CREATING HEALTHY SNACKS FROM YOUR HARVEST
Come September, beyond thoughts of back to school, all I can think about is my garden HARVEST. Back in April when I started my seedlings, the thought of the HARVEST was far off, but now that it’s here, all I start to think about is the yummy delicious items I can make with my HARVEST. Given that September is also back to school time, I want to devote this blog to ways to snack through your HARVEST.
One of the simplest if not the most fun way to snack through your HARVEST is what I would call grazing. Grazing in the kitchen is something that we don’t want to be doing that often. But grazing in the garden is something totally different, healthy even. While HARVESTING your crops, there is nothing more pleasing than eating a bean or tomato straight off the vine. Peas (even though they are an early season crop) are great for a grazing kid to snack on. Nasturtiums are a very pretty, edible, vining flowers that are a great addition to the garden. They can be picked daily to dress up a salad or eaten right off the vine.
Whether you had a garden or not, now is a great time to include extra veggies into snacks. If you can’t pick your own vegetables at home, or a community garden, look into the many farmers’ markets that are full of fresh veggies (especially at HARVEST time).
Below is a list of ways to engage your children and at the same time create some healthy snacks for school:
1- Make your own Pizza. Ask your child what ingredients that you can pick from your garden that would make great pizza toppings. Or do a mini scavenger hunt for those ingredients at a farmers’ market. Ideas include: Tomatoes, basil, spinach, oregano, peppers, onions. These items can be sautéed into a sauce, or go straight onto the pizza dough with a little added cheese.
2- Veggie Platter – Ask your child what type of vegetables they would like on a veggie platter. Depending on the vegetables that are picked from the garden or farmers’ market, you can challenge your child to use the veggies to make a design or make some Veggie Bugs – use this recipe for inspiration!
3- When I have a big zucchini crop, there are lots of recipes for zucchini that can be used as snacks. Zucchini bread/muffins is something that I make and freeze so I can have on-hand for after school snacks.
Zucchini “Bread” Muffin Recipe:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup cooking oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups finely grated, unpeeled, zucchini
- Preheat oven to 350
- Gather muffin tins or bread pan
- Large Bowl – Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt
- Small Bowl – Whisk eggs into oil, vanilla – stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined.
- Fold in shredded Zucchini and fill muffin tins or bread pan ¾ full.
- Bake 20-22 min – until toothpick comes out clean.
Options: add ½ cup mini chocolate chips before baking to make sweeter OR substitute ¾ cup sugar to make less sweet. Can also add 1/3 cup applesauce for the cooking oil.
4- Zucchini fries are another quick and easy way to snack. For a more substantial snack, if you have a vegetable peeler, you can peel the zucchini into thin strips that can be used as a pasta. America’s Test Kitchen has a fabulous recipe for Zucchini Crisps which is geared for kids ages 5-8.
5- Tomatoes – if you grew tomatoes it is highly likely that you have an overwhelming amount of tomatoes (even if you and your kids snacked on them while picking). For a quick, fun snack you can pair up some cherry tomatoes with mozzarella balls on a toothpick. If you grew the big tomatoes, you can take a slice and put it on top of an English muffin half with a slice of cheese for a quick and easy pizza.
There are so many ways to use the Harvest from your garden. Please share ideas that you and your child have come up with on our BOKS Trainer Community Facebook group.
Happy Harvesting – Happy Snacking
BOKS Mentor Team & Outreach