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Ways to Use Garden Vegetables

Colorful and crisp, garden vegetables lend themselves to so many flavourful combinations. These earthly treasures are a feast for the eye as well as the palate.

Sides and appetizer ideas

  • Slightly blanch small bunches of broccoli and top them with a horseradish and walnut vinaigrette
  • Arrange small broccoli florets over a tomato or red hot pepper coulis
  • Cut your favourite vegetables julienne style, then sear in a light oil with a few drops of sesame oil added
  • Make a red hot pepper coulis with lemon juice and a drop of cream to go with salmon and other seafood dishes
  • Brush garlic and herb-flavoured olive oil on grilled hot peppers, summer squash, eggplants and onions
  • Make cold or warm salads with green beans, shrimp and almonds; new potatoes, red onions, walnuts and goat cheese; or cauliflower, red hot peppers and black olives

Get creative with soups

  • Upgrade an everyday soup with exotic herbs or spices
  • Add artichoke bottoms, cooked and diced, in minestrone or cream of asparagus soups
  • Purée basil, garlic and olive oil and use as a garnish over green bean and potato soup
  • Make a cold soup of summer squash, onions, olive oil and plain yogurt
  • Add curry and coriander to carrot soup
  • Enrich cream of broccoli soup with cubes of blue d’Auvergne
  • Chop eggplant and cook with tomato soup
  • Make an apple velouté to add to a radish, tomato and beet soup then top with citrus fruit zest

Sweet and salty

  • Onion is enjoyed both as an accompanying vegetable and condiment — it can be caramelized with veal, candied with pâtés or used for fruit chutneys
  • Carrots pair well with citrus fruit — grated carrots, quartered oranges, grapefruit along with a little cinnamon makes a simple, satisfying salad
  • Try mixing carrot juice with honey and coconut milk for a deliciously sweet drink
  • When cooking carrots, add a trickle of apple or orange juice to enhance their sweet taste
  • Chutneys and marinades of fruit and vegetables with a bitter-sweet taste pair well with cheeses and meat dishes
  • Use vegetables to make sweet treats, such as carrot cookies, summer-squash muffins, beet and carrot cake or green tomato pie.

Preserving summer's bounty

  • Home canning and freezing vegetables are two ways to take advantage of their abundance at summer's end
  • Stored in a dark, dry and cool environment, homemade preserves keep so long as the seal remains intact — but they're best enjoyed within a year of canning
  • Watch for signs of spoilage such as a bulging lid, a leaky jar, a spurt of liquid upon opening or viscous or pulpy marinades. These are signs that the jar is damaged — avoid tasting the product and discard it immediately!

Tips and tricks

  • Keep lettuce and spinach extra fresh by washing, draining, wrapping in absorbent paper and refrigerating them in an airproof plastic bag
  • When buying leafy greens that come in airtight sealed packages, refrigerate them that way
  • Do not wash other fresh vegetables before storing because this accelerates spoilage
  • Cook vegetables as quickly as possible and with methods that require little water, such as steaming, to preserve their nutritional value
  • Keep leftover vegetable broth as it contains nutritional elements and can be used for soups or sauces;
  • Freeze leftover broth in ice-cube trays and place the frozen cubes in freezer bags to use only the necessary amount when desired
  • Vegetables stored in plastic bags made especially for freezing will keep for up to a year in a freezer at –18°C
  • Most frozen vegetables do not need to be thawed before cooking, but cooking time will be shorter than when using fresh vegetables
  • Enjoy fresh vegetables as quickly as possible to get more of their nutritional value
  • With the exception of onions, which should be left uncovered, most vegetables will keep in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic vegetable bag
  • Broccoli, spinach and green and yellow beans keep for 4 or 5 days
  • Fresh carrots, cauliflower, hot peppers, tomatoes, radishes, new potatoes, summer squash and lettuce all last up to a week
  • Onions and beets are good for up to 4 weeks

Expert Tip

Cut the green tops off root gourd vegetables (carrots, radishes, beets) before storing because they dehydrate the vegetable and diminish its nutritional value


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