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Whether you’re a lifetime gardener or you just recently grew a green thumb, there’s a good chance you’ve grown more vegetables than you know what to do with.

We’re also willing to bet that your harvest contained either tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, or a combination of the three. (They’re our favorites, too!) Now that you’ve had your fill of garden veggies and even your neighbors and coworkers are turning down your bounty, how can you get the most out of those veggies? How can you preserve their summery flavor for the cold months?

We have some ideas.

New Recipes to Try With Summer Produce

Marks Pantry | Garden Guide: How to cook with, store, and preserve garden tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini

All burned out on BLTs and zucchini bread? Reached your cap on caprese salad? Coming up with new ways to use up all those beautiful summer vegetables can be tough after a while. Try something new with these recipes:

Tomatoes

Peppers

Zucchini

How to Store Summer Garden Produce

Want to keep your harvest at peak freshness a little longer without freezing or pickling? You can prolong the freshness of your garden harvest easily at home.

Tomatoes

  • Don’t refrigerate unripe tomatoes!
  • Remove stems
  • Place stem side down on a plate to prevent moisture loss (really!)
  • Store at room temperature until ripe
  • Once ripened, store in fridge for up to three days

Peppers

  • Place peppers in a plastic bag
  • Store in your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper (40-45° is ideal)
  • Keep in plastic bag for up to 2-3 weeks
  • This works for both hot peppers and all bell peppers!

Zucchini

  • Do no wash, but dry thoroughly
  • Store in an unsealed plastic or paper bag
  • Store in refrigerator’s crisper drawer (or lowest humidity environment)
  • Store for 1-2 week until skin shows noticeable shriveling

How to Preserve Tomatoes, Peppers, & Zucchini

If you’re looking to maximize the shelf life of your produce, preservation is the way to go. You won’t keep the garden-fresh flavor, but pickled and jarred veggies bring a unique flavor dimension of their own that stands the test of time.

Tomatoes

  • Can your tomatoes with this method
  • Toss cored and seeded tomato chunks in oil, bake in a 200° oven for three hours, and
  • keep in a jar filled with olive oil
  • Make your own concentrated tomato paste with this method

Peppers

  • Halve hot peppers lengthwise and submerge in a jarred brine with one TBS salt per cup
  • of water
  • Freeze on uncovered sheet pan until solid, then transfer to a sealed plastic bag to freeze
  • Pickle any pepper with this method

Zucchini

  • Slice into 1⁄2” rounds, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, cool, and freeze for 3 months

Sources: Food & Wine, Serious Eats, Epicurious, Spruce Eats, Chili Pepper Madness

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