Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Farewell Summer: Use It Up Recipes

The summer is over, but sometimes the bounty still lurks in our fridges, waiting to be used up or thrown out. This year I shared a garden with a friend and my mother in law planted extra to share with us as well. Needless to say, I've been up to my eyeballs in garden fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for months. I've certainly enjoyed it and tried to make the most of it. I've managed to can salsa, pickles, and chopped tomatoes (with a 1 year old, this is an accomplishment!) We've had our share of BLT's (before I went Paleo). I've made tzadziki sauce that was to die for, along with sunshine pickles, spaghetti sauce and a failed attempt at cucumber kimchi.

At this point, we've eaten them every which way we could figure- cooked, raw, and everything in between. And yet there are still plenty left. I just don't think I can conjure up the excitement to get through canning another batch of whatever, so what to do with what's left?   Two easy solutions cleaned up my fridge and will preserve the harvest for a few weeks to a few months: Gazpacho and Fermented Salsa.


I love Gazpacho and often take it to work in my coffee cup. Some people don't like the pulpy texture but I love drinking (and chewing) my salad! It's kind of like salsa in a glass, and it only takes a few minutes to whip up, but will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long. If you love V-8, this is a great alternative. Celery and lime juice add a salty\savory taste without any added salt.

And oh yeah- this is a great way to use up odds and ends of veggies when you're cleaning out your fridge.

4-5 large tomatoes
1 cucumber
bell pepper
lemon or lime juice (just need a few slices for 1 batch in the blender)
1 jalapeno - seeded or not, if desired

1. Chop all ingredients into large pieces.
2. Blend on high in a blender for 1-2 minutes.
3. If too thick, add a little extra water. If too spicy, add more veggies. If not spicy enough, add more hot peppers.

Tip: Throw your squeezed lime or lemon slices into a pitcher of ice water and enjoy! (Remove them after 1 day, or they will turn the water bitter).

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

Nourishing Days has some wonderful articles on fermented veggies. Shannon has her own version here:

Here is the one from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She has en entire section in her book about the benefits of fermented veggies with lots of recipes. I quadrupled her recipe to accomodate my gallon-sized jar and critical mass of fresh tomatoes and jalapenos. It looks beautiful and I can't wait to taste it!

Lacto-Fermented Salsa
makes 1 quart

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 small onions, finely chopped
¾ cup chopped chile pepper, hot or mild
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
¼ cup filtered water (do NOT use tap water)

Mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. Press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover the vegetables. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator. (Should last a few months in the fridge.)

1 comment:

  1. Update: Today I munched on one of my homemade pickles while driving to work...delicious! Love having something savory for breakfast! I also brought a mug of Gazpacho to work today and it's wonderful. It's been in the fridge a couple of weeks and tastes very similar to the fermented salsa. That's fine (ingredients are almost identical), and actually very good for you!

    I love having these fermented veggies in my fridge to grab when I can no longer grab them out of the garden or at the farmer's market. What a great way to extend the season!


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