Summer Recipes from the Garden

Strawberries from my garden
Strawberries from my Garden

I hope you are enjoying the summer harvest from your garden. If you don't have a garden, you can find fabulous fresh produce at your local farmer's market.

I've been getting a lot of strawberries which we've been eating, or using to make strawberry ice cream.

Pesto
Pesto

I'm also growing basil, which I use to make my favorite summer sauce, pesto.

Tuscan Pork Chops and Caprese Salad
Tuscan Pork Chops and Caprese Salad

I also love caprese salads. Nothing like fresh summer tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella!

Summer Recipes from the Garden

Here are some of my favorite summertime recipes from the garden:

Summertime Gazpacho – Cold, spicy, flavorful tomato soup. I love it with fresh avocado and ice cubes.

Lacto-Fermented Salsa – One of my very favorite snacks is homemade tortilla chips with fresh lacto-fermented salsa.

Edible Weed & Sprouts Salad – I just picked up some purslane from the farmer's market. I've been meaning to plant some — it grows like a weed (I guess that's because it is a weed).

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – I love this dressing because it's full of fat-soluble activators and probiotics, but also because you can add lots of fresh garden herbs from the garden to give it a ton of flavor.

Ceviche – Raw fish with citrus and fresh garden tomatoes and peppers — this is a cool summer dish that goes great with a salad or homemade tortilla chips.

Pesto-Crusted Salmon – Instead of putting pesto on pasta, try slathering it on wild salmon. It tastes great and it's much more nutrient-dense.

Roast Duck with Cherry Reduction Sauce – A reduction sauce is a wonderful way to get more bone broth into your family. Add some cherries, and it's heavenly served over roast duck.

Homemade Cherry Pie – Make a homemade cherry pie with fresh cherries from the garden or farmer's market and your family will fall in love. The last time I served this, people could not stop raving. It's that good.

Honey Roasted Figs with Vanilla Ice Cream – I had a fig tree in my last home and I could not keep up with the figs that tree produced. You'll love this dessert.

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What are you growing in your garden this summer? What summer recipes are you enjoying? Please add a link to a great summer recipe with fresh-from-the-garden produce below.

Disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in the Sowing Millions Project by Real Food Media on behalf of Seeds of Change. I received product and exclusive content to facilitate my post. My thoughts and opinions are my own and not of those of Real Food Media or Seeds of Change

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

173 thoughts on “Summer Recipes from the Garden

  1. Last year a farmer at our market introduced me to pesto made with cilantro and mint. It was a nice change from the basil pesto.

    This year we got many quarts of strawberries from our garden. Our strawberries were ripe the first week of June.

  2. YUMMMMMY. i LUV fresh fruit… and now i can make Gello with it toooo!!!!! add some cream and u r good to go for a very healthy treat!

    1. My gelatin should be arriving in the mail today! I can’t wait to make a fresh fruit “jello” with it. And cream on top sounds heavenly!

          1. My gelatin arrived! My gelatin arrived! I am so excited. I cannot wait to taste my first gello!!!

            1. I’m happy for you and sad for me! Mine didn’t arrive πŸ™ I had plans for jello tonight. There’s always tomorrow…

              1. πŸ™ Sorry kandemom. I hope yours arrives tomorrow. I made my first gello, but it is a little too loose. Do you know how long I should refrigerate it for?

              2. I spoke too soon. My gelatin arrived today after all! I have a batch of jello in the fridge, should be able to try it before I go to bed!

                1. Yay, kandemom! My gelatin never got very firm, it was still sloshy this morning. But I ate it anyways and it tasted yummy. What a treat! Now I need to find recipes for using this newfound food of mine: gelatin.

                  1. Mine didn’t get as firm as what I usually think of jello. Maybe a little more gelatin next time. It was still very tasty!

                    1. My first batch was looser, but I more thoroughly dissolved the gelatin for the second batch and it got as firm as Jello

            1. She sure is. I wasn’t sure whether to try the BJ brand or the Great Lakes brand, so I ordered both. BJ came yesterday in the mail and the GL came today. The GL was a lot cheaper, so if they both work the same, I will probably get GL in the future.

