Hello everyone! Rosie here checking in from Build It Up East Tennessee. This month, gardeners had an EXCESS of fresh produce. So much so that they came up with lots of creative ways to use their food so it wouldn’t go to waste. The biggest producer was, of course, tomatoes. It seems people can’t wait until they begin to ripen, but soon they are overcome with tomatoes! And there’s only so much canning one can do. I asked our gardeners to send some pictures of food they made with their fresh produce. Let’s start with meals they’ve cooked! Below are some of the yummy creations our gardeners came up with.


Spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce and homemade sun dried tomatoes. Side of butternut and acorn squash!

  Tomato Pie

   Zucchini Corn Fritters

Ratatouille is ready for the oven with zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and onion all organically grown.

Mediterranean dinner using cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, and parsley from the garden.

From garden to table: Borscht (Ukranian beet soup) with potatoes, carrots, beats, tomatoes, onions, and cabbage all grown from plants provided by Build It Up



Next we have folks that canned, canned, and then canned some more. There’s nothing like cracking open some fresh, homegrown tomatoes in the dead of winter. Many of our gardeners also made sauces, pickled vegetables, purees, salsas, and more.

One of our gardeners installed a canning kitchen on her property. She’s living the dream!

Canned jelly

Pickles in the making! (See recipe below)

Canned tomatoes



Last but not least, I thought it would be fun to share some favorite recipes! These recipes come from gardeners of past years and current gardeners. I’m hoping to put together some type of recipe sharing platform for next year’s program.

Queen of the Night Salsa (Black Bean and Corn Salad)

2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained

3 ears of corn grilled and cut off the cob (or a bag of frozen corn)

2-3 large tomatoes, chopped

1 purple onion, chopped

1 or 2 jalapenos, seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy

1/8 to ¼ cup chopped cilantro

4 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Dump everything together, mix, and chill. Yummy with salty chips, on tacos, or as a side.


Easy Refrigerator Pickles (from www.gimmesomeoven.com)

1 ½ cups of water

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 ½ Tb

  1. kosher salt

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

6 sprigs of fresh dill

2-3 pickling cucmbers

Add all ingredients except cucumbers to a jar and stir or shake to combine. Cut cucumbers to your liking and add them to the jar, and shake to combine. Refrigerate for a day or 2 and then dig in! Pickles will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.


Easy Pickled Banana Peppers

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp celery seed

1 lb banana pepper (tops removed then slices into rings)

Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil. Pour brine over peppers to within 1/2″ of the top. Wipe off the rim and put lid and ring on it. Leave for 1 week or longer to let peppers marinate.


Tomato Sauce for Spaghetti

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp salad oil

4 cups tomato, diced

2 6-ounce cans tomato paste

2 cups water

1 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1 bay leaf

Cook onion and garlic in oil till tender but not brown. Stir next 8 ingredients. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add meatballs or preferred protein and serve over spaghetti.