Recipes from and for the Garden: How to Use and Enjoy Your Bountiful Harvest

Recipes from and for the Garden: How to Use and Enjoy Your Bountiful Harvest

by Judy Barrett, Victor Z. Martin

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 Veteran gardener Judy Barrett offers readers more than a hundred simple recipes for using, enjoying, and enhancing the bounty of their gardens. These easy recipes—some old family favorites, others created by Barrett, and still others from cooks and gardeners she admires—encourage home gardening for everyone.

In her familiar and relaxed style,


 Veteran gardener Judy Barrett offers readers more than a hundred simple recipes for using, enjoying, and enhancing the bounty of their gardens. These easy recipes—some old family favorites, others created by Barrett, and still others from cooks and gardeners she admires—encourage home gardening for everyone.

In her familiar and relaxed style, Barrett shows readers how to use the plentiful harvests of common vegetables (such as beans, squashes, cucumbers, and peppers), how to experiment with more exotic plants (like ginger and jujubes), and what to prepare for the freezer or pantry once the growing season has ended. From bean and tomato salsa to lemon meringue pie, the ingredients are straightforward and the instructions uncomplicated.

Barrett also shares gardening tips and ideas for using what you have grown in the garden to help take care of your house, yourself, and—coming full circle—your garden itself. With suggestions for everything from making your own personal care products to a variety of ways to create natural pesticides, plant food, and compost, Barrett ends by showing how you can give back a little of what your garden gave to you. Recipes From and For the Garden will delight all who enjoy their plants, whether potted patio tomatoes or a backyard vegetable patch.

Editorial Reviews

Author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors - Deborah Madison

" Judy Barrett has the gardener’s passion and with it, a vision covers all our needs, from enhancing our bodies and beautifying our homes, from producing soothing teas to robust dinners in which the most loved recipes are transformed and made even better by garden produce. This book will convince one to garden even if it’s just a pot of tomatoes —and cook!"--Deborah Madison, Author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors

Author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors

" Judy Barrett has the gardener’s passion and with it, a vision covers all our needs, from enhancing our bodies and beautifying our homes, from producing soothing teas to robust dinners in which the most loved recipes are transformed and made even better by garden produce. This book will convince one to garden even if it’s just a pot of tomatoes —and cook!"--Deborah Madison, Author, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors

— Deborah Madison

Susan Belsinger

"Judy Barrett's Recipes from and for the Garden is an eclectic mix of recipes ranging from the kitchen and home to the garden. While she features typical vegetables and fruits, I especially enjoyed the sections highlighting ginger and jujubes--not only do I know how to grow them now--there are mouthwatering recipes to use them in. Judy leads us from the kitchen throughout the rest of the house, with simple ideas and formulas for tonics, remedies, and repellants, body care, and then out to the garden with fertilization teas and natural herbicides. Whether your specialty is cooking, crafting, gardening, or all of the aforementioned, therre is something of interest in this book for every gardener."--Susan Belsinger, culinary herbalist, author, and educator

Library Journal
In addition to recipes for homegrown beans, blackberries, cucumbers, ginger, jujubes, lemons, spinach, and more, avid writer and gardener Barrett (What Can I Do with My Herbs?: How to Grow, Use, and Enjoy These Versatile Plants) uniquely offers recipes for concoctions that will increase a garden's bounty, like Basic Insecticidal Soap, Garlic Spray, Alfalfa Meal Tea for Roses, and Transplant Solution. Additionally, she includes homemade remedies, tonics, and cleaning, and beauty products. VERDICT For readers who already garden, they'll find this no-nonsense recipe book practical and informative. Novices should supplement this with a kitchen gardening title (e.g., Jennifer R. Bartley's The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook or David Hirsch's Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden: Creative Gardening for the Adventurous Cook).

