Holy cow! We have leaped into summer in such a busy way! Some of the best parts of summer for us is our favorite summer food and giveaways.
The three of us made all the meals for 100 people at a church girls camp the first part of June. We did all the prep work for all these meals and cooked everything outdoors for 3 days. The dogs went with us and totally enjoyed the attention. It was a lot of work and a rewarding experience. I learned a TON that I will share some other time.
That started our summer off. Here are some other (not quite so time-consuming) ways we enjoy our favorite summer food.
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It is tradition in our part of the world, to pick wild asparagus where it grows next to water. It is also tradition to allow strangers to take asparagus from between your fence and the road if it grows there as long as they are respectful of your fences. That means that our harvesting of fresh food begins in the spring as we forage for asparagus for supper several times a week.
As the weather heats up, the plants produce seed and so the asparagus harvest is over. By then, our own lettuce and spinach are busy providing meals for us several times a week. The spinach we cook and freeze as well as use fresh. We love spinach noodles and spinach dip later in the year.
Blossoms of Summer
Almost as soon as the asparagus is gone, the wild roses start blooming. We love their flavor in jelly and centers for chocolates so harvesting some of those fragrant blossoms is a must!! For the wild rose petals, the window of opportunity is as short as the asparagus so we gather what we can until they are gone.
For our cultivated flower varieties, we usually have more time. So many different flowers are edible and beneficial. Make sure to find more than one reputable source, like this one at the University of Minnesota Extension site, when researching the toxicity of the plants in your yard. There are so many great ideas for using flower petals in making jelly. Check out Pintrest for some really great motivation.
We aren’t the only ones enjoying those fragrant blossoms all around us. We had the opportunity to get a copy of a children’s book called Bea’s Bees. Following Beatrix along as she solved the mystery of her missing bee friends was fun for all of us.
This adorable book is for elementary aged children and really makes learning about bees a lot of fun. There are some very practical ideas for protecting our bee population and creating habitat that young children can easily do. Bea’s Bees also teaches the scientific process very simply as Bea tries to learn more about the habits of bees so she can find her missing bee friends. We think this book would make a great addition to school and home libraries everywhere!
Since reading this book, we have become more aware of the blossom and bee varieties in our own yard. We believe the best way to teach our children where our food comes from is to show them how we get it. This book does a good job showing the link between our buzzing friends and the food that we enjoy. Here’s a quote from Bea’s Bees:
“Without bees, blueberry, raspberry, and pumpkin plants would not be able to turn their flowers into fruit. There would be no more apples or almonds or avocados. Without bees, some of Beatriz’s favorite foods would disappear. Bea began to make a plan.”
Herbal Sun Tea
Another favorite summer food is herbal sun tea. Some of our herbs we grow just for using fresh like lemon balm and mint. We also use some of Grandma’s bee balm blossoms to make our tea.
- Choose a clear glass jar with a lid. The size depends on how much you want to make.
- Pick and rinse fresh edible leaves and blossoms of your choice.
- Stuff the jars with the plant matter.
- Cover with water. Make sure all plant matter is below the surface of the water or fill the jar up all the way to the top. Anything that is left in the air pocket inside the jar has a possibility of molding.
- Place the jar in full sun and go away for about 5 hours.
- When your sun tea is done, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
- While the tea is still hot, we sweeten ours with honey.
- Refrigerate for a refreshing summer afternoon drink.
Favorite Summer Food is on the Grill
We use our grill year round. We have been known to grill at -15 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets too cold, the gas won’t light but charcoal does.
Many of our meals during the summer are cooked on the grill or in a dutch oven in a fire pit on our back deck. We keep patties and chicken breasts in the freezer all summer long so we can feed 20 people or 6 with very little notice. Who doesn’t love grilled burgers? When you can cook the patties from frozen, it leaves more time to play in the sunshine!
Kumana Avocado Sauce sent us a trio of tasty sauces, Be Original, Be Sweet, and Be Hot. We tried the Be Sweet (which is mango and avocado by the way) and the Be Hot and left the bottle of Be Original as a giveaway to one of you. They jazzed up chicken salad and chef salad. Our favorite way to eat Kumana Avocado Sauce was on grilled hamburger and chicken patties.
We think the trio of Kumana Avocado Sauce would make a perfect addition to your pantry. It would also make a great gift for weddings, busy moms, college students and your favorite grill master. When you use our link here at no extra cost to you, you also support our site.
We had the exciting opportunity to sample Kumana Avocado Sauce (Born in Venezuela Raised in LA) and the children’s book Bea’s Bees. Both were really great finds that we want to share with you to help make your summer even greater. You can enter by commenting at the end of this post. Tell us which drawing you want to enter and your favorite summer food. The drawing is August 10, 2019 so hurry! If things are as crazy for other folks as they are for us, then August 10 will be here before you know it. Please feel free to shop our Amazon links for these great products now.