              1. I got the BJ brand from amazon. I’ll have to look into the GL if it is less expensive but still good. Let us know how it compares to the BJ’s.

                1. i got gl from amazon.. buy 4 and they came to $11 a pound.. FREE shipping… i like the free shipping

                2. I got both BJ and GL from Amazon. The BJ was $6 for 7 oz. plus shipping (came to $8). The GL was $11 for 16 oz and free shipping when I bought a pack of 2.

                    1. So far I have only used the BJ and wasn’t planning on opening the GL until it was gone (and I would have many trials then, too,) but I could open the GL and give it a couple test runs. Once I have made several batches with each, I will let you know what I think.

                    2. Well, I opened the GL this evening so I can make a fresh batch of gello for tomorrow. First impressions: The BJ gelatin is more granular and the GL is more powdery. I’ll let you know later how it gels.

                    3. I made gello tonight with the GL. I thought that the more powdery texture of the GL would dissolve more quickly than the granular texture of the BJ, but this was not true. The powdery GL clumped together more in the hot water and was harder to separate and dissolve. I wouldn’t write it off yet, though. We’ll see how the solidified product is tomorrow.

                    4. Well, I didn’t like the consistency of the end-product gello for this GL batch, but just in case it was pilot error, don’t take that as a definitive BJ is better. I will make another batch of GL gello tonight for tomorrow. It may have been my combination of ingredients and not the gelatin.

                    5. OK, I made a second batch with GL and it turned out much better. This one was with purple grape juice and pineapple-coconut juice. It turned out well, but I am still liking the consistency I got with BJ better. However, I would like to point out that I am new to gello making and it could be my inexperience, not the gelatin. I still have a lot of both types of gelatin, so I will continue using both and getting better at making gelatin and let you know what I think after more experience. πŸ™‚ Perhaps I should start my own gello blog. LOL

                  1. really- when making gelatin- you should bloom it first- not add it straight to hot water. So take some of your liquid that you would use for the recipe- and put it in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let it sit 5 min. The dump that (it’ll pretty much absorb the water and be kinda like wet sand) into a pan. Melt over heat for a few min (till it’s no longer grainy). Then mix with the rest of your liquid. Place in your dish/mold and chill.

                    1. riceinmay, that worked for the more powdery GL, but it didn’t really bloom the same with the granular BJ brand. The “mix with hot water” way was from the website imblst posted a little further down. (thehealthyhomeeconomist)

        1. I had not ever made it before either, but here is what riceinmay posted for me:

          It’s really really easy. I use kefir as the liquid- because then I’m getting probiotics AND much less sugar. You could also use fruit juice (or water and fruit juice.)

          Get some good gelatin. I use great lakes- it’s from pastured cows. You can buy it on amazon.
          Ingredients: 1 Tbs gelatin, and 2 cups liquid

          First you “bloom” the gelatin. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of gelatin over a small amount of your liquid (like 1/2 cup). Let sit 5 min. Then either put the bowl over a pan of boiling water, or pour into a small saucepan. Melt the gelatin over gentle heat. You know it’s melted when it’s not grainy anymore. Takes just a few min. Add the melted gelatin mixture to the remaining liquid. Stir well and chill. If you want “jigglers” (much more bite- verses a softer gelatin) then use 1 Tbs gelatin to 1 cup of liquid. Have fun!

          1. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2010/08/video-healthy-jello-dessert/ this video helped me A LOT…

              1. I have a bunch of organic apples that need to be made into something before they go bad. I have been fermenting them after making applesauce, but jello from it sounds really good too.

            1. I just watched the video. Making jello is so easy. I have a whole bunch of frozen grapes that I could juice and make into jello.

              1. that’s the amounts i used…..and it was so funny, I have never made jello since I have had kids and when I told my 4 year old I was going to make her jello she was so confused, she asked what it was….it’s sort of comical to try and explain what it is and is like to someone who has never had it before.

                1. does anyone know how to make little gummy bear type things…? what would the recipe be and where would you get molds like that from? Has anyone made them?

                  1. You could probably use candy molds like they have at Michael’s. I don’t know about getting the gummy bear type texture, maybe increase the gelatin content?