Product Details

Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
W. L. Moody Jr. Natural History Series, #44
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Recipes From and For the Garden

How to Use and Enjoy your Bountiful Harvest

By Judy Barrett

Texas A&M University Press

Copyright © 2012 Judy Barrett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60344-578-8


Recipes for Things to Eat

Some Common and Uncommon Goodies from the Garden

Usually the bounty of the garden is best eaten right off the vine or with a slight steaming or quick sauté. Fresh vegetables are so full of flavor and crunch and enjoyment that they need little more than a quick washing to make them perfect. During the peak of gardening season, though, we get a little weary of grazing, so we start to look for some variety to feed ourselves and our family and friends. These recipes are designed to provide that variety. They are, for the most part, very simple recipes. I find that browsing through magazines and books and looking at recipes is fun, but it rarely leads to activity in the kitchen. So many recipes take time and effort that I'd rather spend elsewhere in the good old summertime. So I've looked for recipes I think you will actually use and enjoy. Many of them are easily adapted to your family's specific tastes. You can adjust the ingredients depending on what's ripe and what you like. There are a jillion recipes in the world—these are just a few that take advantage of the wonderful tastes available right in your own back yard. Almost all of them contain more than one vegetable or fruit; the organization is rather whimsical, so just browse until you find something that sounds good to you. Some of the recipes are old family favorites; others I've made up. Still more come from other cooks and gardeners and from historic recipe books online. Included are also some basic gardening tips to get your produce off to a good start.


Whether you grow beans to eat green, fresh shelled, or dried, the culture is the same. Plant in early spring and give plenty of rich soil and sunshine to make the plants healthy. Pole beans can grow on fences, trellises or other supports.

Bush beans will hold themselves up. Pick green beans often to keep them producing and use at the peak of their flavor. Leave beans on longer to let the seeds mature in the pods if you plan to shell them. Let beans completely dry on the vine to store dried or to save as seeds. All beans are a great source of fiber, and shelled and dried beans produce nice vegetable protein in your diet. If you can't grow enough, visit the farmers' market regularly.


1 ½ pounds fresh, whole green beans, cleaned and with strings removed


5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, freshly crushed
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon or Mexican mint marigold
½ teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons prepared dark or Dijon mustard
½ cup packed minced fresh parsley


1/3 pound Swiss cheese in thin strips
½ cup sliced ripe olives
½ cup each thinly sliced green and red peppers
½ cup chopped toasted almonds

Steam the beans until just tender. Remove from heat and immediately rinse in cold water.

While the beans are cooking, combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Add the rinsed, welldrained beans to the dressing. Add Swiss cheese. Toss until dressing is well distributed. Cover tightly and marinate 2–3 hours, stirring about once an hour. Add olives and sliced peppers. Mix well; cover and chill overnight or at least 5 hours. Serve topped with almonds.


2 cups fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to taste

Put oil into a large skillet and sauté garlic over medium heat until the garlic begins to smell wonderful. Add the beans and toss to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add water. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook gently until the beans are the desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


1 pound fresh green beans


1 pound butter, softened
3 bunches fresh dill
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend everything in a blender or food processor until well mixed. Shape the mixture into a roll and wrap it in parchment or waxed paper. Store in the freezer until ready to use.

Wash and trim the beans. Place the beans in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are crisp-tender. Drain beans in a colander. Place a chunk of dilled butter in a large skillet over medium heat and let it melt. Add the beans and heat through, stirring to make sure the beans are all coated with the butter. Serve when the beans are warm and well combined with the dilled butter.


2 cups cooked fresh shelled or dried beans or rinsed canned beans (pinto, black, white, or whatever you have or like best)
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped (mixed colors are nice)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of fresh lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve as a salad on fresh greens or as dip with tortilla chips. If it isn't spicy enough for you, add more or hotter peppers. Serve the salsa at room temperature, but refrigerate any leftovers. (Omit the beans and you'll have one version of plain old tomato salsa.)


This is one of those recipes that can be a snack, an appetizer, lunch, dinner, or even breakfast. It is easy and tasty, and you probably have all the ingredients in the fridge and pantry.

