This year, why not plan your garden so it offers you a cocktail cabinet of tasty delights? We all love our veggies, and as you know, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a meal that includes a salad or other side dish made with fresh vegetables from your own garden.
Actually, there IS something better than that—for me, anyway. Cocktails, smoothies, cordials, wine—pick your favorite! These days, foodies are using a variety of super foods to create an intoxicating variety of homemade goodies.
Juices are the most obvious and probably easiest drink to pull from your garden. It’s especially useful for those with small children that consume lots of juice. For those who haven’t checked lately, grocery store fruit juices can be quite expensive and usually have loads of added sugar. I know when my son was little, his favorite juices were grape and apple, and it was a real chore finding ones that weren’t so loaded with sugar, I’d have to be peeling him off of the ceiling after a glassful!
It’s a good thing you can make your own at home and completely control what’s in it. If you want to grow your own grapes and turn them into delicious, healthy juice, Concords are the recommended variety to use. Once ripe, the grapes are crushed, pressed, strained, sweetened (to YOUR taste), and bottled. Keep in mind, however, that homemade juices like this should be drunk within a couple of days or frozen, as they don’t keep for very long safely.
Check out this recipe for what is described as “life-alteringly tasty” grape juice!
Now you can make juice out of pretty much any fruit you grow, but some yield more juice than others, so if you’re going to turn your apples and pears into delicious drinks, you’ll probably want to invest in a fruit press, so you can make sure you’re getting the most for your efforts.
Some of the super foods that are really taking off are the BrazelBerries® blueberries and raspberries. These ornamental edibles are both beautiful and delicious. The ultra-compact plants fit perfectly in containers, whether they are decorating a patio or gracing an urban balcony. They’re perfect for use in juices, cocktails, smoothies, and even delectable summer-time treats such as frozen fruit bars.
Smoothies are everywhere you look today: malls, health-food stores, coffee shops, even fast-food restaurants. People love them because they’re refreshing, tasty, and a really simple way to get a serving or two of those daily fruits and veggies we’re all supposed to have. What I like about smoothies is that they don’t have to just consist of fruits. Veggie and herb (often with fruit added for that touch of sweetness) smoothies are equally delicious, and there seems to be no end to the combinations you can create and enjoy.
And evidently fermentation gardens are becoming “the new chickens!” In previous years, raising your own chickens for the benefits of fresh eggs and/or healthier, tastier meat was huge, and indeed, is still quite common now. But fermentation gardens are becoming the new craze, and it’s easy to see why. Beer and wine prices are increasing drastically and many have discovered they’re allergic to certain ingredients in their favorite beverages. So the answer is simple: grow your own hops and grapes and make your own!
When you grow your own fruits and vegetables at home, whether you have a large, well-planned garden or you only have room for a few container plants on a patio or balcony, you can reap the benefits of having fresh produce at your fingertips. And the possibilities of what you can do with that produce is practically endless, and endlessly delicious!
I’ve linked to a few recipes and tips pages here that will allow you to truly “eat and drink your garden,” but we would love for you to share your ideas, too, as well as recipes that are simply too good to keep to yourself! Looking forward to seeing what you send!