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There are few things more satisfying than planting and harvesting your own summer garden. As a girl, I helped my mom harvest her very large garden every summer. We began with the spring vegetables–lettuce, radishes, peas, and green onions. Then as summer arrived, we moved on to the larger harvests of potatoes, green beans, and sweet corn. Oh, the hours spent breaking beans and picking silk from the corn. Enjoying Summer Garden Produce was part of summer.

Our family lived on a farm and raised our own beef, pigs, and garden produce in SE Kansas. It was extremely satisfying to sit at the dinner table and realize most everything there had been raised by your own hands–even honey at one point in our lives!

After I married, my husband helped me with a large garden of my own. Our daughters had the pleasure of helping me weed and harvest the garden, just as I helped my mom many years ago. And again, we enjoyed lots of summer produce.

Fresh Basil

These days, my gardening efforts mostly center around a small herb garden, but I envision one day of having raised beds with tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and spinach. Until then, we enjoy fresh garden produce from our family who live nearby.

If you don’t have the joy of living near family or friends who have a garden, you can always visit your local farmer’s market to buy fresh garden produce.

Below are some of our favorite summer garden recipes for you to enjoy.

Garden Produce – Salad Recipes

Slicing the Garden Vegetables

When it comes to fresh garden produce, the first thing I think about is a fresh salad. Usually filled with leafy lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers. Let’s start with cucumbers!

Featured Image - Creamy Cucumber Salad
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Try Creamy Cucumber Salad during the hot summer months. Fresh cucumbers, sweet onions, and green bell peppers in a yummy Ranch Dressing. A perfect salad when garden cucumbers are growing out your ears! 
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Featured Image - Recipe for Sweet Cucumbers and Onions
Sweet Cucumbers and Onions
Here is a recipe to use up all those cucumbers in your garden. Some people refer to Sweet Cucumbers and Onions as refrigerator pickles because they are easy and quick to make, and you store them in the refrigerator rather than canning them.
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Featured Image - Recipe for Garden Cucumber Tomato Salad
Garden Cucumber Tomato Salad
Garden Cucumber Tomato Salad is perfect for a hot summer evening. It is a wonderful way to use up your fresh garden vegetables. And a delicious way to enjoy them!
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Featured Image - Spring Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Spring Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
This past month I’ve been enjoying a new Spring Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing. Homemade dressings are so fresh and tasty, I know you’re going to love this one.
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Recipe for Mediterranean Garden Vegetable Salad
Mediterranean Garden Vegetable Salad
This Mediterranean Garden Vegetable Salad is a delicious recipe to make when you want more than a lettuce salad with your dinner, but still desire something light and refreshing. I love that it uses bunches of garden vegetables and that it is so easy to prepare.
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Recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salad
Corn and Black Bean Salad
Corn and Black Bean Salad is a delicious and easy recipe to make this summer. Perfect for a weeknight dinner or even a family picnic. It’s a cool and refreshing dish to make after a long, hot day. 
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Favorite Summer Canning Products

Canning and freezing summer produce is a wonderful way to enjoy your harvest (and hard work) long into the winter. It also saves you money at the grocery store, and is healthier, too. Below are some of my favorite canning supplies for your consideration.

Garden Produce – Side Dishes

Cutting Corn Off the Cob

Next, let’s consider garden recipes we can make as side dishes. Corn, zucchini, squash, and potatoes.