2 cups mashed cooked beans (black, pinto, or whichever is your favorite)
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup tomato salsa (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or whatever is in the refrigerator)
Tortilla chips

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the mashed beans. Mix and heat through, then add the salsa and cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted. Serve with crispy tortilla chips. If you are serving this dish at a party or on a buffet, sprinkle some grated cheese on top to make it look snazzier.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups fresh shelled beans or southern peas
2 cups chicken broth
4 medium tomatoes, sliced


¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan or skillet large enough to hold beans. Sauté the onion until tender. Add the garlic and bay leaf and sauté for another minute or so. Add the fresh shelled beans or peas and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cover with the lid slightly ajar. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans until tender—about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Drain, remove the bay leaf, and pour the beans into a bowl. To make the dressing, whisk the oil and vinegar together; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the beans while they are still warm.

Arrange the sliced tomatoes on a serving platter. Season with salt and pepper and ladle the warm beans over the tomatoes.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, but bring them to room temperature before serving.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
½ cup cooked or canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch spinach or chard, washed, torn, and large stems removed
1 tomato, sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in the shallot and green onions. (You can use a regular yellow or white onion if you don't have shallots or green onions.) Cook over medium heat until soft. Stir in the garbanzo beans and add salt and pepper. Place greens in pan and mix thoroughly with other ingredients. Cook until the greens are tender and wilted. Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over everything and heat through. Add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Blackberries, Strawberries, and Blueberries

Berries are an essential flavor of spring and summer. Strawberries like pretty cool weather, so their season will be over early unless you freeze some. They prefer sandy soil. Blueberries want acidic soil and just won't produce without it. Long thought to grow only in northern climes, blueberries now come in varieties that flourish in Texas and other warm weather states.

Strawberries will grow in most fertile soil, but in the South they have to be planted very early, and they rarely last more than a few years before new ones need to be planted. Some gardeners plant a new crop every year. You can also grow strawberries in containers—the traditional strawberry pot, of course, and hanging baskets and half-barrels are all good choices.

Blackberries will grow just about anywhere and are easily grown from bare root plants. When they are dormant, put them in the ground in an area with full sun. In areas where the ground does not freeze, they should be planted in late winter. Early spring is best for very cold areas. Blackberries will tolerate most kinds of soil, but they prefer a sandy mix. In heavy alkaline soils, the fruit will be less tasty and abundant, but it will still produce. If you add generous amounts of compost to your clay soil, the berries will do very well indeed. No matter the soil, good compost will encourage healthy growth.

The plants bloom with little white blossoms early in the spring, after which the fruit begins to grow. It is bright red at first and then ripens to a dark, almost black color. They are very sour before they are completely ripe, so be sure to wait! Berries won't ripen after they are picked.

All berries are packed with good nutrition—lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A research study at Ohio State University found that blackberries are the most potent cancer-fighting berries of them all—by nearly 40%. Handle blackberries carefully; they are fragile. Just remove the hulls, wash them gently and let dry on paper towels. Put the berries into the freezer in plastic bags from which as much air has been removed as possible. The frozen berries will last a nice long time.


½ cup strawberries
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup blueberries
½ cup blackberries
½ cup milk

All ingredients should be chilled before blending. (You can use frozen berries for this.) Blend everything together on high speed until the berries are well smashed—about 30 seconds. Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy for breakfast or anytime you need a burst of flavor and energy.


3 cups blackberries (save 8–12 berries for garnish)
6 cups water
2/3 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar

Blend the blackberries with 1 cup of water in a blender until totally puréed. Strain and press the juice through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

Add the remaining water to the juice, then add the lime juice and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill a glass with ice, pour in the juice and top with a slice of lime and a few berries for decoration.

A perfect summer treat. If you are lucky enough to have blackberries in the freezer, you can enjoy it the year around! You can also use lemons to make blackberry lemonade.


2½ cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1 double pie crust—either homemade or frozen

Spray a deep casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Press one pie crust into the bowl so that it comes up the sides as far as it can. Mix together the berries, sugar, cinnamon, and flour and pour into the dish. Top with the other crust and crimp around the top edges to seal the two crusts with the dish. Open the top crust with decorative vents (or just poke a few holes) to let the steam escape and dot the top with the butter. Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake the cobbler in a 350°F oven until the crust is brown and the juice is bubbly, about 1 hour. Let it cool a while before serving. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, sweetened heavy cream, or just by itself and it will be delicious!