            1. I did 4 1/2tbs per 4c of liquid for pretty firm finger gello and it worked great. For me I did 2c of kombucha juice of lemon and lime and then 1 3/4c boiling water….turns out wonderful

  3. Right now we are eating spinach every day (sauteed with bacon fat, in fritattas, etc.). I really need to learn how to freeze it to save for later!

      1. I love fresh spinach,but have a hard time with the texture of cooked greens (the flavor too). Bacon does make everything better, so maybe I’ll trying cooking the two together and see if I can get it down.

    1. Hi HollymMead,

      It is actually much better to cook the spinach in water first before cooking it in fat:

      “Some veggie greens contain a chemical called oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a very irritating substance to the mouth and intestinal tract. It also blocks iron and calcium absorption and may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. The good news is that oxalic acid is reduced by a light steaming or cooking – just be sure to discard the cooking water.”

      https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2010/10/think-raw-veggies-are-best-think-again/

    2. spinach w/ bacon, yesssss, that is a treat. Hot Bacon dressing on spinach makes a good salad.

  4. I was introduced to caprese salad when I lived in Germany. I haven’t made my own mozzarella yet, but we are growing our own basil and tomatoes! One of my favorite salads for sure.
    Your Cherry Pie recipe is delicious! I made it for my husband for Father’s Day and he loved it.

  5. I have always loved caprese salad. Lots of great recipes to try! I was going to do one of those lasagna gardens you mentioned once, but now I will have to wait til spring. At least I have the book and saved enough newpaper to start! Farmer’s market for now…

      1. Cheeseslave talks about it in her May 23, 2011 post. No digging! Newspaper, compost, etc. are layed on the ground. It looks about my speed!

            1. I’ve done it before. I found that combining raised beds, with lasagna gardening with square foot gardening works the best!

              1. I am not very good with gardens. I hate weeding. I know some people enjoy weeding, saying it is therapeutic, but I find it itchy and tedious. I seem to do better with animals than with plants. Yet, I keep trying a garden each year, hoping I will get better at it. And hoping the weeds will not come.

  6. I am getting lots of lettuces in my CSA box, so my favorite lunch lately has been mixed green salad with feta cheese, cranberries, olives, and a drizzle of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Of course, today I accompanied that with a cup of bone broth on the side.

  7. I am wondering why my comment above says “waiting moderation”. I haven’t seen that before.

  8. these recipes sound fantastic I can’t wait to try them! I’ve been craving Gazpacho and I have fresh buttermilk in my fridge and was planning to find a buttermilk ranch dressing recipe to use today πŸ™‚ Thanks so much!

  9. We got a lot of strawberries in June.. they are tapering off a bit now but we still get them (everbearing). Tomatoes are green so we should have some soon! I may have to try some of these recipes!

  10. I just got a pastured duck from the farmer’s market. I’m definitely going to have to try the cherry reduction sauce!

  11. Does anyone know if I should brine my pastured duck before roasting it? I always do that with pastured chicken so it’s not too dry, but wasn’t sure about the duck.

    1. You can but ducks have so much fat on them you’d have to overcook the heck out of it before it would turn out dry.

        1. I’ll have to do this with the rest of my chickens. I haven’t done it before and hate when the meat gets dry. I do cook my chickens breast down so that the white meat is cooking in the bird’s juices and that helps.

      1. To brine is to soak it in a salt water solution (sometimes other stuff is added also). This chicken soaks up some of the salt water, and it makes the chicken much more moist (but as a side note- the skin won’t be quite as crispy on a brined bird)

        1. ok so I got a few whole chickens this week, do you just put it in a pan or sink and fill with salt water? How much salt generally? And how long do you soak it for? Thanks!

        1. Oops, I was replying to Bethany before I noticed that riceinmay already responded. Sorry.

          My brother-in-law always brines his thanksgiving turkey and then deepfry in peanut oil in a turkey roasting contraption. The turkey is always very moist AND has a crispy skin! ( I don’t know where this falls on the healthy scale, but it tastes amazing.)

