Garden To Table Recipes – Home Growing Or Market Harvest, healthy foods we can embrace at anytime in our lives, and in a multitude of ways.
Garden To Table
An approach to life’s daily meals by creating vegetable gardens, herb gardens, or even growing your own fruits!
In recent years, I’ve even experimented with a fun garden, using hydroponics, indoors.
So, don’t think gardening is simply for a large yard or deck!
Don’t Have Much Space For A Garden?
When I was a young gal, living the city life, I wanted to make my city apartment to radiate with natural creations I love about countryside living.
Let me tell you how I created a beautiful garden that didn’t depend on ‘growing season’; only a sunny window and my watering can.
- I laid plastic sheeting on a parquet floor, under a wide south-side window
- Bought some bricks and laid them flat on top of the plastic, standing the bricks on the edges on their side to create finished border
- Brought in pots of dirt, in a variety of sizes and began growing a bountiful harvest of herbs and edible flowers right there in my city apartment
Patio Pot Gardening
Sometimes, all we need is a balcony, patio or large windows, to create an abundant environment for growing herbs.
I’ve never had much luck with growing basil in the ground.
It seems more difficult to balance the amount of water it needs, and a location that gives it enough sun, but not too much.
Then I tried a wide, but not too deep pot, with a water tray under it, to plant basil seeds, lots and lots of seeds.
Absolutely the perfect environment for them to flourish!
Putting water in the tray, rather than in the dirt, forces the roots to reach down for a drink, which makes them grow stronger.
Often putting water in the pot, washes the nutrients in the dirt right through and out of the bottom.
From now on, I will always plant basil in this way!
Basil Recipes To Love
This list could probably be endless for the recipes we love to use basil in.
However, I will share just a few, for now, and add more as each growing season returns.
- Basil Pesto – of course, we must make pesto when there is an abundance of basil, portion in freezer bags and tuck into the freezer for winter cooking.
- Asparagus Ends Soup – cold or hot, using the often discarded asparagus ends (where most of the nutrients are), into this refreshing soup, pureed with lots of fresh basil.
- Crostini – most any crostini is highlighted by a heavy sprinkle of freshly chopped basil. This one is a scrumptious grilled peach crostini.
The Quest For Fresh Food Turns Planting Into Home Growing Fun
Over the years, I began to develop my cooking style around both my Mediterranean heritage and accessible farmers market products.
Then, one day I found myself living in the countryside with a yard and deck large enough to try my hand at home growing some of my own food.
And so, I went for it!
Flower lovers, cooks and home remedy folks are going to love this!
I found I had great success growing edible flowers in both the ground and in pots.
Edible flowers are finding their way into many of my recipes:
- Lavender and Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – tropical freshness of lemons and the nutritional nutty flavor of poppy seeds, makes these the perfect muffin to go completely dairy free!
- Lavender Butter Cookies – infused with both lavender salt and lavender sugar and all the butter flavor you’d want in a great cookie.
- Sakura Sips – a fancy cocktail made with Cherry Blossoms
- Elderberry & Elder Flower Gummies – Perfect for building the immune system
Not only do I get to use the buds for food, or beautifully garnish meals that I’ve cooked, but they all make my yard beautiful and the bees and butterflies happy!
TEA – Who Knew We Can Grow Tea!
However, I’ve just had my first great summer growing Bergamot tea and Hibiscus tea, and wow are they delicious!
Both took nearly six months to show any real promise but once they took hold, wow, just wow!
Delicious Goodies In An Herb Garden
Once I discovered that deer and other critters wouldn’t eat herbs or edible flowers with a strong smell or fuzzy leaves, I found success with a variety of plants.
Since I love lavender in herb mixes, cookies, even popsicles, I planted several in the garden.
From there, I branched out to grow other herbs that were either easy to grow or grew back each year.
Sage, having both external aromatic stress relief properties, as well as an aromatic flavor perfect to bring life to our Turkey Stuffing, a featured recipe I made for PBS on The Great American Recipe, or the classic Italian Chestnut and Sage sauce.
Home Grown Fennel
Fennel is another aromatic herb the deer don’t touch but I love in a refreshing summer Carrot and Fennel Salad.
