Who else out there loves a good Farmers Market shopping spree? I am mesmerized by ALL of the fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, etc. and then I bring home the bags and bags of colorful foods….and wonder how I am going to enjoy it all….before the next week’s haul, or before it all goes bad.
So, like all other things, I have found creative ways to use some of the produce I purchase often, and NO, I don’t change how much or what I buy, even though that might be the most logical thing to do! Take a look at my recommendations and ideas below – give them a try and let me know how it works for you.
I’m not talking the long process with special equipment and boiling water with glass jars and such. I envy those who have mastered that and took the time to perfect their process – but I’m a “quick-pickle” kind of food person. Luckily, I’ve found a few others around food blog world that have the same inclination as me, and have great recipes and processes to follow. It prolongs some of the produce for weeks or months, AND, as an extra bonus, the homemade version of pickled vegetables are crisper, fresher and are customizable to your tastes!
Whether it’s cucumbers, artichokes, onions, okra, carrots, mini peppers, or any other vegetable you prefer pickled, the method is similar and takes no time at all to make. The only things you need are white vinegar, dill, garlic, peppercorns and the preferred vegetable; and then usual household ingredients such as water, salt and white sugar/sweetener.
Try a couple of these recipes below:
- Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles by the Self Proclaimed Foodie
- Refrigerator Pickled Vegetables from the Food Network
Fresh berries, stone fruit, melons, even tomatoes are amazing when they are turned into jam….after you enjoy all of them fresh first, of course! Making chia jam, once again, takes out the hours of labor to make a simple product, with another bonus of adding healthy protein, Omega-3s and more when using chia seeds.
Each batch only uses a couple of ingredients, and require minimal prep for the fridge. It will prolong the time you can enjoy these farmers market finds, provides a lower sugar, healthier result and it makes great gifts for family and friends. Imagine being invited to a last minute backyard party, and you have jars of jam to choose from and give as a hostess gift, or bring along with an appetizer – think brie, crackers and jam…
There are many recipes for chia jam, depending on the types of fruit you use or have on hand. Try one of these for a fresh and different flavor for your toast tomorrow morning:
- Berry Chia Seed Jam by Cookie and Kate
- Melon Chia Seed Jam by Cali Girl Cooking
- Tomato Chia Jam by Healthy Midwestern Girl
Fruit Popsicles –
Custom, no-added-sugar summer treats are the best. And, the flavor combinations are truly endless. There are so many recipes out there – but the base recipe I’ve always compiled is below to make 10 popsicles.
Need a popsicle mold? There are hundreds of options, but this is the one I’ve used for years and it’s easy to fill, clean and use again.
Base Popsicle Recipe:
- 2c fresh fruit, cut into small pieces
- 1T lemon juice
- 1T Agave syrup
Blend ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. Pour into a smaller measuring cup, or you can use this set which helps with the layering process, if you’d like to mix a few flavors together. Add 2-2.25oz of puree into each mold and freeze for 45 minutes. After 45m minutes, add the popsicle sticks and freeze for 6-8 hours until frozen (or up to overnight). Once frozen, run mold under warm water for a few seconds to release popsicles. I then freeze them on a parchment lined 9×13 cookie sheet until frozen again. After that, I wrap in wax or parchment paper and place in a freezer container or zipper bag for long term storage. It helps to label the container with the type of fruit(s) and date made (I recommend keeping for up to 6 months). This helps when making multiple different batches as the summer goes on, and allows for more variety when offering family, friends, or yourself a frozen treat when the sun is shining!
We’ll talk about more options for using fresh summer produce in the coming weeks and months, but I hope this gets you started as the farmers markets are opening up and all the stores are bursting with new items to try! Let me know which recipes and processes you try and how they turn out! Have something for us to try? Share below in the comments.
Enjoy the weekend and all that summer is starting to offer.