Using your homegrown food for summer picnics allows you to save money on expensive meals at restaurants each year. It allows you the flexibility of planning a menu with foods that you know you like and can prepare in advance without having to wait until the week of your picnic. It allows you the satisfaction of knowing that the produce is fresh and you are using something local when part of your local community is growing their own food. If you haven’t tried homegrown food for your family’s summer enjoyment, I encourage you to do so!
Spring is the time of year when you can expect to see many new and existing tomatoes, bell peppers, leafy greens, etc. being ready to pick. Be careful, though, that you aren’t picking too many of these plants. Tomatoes are very fragile, so you don’t want them overcrowded. Bell peppers and greens can handle some overcrowding, but remember, any vegetables that are not tomatoes should be contained in a separate container or a Ziploc plastic bag.
Once you have decided what types of homegrown food for summer picnics you will be eating, the next step is to begin preparing. The most important tools for this preparation are your garden rake or hoe, a small garden fork, a small pot, and a dishcloth. These tools will be necessary for digging up all the excess soil so that the seeds and plants will have enough room to grow properly. You will also need to have something to catch the rainwater runoff from your plants, preferably a large plastic trash bag.
When it comes to preparing your homegrown food for summertime picnics, you can decide between dry or moist fruits. Dry fruits are best stored in an air-tight container. Dried fruits stay fresh for several weeks after they are plucked from the tree. If you want to enjoy your fruits right out of the garden, you can put them into small air-tight containers that will keep them nice and fresh until you plan to use them.
To store your food for later summertime, you will need two things. First, get a large plastic Tupperware dish with an eyedropper at the bottom and then line it with wax paper. Next, line the dish with a cheesecloth so that you can easily remove the seeds from your food. Place the food on the bottom of the Tupperware dish and cover with wax paper. Seal the dish in a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
For those of you who would like to prepare a salad while you are out in the yard, the best solution is to use lettuce. Use your imagination and pick a variety of bright colors to accent your summer salad. Another great thing about lettuce is that it keeps its leaves intact, which means that you will not be removing any of the colorful parts before you store them away for the summer. To add flavor to your salad, try blending some tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, or radishes into the dressing. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and enjoy your new summertime salad.
Apples are another great choice for food to be stored. They can easily be sliced to store and eaten cold or in salads. When the skin starts to come off, gently peel off the apples without damaging the apple skin. Use a butter knife to carefully remove any remaining skin before putting the apple in a zip lock bag. Store the bag in the freezer until ready to use.
You may find that your pick of summer vegetables is dwindling if you have decided not to harvest any for the coming season. If this is the case, make sure that you are storing any uneaten food. You may choose to use your homegrown food for the entire summer, or just save a portion of your produce for freezing during the colder months. Whichever option you choose, knowing how to prepare your product will ensure that it tastes fresh when you are ready to eat.