          1. oh sounds delicious… .I LOVE the crispy skin… sometimes I will take the skin off my chicken and fry it in the pan so it gets extra crispy….. lol NEVER in my life would I have thought I would say such a thing, back in my vegan days…oh how much I have learned !

            1. How long ago did you stop being vegan? Did your body have a difficult time readjusting to meat?

              I have enough dirty pans to clean up as it is; I don’t think I would take the skin off and fry it because that means another pan.

              1. I slowly became vegan over the course of 5 years and for about a year was about 90% raw foodist and then went back to just vegan with cooked veggies and grains thinking that would help with a number of health issues we had started experiencing…. but it didn’t help everything just got worse and then I read Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint and from that day on, I talked to my husband who was overjoyed with the prospect of eating meat again and we just jumped right back in, from 100% vegan to 100% carnivore. Right now we’re eating totally grain free while our bodies repair, and we just stared gaps a week ago.
                Regarding how my body adjusted to meat it was interesting, I always thought that I didn’t like meat but I realized that I had just so conditioned myself to thinking it was bad that I believed I didn’t like it…however I found out that I loved meat…loved animal fat and could not get enough of stuff like chicken skin and broth and butter !! I had been having digestive issues for a while before we switched so I still had trouble digesting food up until we started gaps…. the last few days I have actually been able to fully digest my food and actually feel hungry it’s sooooo wonderful. I still have a lot of healing ahead but I can already feel my body working better in the 7 days we’ve been on gaps. So right now I am digesting meat wonderfully and lots of it…as long as it’s boiled.

                  1. yeah, I had read that there can be pretty quick healing but was a bit skeptical… however I am so pleased with the results the Lord has allowed me to have so far. I have realized that I will have to be on the intro phase longer than I had hoped initially… I was planning to do about 5 days for each stage, but today is day 7 and I did not react well to the egg yolk or fermented veggies so I will be on intro longer than planned, but that is ok cause I am actually digesting food for once so I am thankful for that !!!

                    1. Hi Bethany,
                      I am on the intro to GAPS and am not tolerating the egg yolk very well either, although it sure is yummy in the soup. However, I am doing well on the fermented veggies. I have a whole bunch in my fridge. I am hoping to start my kombucha tea soon.

                  2. have you read the book yet? It is my #1 book… I have read tons of health books, many being vegetairan/vegan/raw foodie based πŸ™ but still Gaps is probably the most interesting book on health I have read…. along with ramiel nagel’s tooth book and I can’t wait to read Weston A. Price’s book, have not done that yet.

                  3. Gaps is amazing…we have had great results with it and feeling great…I am planning on getting my kids all on board this fall…

            2. sounds good! I keep wishing that their was a “like” button for some of these post and replies!

  12. We have been getting a lot of summer sqash & zuccinni from our garden. The best way to eat summer squash is to slice it thin, sprinkle it with salt, and fry it on low for 20 minutes until soft & translucent. We usually add diced onions, and always add grated cheese.

    1. I’ve been turning all my summer squash and zuchinni into lacto-fermented pickles. Dill and hot peppers. YUM YUM!

      1. riceinmay, I want to try making lacto-fermented pickles with zucchini. Is this a recipe in Nourishing Traditions?

          1. I made some last year with zucchini spears & 1/4 cup whey & the rest water. Did 2 T salt also plus garlic cloves. They were very tasty. However, they didn’t stay crisp really long. I’m not sure – maybe a couple weeks.

          2. I would like to see your recipe, too, since I have a garden full of zucchini at the moment.

          3. I’ll write it down exact- and come back and post- but in the meantime- here’s what I do

            Thickly slice zucchini and/or summer squash. Place a few small dried chili peppers (I get mine from the local asian market) in the bottom of your fermenting container (I use homemade pickle-it type jars). Add veggies. Add some dried dill weed, and dried dill seed. Then make brine. I use aprox 1 Tbs of GOOD salt to 1 cup filtered water. Make enough brine to cover all the veggies. Allow to sit out for 3-7 days until the flavor you like is achieved (depends on heat of house, and thickness of cut). Then store in the fridge. These have a pepper BITE – but we like the kick of heat πŸ˜€

            1. Thanks, riceinmay. Oh, and glad to see you back. I missed your posts yesterday. Funny, I have only been reading Cheeseslave’s blog since the beginning of July, but I have gotten used to seeing your comments and missed them. And it was sad to see your name slip lower on the leaderboard for the broth challenge.

