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Clever Tricks: Make the Most of Your Home Garden Harvest

Carisa Holmes

Growing a home garden is a fantastic way to gain quick access to fresh, healthful produce. Even better, you can easily grow organically, without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Growing at home saves you the pain of paying top dollar for local, organic produce at the store and you can rest assured that all your goodies are ripened "on the vine" for maximum flavour and nutrition.

All things considered, a home garden is a smart choice for the health of your body and your bank account. However, when harvest time rolls around, even the craftiest among us could use a few clever ideas on what to do with a plethora of peppers and truckloads of tomatoes.

After you've stuffed yourself with tomato salad for the umpteenth time, you may find yourself a bit disenchanted with the same old recipes. Perhaps you're afraid the family will revolt and boycott dinner if they are served stuffed peppers … again. At this point in the growing season, we are all yearning for a creative and tasty technique to make use of the bounty that's spilling from the garden beds. 

Here's a delicious way to do just that. This recipe is easy to prepare and can be made with a variety of vegetables. It's a wonderful way to make use of the abundance of peppers you may have in the garden or leftover produce in the fridge. If you're without a backyard garden to raid for this recipe, head to the local market and choose whatever vegetables are freshest and organic.

Tuscan Roasted Vegetable Dip

* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 yellow bell pepper
* 1 small red onion
* 1 small carrot
* 1 small zucchini
* 1 handful crimini or button mushrooms
* 2-3 garlic cloves
* 1 capful of Bragg's apple cider vinegar
* Fresh rosemary (or other herb)
* Dried Italian herb blend
* Sea salt and pepper, to taste
* Organic extra virgin olive oil
* Grass-fed parmesan cheese

Wash and chop the vegetables into uniform sized pieces. You may want to slice the carrots a bit thinner since they take longer to cook. Crush or coarsely chop the garlic cloves and place them in a baking pan along with the veggies.

Sprinkle veggies with dried Italian herb blend and bake in a hot oven (about 475) until they are very soft. Set the veggies aside and allow them to cool slightly before handling. In a food processor, puree the vinegar, sea salt and black pepper with the fresh herbs. Rosemary works especially well. Add the roasted vegetables and puree until smooth.  While the blades are spinning, add olive oil until dip reaches desired thickness - somewhere in the neighborhood of hummus.

Transfer the puree into a serving dish and garnish with diced green and black olives, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan. Serve with grilled toast points made with organic, sprouted bread. Enjoy!

This recipe is a unique twist on traditional home garden favorites. It provides a burst of garden fresh flavour and all the beneficial minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that your body needs.


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