If you have peaches that are ripe at the same time as the blackberries (or they cohabit the freezer together), they are great combined in cobbler.


3 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried and torn into bite-size pieces
2 cups fresh blackberries
6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup toasted chopped pecans or almonds
1 small red onion, sliced into rings

Toss all the ingredients except the berries. Then add the berries so they won't get smashed. Offer dressing separately.


¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice (or blackberry vinegar if you have it—see recipe on page 67)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon dried mustard

Mix together with a whisk or put into a jar and shake vigorously.


1 ½ cups diced sweet red pepper
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced fresh tomato
¼ cup chopped Anaheim pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon tequila (optional)
½ teaspoon crushed dried red chili pepper
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in a glass container; mix well. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Serve with chips, or over grilled chicken or fish.

(From the National Honey Board, which offers lots of honey recipes at


Toast slices of bread and place in the dish from which they are to be served; over each slice pour enough canned strawberries or blueberries, thoroughly heated, to soften the bread. Serve hot. This is a delicious pudding, both easily and quickly made. When fresh fruit is used it should be stewed with enough sugar to sweeten it.

(From The Woman Suffrage Cook Book, 1886)


4 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup uncooked oats
½ cup margarine or butter, melted

Place the blueberries in a 2-quart baking dish; spread them evenly.

Combine remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the berries. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. Serve warm or cool, with cream or ice cream, or plain.


2 ½ cups blueberries
½ cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pastry for double crust

Line a deep plate with a single plain pastry crust, fill with blueberries slightly dredged with flour; sprinkle with sugar and salt, cover with another single pastry crust and bake 45 to 50 minutes in a moderate oven. For sweetening, some prefer to use one-third molasses, the remaining two-thirds to be sugar. Six green grapes (from which seeds have been removed) cut in small pieces much improve the flavor, particularly where huckleberries are used in place of blueberries.

(From Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, 1896)


Cucumbers spell springtime and summer. They are cool, refreshing, and tasty, and at the same time they are easy to grow and enjoy. Like other vegetables, cucumbers like rich soil with plenty of compost and other organic material. They also need plenty of water since they are primarily made up of water themselves. You can grow cucumbers on a fence or trellis or in bush varieties in the garden or a big container. Give them plenty of sun and some love, and they will reward you with crunchy good low-calorie taste. Be sure to plant them as soon as the soil is warm because once it gets really hot, the cukes will become bitter.

If your cucumbers are young, they won't need peeling and seeding. If the seeds are large and the peel is tough, remove them during preparation.


1 cup sour cream
1 cup yogurt (low-fat is fine)
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and coarsely grated

Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve by itself with chips or with grilled fish or chicken or grilled veggies.


3 cups corn, cooked quickly and cut from the cob
¾ cups chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped onion
2 small tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar (any kind)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon celery seed

Mix all ingredients and chill thoroughly. This salad tastes best if left to mingle flavors overnight.


2 cups bulgur wheat (can be bought in bulk or in box)
2 cups very hot water
1 cucumber, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, sliced (some tops included)
½ cup sliced stuffed green olives
½ cup sliced black olives
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
¾ cups crumbled feta cheese
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Pour the hot water over the bulgur wheat in a large bowl. Let it sit until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. If any water remains, drain it away. Add the remaining ingredients and taste. Sometimes more lemon juice or olive oil is needed. I don't know why it isn't the same every time, probably something to do with humidity! Anyway, adjust moisture and flavor to your taste and serve chilled or at room temperature. This is a great side dish or main course. To make it heartier, you can also add cooked beans, lentils, or chickpeas.


Excerpted from Recipes From and For the Garden by Judy Barrett. Copyright © 2012 Judy Barrett. Excerpted by permission of Texas A&M University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Judy Barrett is the author of What Can I Do with My Herbs? (Texas A&M University Press, 2009) and What Makes Heirloom Vegetables So Great? (Texas A&M University Press, 2010). The former editor and publisher of the organic gardening magazine Homegrown, she blogs at and is a frequent speaker at gardening events and conferences. She lives in Taylor, Texas, near Austin.

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