain 12 cups of blueberries, Combine with 3 c. of sugar and ¾ c. of cornstarch. Let stand until juice begins to flow, about 30 minutes. Add 1 tblsp. Grated lemon peel and ¼ c. lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Ladle into ca-or-freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes, leaving ½ inch headspace. Cool at room temperature, not to exceed 2 hours. Seal, label and freeze.

Freezing Green Beans

Wash beans in cold water, trim ends and cut into 2-4 inches to fit freezer container. (The longer cuts, the better quality). Blanch 3 minutes. Cool. Dran. Pack beans into can-or-freeze jars, plastic freezer bags, plastic freezer boxes or vacuum package. Seal. Label. Freeze.

Do you have any favorite fresh summer salad recipe or freezing method?

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11 Responses

  1. MarthaAndMe says:

    My grandmother did something similar with cucumbers!

    I used to freeze lots of corn. I would buy it on the cob, blanch it, cut it off and freeze it in baggies. Sometimes I will stew tomatoes and freeze them in plastic containers.

    • Kerri says:

      I believe my mother’s sour cream and cucumber recipe is a very old recipe passed on, maybe from our grandmother’s generation.

  2. V Schoenwald says:

    I do the same as Kristi. I freeze berries, corn, green beans, on cookie sheets and freeze, only I use a vacuum sealer and seal everything, my corn I put into 2-3 serving bags with a couple of pats of butter and herbs and freeze and then when you are fixing dinner or supper, I put these in with the boiling potatos and less one pot to clean.
    The corn and beans I blanche for about 5 mins and then freeze.
    Cooking and “putting up” is a learned and experimental adventure in its self. Its a jungle out there. If I do get in a bind and cannot figure it out, I call my county extension office here and usually get the answer.
    I usually don’t use recipes, just notes jotted down in a journal for reference.
    This is for Kristi…Have you tried growing cukes in large tubs or whiskey barrels? Use potting/compost mix and then trellis them. I grow most of my garden in top soil bags and 20 gal tubs, and have generally eliminated the problems with bugs and disease. Where I live, I cannot dig and physically cannot dig anymore either so this has been a win-win situation for me.

    • Kristi says:

      I need to give that a try. I miss having my own cukes and depending on the kindness of strangers.

      • Kerri says:

        I tired growing cucumbers in a smaller container last year, V, and they didn’t do well. We will be growing all of our bounty here next year. Growing with the neighbors more than 2 miles away is really inconvenient. I will try the whiskey barrel/trellis approach with the cukes next year, there’s really nothing like fresh ones.

        • V Schoenwald says:

          Kerri,
          Try them is a large 2 cu ft bag of Miracle grow plant potting soil. This is what I use with my cukes and some large tomatoes. Looks pretty weird at first, you just lay the bag on the ground, letter side up, cut a rectangle on top, (remove plastic flap you cut) and punch a few holes through the potting mix into the bottom, water throughly before you plant and then plant your transplants and you should have a pretty good crop. They do require more attention and watering, I mulch the tops to keep moisture in, but I have had good luck with the bag method, sometimes better than the buckets, I grow peppers, eggplant, beans and peas in the buckets also, and mulch.

  3. Kristi says:

    I freeze blueberries on cookie sheets and then put in gallon bags after frozen. That way I can use the amount I need for pancakes or muffins or a pie. I do this with most small fruits, i.e. blackberries, strawberries and raspberries. For currants and rhubarb I measure enough for a pie and freeze in bags.
    I wish I could grow cukes. I have the wilt in my soil so have given up.
    I just recently tried a tomato bread salad. You just cut up tomatoes, bread (old french bread works best) and onions. Add Italian dressing and parmesan cheese. It is yummy. There are recipes all over the web. But you really don’t need a recipe.

  4. Kerri says:

    You’re welcome, Alexandra. I’m also a novice at freezing so we can compare notes this winter! 🙂

  5. Alexandra says:

    I’m a novice at freezing, so really appreciate your suggestions. Also have a bumper crop of cukes.