September is the time of harvests.It should also be a time of sharing those harvests with soup kitchens and food pantries. It's time to open the gardens for those who need the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many home gardeners wind up with a bumper crop of various veggies this time of year. Tomatoes of all sorts and sizes abound .Instead of giving them to friends and relatives , try the pantries instead.There are many families who would appreciate them in salads, sauces or even as a snack. The same is true is true with any zucchini or squash. Again these can be turned into tasty nutritious savory dishes or baked into sweet breads.Some home gardeners get a bit too enthusiastic about various forms of lettuce. What to do with the extra?Of course, donate. Once in a while a home gardeners decides to grow corn. As we all know you can't just plant one stalk. A small plot of land may be used but the result is dozens of ears of corn that look like they came from an acre. These will be truly appreciated because not only are they good eaten roasted or boiled, served with butter, they can also be used in making rich chowders or healthy succotash. Herbs too can be donated. As anyone who grows basil will tell you, the plants have hundreds of leaves that will wither if not picked. Fresh basil is a luxury to many and can be a life saver in creating home made tomato sauces or revitalizing blah leftovers. You could also type up and copy a pesto recipe to be given out.
Other veggies are also coming into maturity right now. Home gardeners probably have an abundance of eggplants right now. These are so versatile,from being breaded to being an important ingredient in ratatouille. If you're growing wild garlic now, give the mature bulbs to your local pantry. Again garlic is so versatile.It can be used as a natural alternative to salt in flavoring meats and vegetables, a fact that should be stressed somehow at the pantries. Onions are always a fun veggie to grow but you can only eat so much bowls of onion soup and rings. Donate the extras. Onions can be saved to be used as flavorings in stocks and sauces.Many home gardens have a cucumber patch that is bursting with overage. These can be donated and made into bread and butter pickles for late season barbecues. Fruits are also coming into their on right now. Don't hesitate to bring apples and pears as well, along with recipes for tarts, baked apples and poached pears.Gardeners may also have extra melons at this time. Don't relegate them to the compost heap. They will be greatly appreciated as well, making a nice breakfast or dessert.Plums too, are in their last bloom and as everyone knows are in abundance. These, too, can be given to food pantries, making great after school snacks or desserts
Don't toss out any of your overage. There are food pantries that need your extra fruit and veggies. Share your harvest..It's the best part of being a gardener.
Go to Humbleseed.com to check where the food pantries are in your town and neighborhood.