Meals you can grow at home!

Sustainability has been a big conversation in NJ recently. We always try to do our part in helping our planet whenever possible. Here’s an idea! Next time you’re planning a get together, try orchestrating a menu around ingredients you can grow yourself. After all, NJ is the Garden State! We are lucky to live in a climate that makes growing our own food very possible in the warmer months. Check out some of the recipes we’ve put together which contain plenty of fruits and veggies you can harvest right in your own backyard! 

Appetizer: Watermelon Salad

This salad is the perfect refreshing start to every Summertime meal! It’s sweet, minty, juicy, and healthy! It might seem like it shouldn’t work, but trust us, it does! Watermelons need a lot of space to grow, so these will be difficult to grow if your garden space is limited. Mint on the other hand is basically a weed and will grow absolutely anywhere and will never stop. Arugula, like a lot of salad greens, grows quickly, perfect for keeping healthy all Summer long. Lemon trees will take patience, and a bit of a green thumb. Keeping lemon trees in our climate takes year round care, including bringing them inside during the colder months. If you’re diligent, after a few years, you should see fruit!


First Course: Pesto Zoodles

We all love pasta, but sometimes it can be a bit too heavy when the weather is sweltering. Instead, zoodles can satisfy that craving while still being light and refreshing. If you don’t know what zoodles are, they are simply zucchini shaved into the shape of noodles (don’t worry, they make a tool for this). In addition to the zucchini, which can be a little tough for a new gardener, you’ll need tomatoes, which are one of the easiest plants to get a good harvest from, basil, a simple herb to grow, lemon (as discussed above), and garlic. In fact, did you know that you can grow garlic plants from store bought garlic? Next time you let your garlic go a little too long and you see a sprout, try planting in to grow and harvest your own!


Second Course: Eggplant Parm

Time for the main course! Eggplant is a common main ingredient in a lot of vegetarian recipes often replacing chicken, pork or beef. That’s because it’s full of vitamins and is very filling! If you have any experience growing tomatoes, they have very similar needs. For this recipe, you will also need tomatoes, garlic, and basil, as we’ve discussed above. Additionally, you’ll need onions and thyme in your garden. Onions usually need a full year to grow, but thyme is just as simple as any other herb.  


Dessert: Berry Trifle

This colorful and fun dessert is easy to make and very versatile. To make it, you’ll need any mix of berries you prefer, ideally freshly picked ones right from your garden. Here in NJ, we are especially lucky to have wild berries all around in the Summer. But PLEASE be sure to make sure you know what berries you are picking before eating them. Not all berries are safe to eat! But once you have those picked, you’ll also need some citrus juice like lemon or orange (orange trees can also be grown here if they are taken care of in the Winter), and honey. If you’re looking for some fresh local honey, look no further than our good friends at IKenBee Honey! Check out the recipe to see some other suggested additions to the trifle. 


IKenBee Honey: 


Do you have any recipes inspired by your own garden? We’d love to hear them!


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