As summer winds down, try these garden-goodness recipes


Is there anything better than biting into a tomato that you just picked? Or a final batch of strawberries coming in from the field, still warm from the sun? Not much can beat the fresh fruits and vegetables that grow all around America.

Everyone already has their grandma’s strawberry pie recipe or instructions on how she made your grandpa’s favorite pickles, but some more creative produce is at peak production right now.

One of my favorite memories growing up was the recurring chore of picking vegetables in my family’s garden. While I hated it at the time, I always got to spend time with my mom and sister, reaping the benefits of what we had planted. Now that I’m a recent college graduate and living in the city, I long to be back on land with a garden and room to plant sweet corn.

With summer coming to an end and fall approaching, it is starting to become more urgent that you use up your store of summer produce and clear space for the fall’s. Here are a few favorite recipes to use up your summer’s stash of broccoli, blackberries, blueberries, and tomatoes.


Blackberry French Toast

The base of this dish is a classic French toast, not many mysteries there. However, I use a blackberry compote instead of syrup. It’s more flavorful and has less sugar (I think) than other syrups you can find at the store.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups of blackberries
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of lemon zest

Cook everything together on medium heat until it gets thick and delicious. Store in an air-tight jar for later or use it hot on your sweet breakfast treat! This is just as awesome on waffles, pancakes, and biscuits, too.

To fill a whole jar, you might want to triple the recipe.

I found the original here.


Broccoli Cheese Bake

One of my favorite vegetables is broccoli. I love it almost all ways and have for years. The challenge is that not many other people do, so when I am cooking for a group and need to use up the delightful vegetable, I need to hide it. By chopping it up and mixing it into cheese, no one has ever seemed to mind getting their veggies in.

I use this recipe to make it.

The only thing I change is to stream the broccoli for 5 minutes instead of boiling it for 10. I find that it tastes better, but that is personal preference.

The recipe doesn’t have exact measurements attached, but I usually use the following:

  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ Tbsp of salt
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of cheese (I like white cheddar and Colby jack)
  • 4 cups of broccoli
  • 1 egg

As for instructions, you really just cook the broccoli, heat the butter, flour, and salt together; add the milk slowly; fold in the cooked broccoli and cheese; mix in the egg; and bake on 325 Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

As a minority in the vegetable preference community, I can confidently say that this dish will satisfy quite a few picky eaters. Mainly because it is mostly made of cheese, but that’s not a bad thing, right?


Tomato Cheddar Cornbread

Tomato cheddar cornbread is an end-of-summer treat for all of those unused tomatoes sitting in the windowsill. I use this recipe almost exactly.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 Tbsp of butter
  • 1 ½ cups of cornmeal
  • ½ cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsps of salt
  • ½ tsp of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp of cayenne
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups of buttermilk at room temperature
  • ½ tsp of honey
  • ¾ cup of sharp cheddar (plus some for sprinkling on top, if you’re so inclined)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, halved and sliced to ¼ inch thick

I usually follow this recipe step by step, so nothing fancy there.

I never really liked tomatoes growing up, but as I got older and went through college, I have come to appreciate fresh vegetables in almost every form (sorry, but Brussel sprouts still aren’t on my menu). So far, this has proved to be my favorite way to enjoy them, aside from pasta.


Muddled Blueberry Lemonade

Want a new way to enjoy blueberries? After being served this drink at a new bar in my town, I immediately hunted down how it was made and tried to recreate it. With this recipe, I found success.

All you need are blueberries, lemonade, ice, a lemon wheel, and vodka (optional). Muddle the blueberries, put them in a glass, add ice, lemonade, and vodka, and decorate with the lemon wheel.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a way to muddle the berries properly, but them in a plastic baggie and smash them up. It does the job just as well and faster.

When you have fresh berries, sweet lemonade, and a pretty glass, your porch or pool will look all the more refreshing. Really, this can be done with any berry or liquor you feel inclined to use, or not use. The berry pulp at the bottom is a nice snack, too.


Jessy Woodworth is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she studied agricultural communication and animal sciences.

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