For a spectacular ice cream, I mean really spectacular, my Fennel Pollen Ice Cream is incredible.
If you have access to fennel flowers when they are in bloom, ask the bees and butterflies to share a few with you.
Fennel pollen is being sold in specialty stores for nearly thirty bucks! Extract you own!
Tips For Cooking With Herbs
During the summer months, fresh herbs will always find their way into my recipes.
Whether incorporating fresh herb leaves into a recipe, using them as garnish or preparing them for Compound Butter logs; I have a useful tip for cutting the herbs.
‘How To Chiffonade’ herb leaves, or other leafy vegetables, is a handy tip from a professional chef.
Oh, and ‘what is compound butter you ask?
Another tip from a professional chef:
- chop fresh herbs, sometimes with garlic or garlic chives
- mix with butter, a drizzle of olive oil
- roll and wrap into logs
- place in the freezer where there is plenty of storage to use throughout the year.
What Type Of Delicious Garden To Grow For Good Food?
Absolutely try your hand at growing anything you love to eat or cook with!
If you love fried green tomatoes, grow those.
I do prefer using sun ripened red tomatoes in my cooking. Grow both!
I’ve found potatoes grow like crazy in pots at least 20-inches deep.
The list can be simple, or as extensive as you are willing to experiment with, but for sure it has been scientifically proven that some form of gardening is therapeutic to us busy humans!
For Special Additional Features To This Article?
Here is where I love to share the recipes, tips and shortcomings of my newly discovered garden to table passion, whether its home growing or market harvested ingredients.
For sure I haven’t tried growing corn, but I have so many recipes I’d love to share with you, and the corn definitely comes from locally harvested markets.
Every Garden Has Pests!
From the early months of March, when I begin to plant seeds in lots of little pots, to the day I transfer several inches of growing plants, I am so excited for a new season.
Every gardener knows there is much work and much love that goes into growing the ingredients we love to cook with.
However, once our magnificent plants begin to have large leaves and show promise, guess who loves them too?
PESTS! Everything from beetles to tiny little green worms are already having a smorgasbord in our garden!
Not wanting to later eat bug killer on my ingredients, I have found a homemade pesticide that works on most invaders.
- 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
- 3 cups water
- several HOT chili peppers
If the pests nibble, they don’t return!
I wear gloves and a mask when I spray the leaves because the chili pepper is so strong, it chokes me, so imagine how those pest will respond!
Among the first vegetables I tried growing, was peas.
The seeds looked like dehydrated peas, so it was easy to see exactly where I should plant them.
Often, seeds are so tiny I find myself planting too many on top of each other and they don’t have room to grow.
Not so with peas.
Once I harvested them and their adorable tendrils, an entirely new respect for peas inspired me to create a few unique recipes.
- Pea Pesto Crostini – better than avocado toast, with cilantro, lime and a pinch of chili peppers.
- Seared Scallops Over Pea Pesto – perfectly seared scallops over a bed of pea pesto and a drizzle of beurre blanc.
- Pea Pesto and Shrimp Wonton Cups – the perfect tapas recipe and finger food with wontons baked into cups to fill with pea pesto and one sauteed shrimp.
Often you will find okra in Mediterranean cooking, though I had never seen it grown at any home I visited as a kid.
And so, I decided to grow it.
Actually, while driving by a local farm, I noticed beautiful, tropical looking flowers in a huge field.
I pulled over, examined and hiding under the flowers were tons of okra! I tried growing them and they were such a success that I grow them every year now.
An important tip, I learned the hard way, is to pick the okra within days after it’s flower begins to whither, otherwise it is woody and not edible.
Oh how I couldn’t wait to try my ‘rookie gardening skills’ with pumpkin.
Little did I know, that they would take over an entire garden, produce a few pumpkins, and even those were not great.
The pumpkin blossoms however, were delicious.
Now, I visit my local farmer markets when they have harvested pumpkins from their massive fields!
Indoor Small Pots Microgreens
Did you know that when many plants are planted in small pots, forced to dwarf, they grow greens that can taste just like their full grown plant?
Microgreens are a fun, easy and foolproof way to become a ‘grow your own’ garden lover.
The seeds specifically created to grow dwarf plants can be planted in cute indoor pots, and in 10-days be ready to cut and eat!