            2. Can I do it without the chili pepper for my kid who doesn’t like spicy?
              Can I use canning jars?

  13. This is awesome! That would be awesome! This is awesome! Delicious and healthy food – very good.ο»Ώ Thanks Guys!

  14. Gazpacho looks awesome. I got a bunch of melons in my co-op box. I’m thinking about making a cold melon soup with chicken broth……..

  15. Oh btw- I make an herbed pesto that’s really really yummy. I use basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Then I used a mixture of crispy nuts, and of course olive oil and parm cheese.

    1. that sounds really good… I love pesto…sadly my kids are not such fans…perhaps I put too much garlic in…ha, probably.

      1. My whole family loves lots of garlic. I think I mentioned elsewhere that cilantro and mint pesto is really good. The recipe is in a cookbook called Simply in Season. The cookbook is organized by what produce is in season during spring, summer, and fall. There are even winter recipes using produce that stores well like potatoes.

        1. Farmerkimberly,
          I am going to write that book down… my husband and I decided to eat as seasonally as we can this year, that will be a neat book to check out…thanks.

          1. It is not similar to Nourishing Traditions, but it is a great cookbook for cooking and eating in season. Using fresh produce from the farmer’s market.

  16. I got fresh tomatoes in my CSA box today. I have basil growing in my front yard. Now I only need to come up with fresh mozzarella.

    1. and olive oil and balsamic vinegar!~ Make sure and drizzle over the top- makes it out of this world! (of course with salt and pepper)

  17. Cheeseslave- thoseTuscan Porkchops look really good! Will you please post that recipe? That would be great!! Thanks!

  18. I made the roasted duck with cherry reduction sauce for dinner tonight. Thanks for the great recipe!

  19. Now you’re making me crave duck, one of my favorites but i’ve never made it before. It pairs so beautifully with fruit, I think I need to try this cherry one!

  20. Another great cookbook that helps me use more variety of my farm market produce is Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce: A Guide to Easy-to-Make Dishes with Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables. It is organized alphabetically by produce. So, let’s say you have some turnips and don’t know what to do with them; Look up turnips and it tells you how to choose them, how to store them, how to prepare them, and then a couple recipes using them. Awesome.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470371056

    1. Farmer Kimberly,
      That cookbook looks wonderful. I have a ton of cookbooks and definitely don’t need another one, but it sure looks fabulous. I think I will put it on my Amazon wish list for Christmas.

      1. I am a cookbook addict myself and have to resist buying any more cookbooks, but this one was so good, I splurged.

  21. I absolutely love pesto and have basil ready to be picked in my yard. My tomatoes got eaten by the raccoons.

    1. love pesto too. it freezes good too if you end up w/ a lot of basil……mine is ready to pick again.

    2. Bad raccoons. I used to think they were cute, but after they attacked my ducks, chickens, and turkeys repeatedly, raccoons are not my friends. I have lost many animals because of raccoons.

  22. these recipes all look so good. I can’t wait to try them. Maybe this weekend I will have some time to cook.

  23. I brought in 9 more zucchini from the garden. Time to get out the cookbooks and be creative.

      1. I am not sure. Many zucchini varieties are vines that spread out far and wide, but there are also more compact plant varieties. I would think you would need pretty large pot. You could always give it a try. I don’t think it would hurt.

    1. Do you organic garden? I’ve had trouble with squash vine borer the last 2 years- and wondered if you had any tips.

      1. I organic garden, but I haven’t had the vine borer problem. Farmer friends tell me that rotating locations helps — don’t plant the same kind of veggies in the same spot 2 years in a row. I was also told that spraying dilute compost tea on plants help. And i was told that planting garlic or mint near your other plants can deter certain pests. There was another herb that was supposed to deter pests and I cannot remember what it is. Oh and having ducks running around and eating bugs helps, too.

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