Featured Image - Recipe for Parmesan Corn with Smoked Paprika
Parmesan Corn with Smoked Paprika
Wrapped ears of corn perfectly cooked on the grill and seasoned with butter, favorite smoked paprika, and fresh parmesan.
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Recipe for Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
Wondering what to do with your excess garden zucchini? This Cheesy Zucchini Casserole is a perfect answer. I like this dish so well I sometimes eat it as a meal by itself. 
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Recipe for Zucchini Fritters with Ranch Dip
Zucchini Fritters with Ranch Dip
These Zucchini Fritters with Ranch Dip are a great way to use fresh zucchini. I've added a jalapeno pepper for a little kick, and some lemon zest for some zing. Then dip them into a homemade Ranch Dip. These fritters can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer for your next gathering.
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Featured Image - Recipe for Baked Italian Zucchini Boats
Baked Italian Zucchini Boats
Baked Italian Zucchini Boats has become one of my go-to side dishes when I want something a little special. Especially for an Italian dinner, but really, it goes well with many dishes. It’s quite pleasing to the eye and is a great way to use up your garden zucchini!
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Recipe for Cheesy Squash Bake
Cheesy Squash Bake
Cheesy Squash Bake is perfect when you have a lot of squash in your garden. The squash is baked until tender with onion, green peppers, and garlic, and is then topped with a seasoned cracker crumb and melted cheese. It’s makes a delicious side dish to serve with your favorite grilled meats.
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Crunchy Baked Asparagus Spears
My Grandma Swiler grew fresh asparagus along the side of her garden. I always thought it looked yucky, and refused to try it. However, now that I’m older and wiser, I wish I had a long row of it growing in my yard! Two rows, even, as I love this vegetable.
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Recipe for Fried New Garden Potatoes
Fried New Garden Potatoes
There are few things more delicious than Fried New Garden Potatoes cooked in a cast iron skillet until they are crunchy and dark golden brown. Smash them before serving for a trendy way to serve them–which is actually quite practical as it helps them to cool down before you bite into them.
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Recipe for Fresh Garden Creamed Peas
Fresh Garden Creamed Peas
My mom always had a large garden, and one of the first produce we’d enjoy from the garden was Fresh Garden Creamed Peas. Sweet tender peas in a creamy base with lots of butter melting on top. Yum!
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Featured Image - Recipe for Microwave Green Bean Almondine
Microwave Green Bean Almondine
Microwave Green Bean Almondine is an easy go-to recipe when you need a quick but delicious side dish. It can be served with a fancy dinner or a simple weeknight meal. Fresh green beans, sliced almonds, and a balsamic glaze, quickly transition into a lovely side dish to compliment your finest entrée.
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Recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed Bell Peppers
There is no better time to make stuffed peppers than during summer or fall, when perhaps, your garden is full of peppers needed for this recipe! If not, it’s a good time to purchase them in the stores when they are in season and less expensive.
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Garden Produce – Breads, Soups, and Sauces

Picking Garden Zucchini

Squash, Zucchini, and Tomatoes aren’t just for salads and side dishes. If you haven’t tried making bread (or even cakes) with some of this garden produce, you’re missing out. And when it’s tomato season, be sure to make some salsa or homemade soup. And last but not least, I’m ending with a fantastic Spaghetti Sauce to use with fresh tomatoes.

recipe for braided squash bread
Braided Squash Bread
Braided Squash Bread is a lovely recipe to make in the summer when the squash harvest is taking over the garden. It’s moist and has just a touch of earthy vegetable flavor made even better when slathered with butter. 
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Recipe for Pineapple Zucchini Cake
Pineapple Zucchini Bread
Garden Zucchini isn't just for side dishes. This Pineapple Zucchini Bread is a great way to use some of your excess garden vegetables. The shredded zucchini blends into the batter as it bakes creating a moist bread sweetened with pineapple and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Believe me, your family will love it!
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Featured Image - Recipe for Homemade Garden Tomato Salsa
Homemade Garden Tomato Salsa
Every summer, gardens seem to overflow with tomatoes. At least, my folks’ garden is that way. I usually try to make salsa at least once when this happens. This Homemade Garden Tomato Salsa recipe is a perfect way to make use of your garden produce. Tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers all come together in a delicious spicy salsa.
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Recipe for Pico de Gallo Salsa
Pico de Gallo Salsa
I’ve been making this Pico de Gallo Salsa all summer, ever since I realized I didn’t abhor fresh cilantro. I love working with all the fresh ingredients, and it’s so tasty! Perfect for your next Mexican dinner night or tailgating party!
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Recipe for Homemade Tomato Soup with Tortellini
Homemade Tomato Soup with Tortellini
Homemade Tomato Soup with Tortellini is so easy to make and much tastier and more healthy for you than the can of condensed tomato soup that is probably sitting in your pantry cupboard. While I've used canned tomatoes in this recipe, you could easily substitute fresh garden tomatoes. Just follow the special instructions included for doing so.
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Recipe for Butternut Squash Bisque with Bacon
Butternut Squash Bisque with Bacon
This Butternut Squash Bisque with Bacon is a delicious dish to serve your guests as an appetizer or soup course. Plus, it's a wonderful way to use your garden squash in the fall. Our family loved the addition of bacon, so don’t leave that step out, please!
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Featured Image - Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs
This recipe for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Meatballs is a great way to use your garden tomatoes. It’s a bit time consuming to prepare the fresh tomatoes, but my, oh my, does it smell good in the kitchen. And the taste is buono! 
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I hope you’ve enjoyed these recipe selections for using your fresh garden produce.
Again, if you don’t have your own garden (or family or neighbors who like to share their bounty with you), try visiting your local Farmer’s Market. May your summer be blessed with an abundance of food on your table and family surrounding you.

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