A pick-and-eat-your own garden party

Mar 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Senior Eats

Make every meal a special event by bringing the garden to the table. Serve your favorite dishes made from homegrown ingredients. Then allow guests to add their own herbal seasonings right from the garden or container.

Start by growing the ingredients for your favorite recipes and beverages. Consider those, like tomatoes, that taste best fresh from the garden. Or create a salad bar by filling window boxes and raised beds with greens, hot peppers, and green onions. Just hand your guests a plate and let them create their own fresh salad.

Dress up the table or balcony with a few containers of herbs on your patio, deck or near the grill.  Use small herb containers as edible centerpieces. Just include a pair of garden scissors and allow your family and guests to season the meal to their taste.

Add a bit of color to your meal with edible flowers. Try nasturtium and daylily blossoms stuffed with cream cheese, calendula petals sprinkled on your salad, and mint leaves atop a slice of chocolate cake.

Include a few herbs and vegetables that can be blended, muddled or added to your favorite beverage. Use the hollow stems of lovage (a tall perennial plant) as a straw for your tomato juice or Bloody Mary.  You’ll enjoy the celery flavor this edible straw provides. Or pluck a few mint or rosemary leaves to flavor iced tea and lemonade. Just be sure the vegetables and flowers you select are free of pesticides. Remove the bitter tasting pollen from edible flowers.

Start your party preparation in the garden. Once you compile your list of favorites, prepare your garden and containers for a productive growing and entertaining season.

Harvest regularly to keep your plants looking good and producing. Cut the outer leaves of leaf lettuce when four to six inches tall and it will keep growing new leaves. Pick peppers and tomatoes when fully ripe, so the plant continues flowering and forming new fruit.

And dress up the table with a bouquet of your favorite garden flowers. Pick a few extras to send home with your guests and they’ll surely remember your special gathering filled with homegrown flavor and beauty.

Melinda Myers, who wrote this article, is a gardening expert who has written more than 20 books on the subject and also shared tips via DVDs, television and radio, and at www.melindamyers.com.

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