Come August, all the planning and hard work of the home gardener pays off. The flowers are in full bloom and the summer fruits and vegetables are ripening by the bushel. Why not invite your friends and family for a party to celebrate your summer harvest? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Cut fresh flowers from your garden and arrange them in rustic containers such as tin cans, mason jars or metal watering cans.
- Add fresh herbs to your bouquets to make them smell as good as they look.
- Display vegetables and fruit from your harvest in baskets for centerpieces. Or arrange them in a path down the middle of your table with tea lights scattered throughout, a living table runner.
- Use one of those giant, tough, and usually inedible zucchinis that always seem to appear overnight to make a serving dish. Carefully slice it in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh and seeds, leaving a good inch of flesh above the skin. Serve cold salads in your zucchini bowl. When you’re finished eating, no wash-up required. Just compost the bowl along with the rest of your food waste.
- Throw a picnic blanket on a nearby lawn or deck, and let the kids enjoy their dinner truly al fresco.
- Classic lawn games–badminton, croquet, bean bag toss, hula hoops–are a fun way for all ages to work up a good appetite.
- Let your guests do a blind taste test on your tomatoes, voting for their favorite varieties.
- Have some sparklers on hand for the kids after dinner. Or provide them with nets and some unbreakable containers with air holes to collect fireflies.
- Send your guests home with a goodie bag including homemade preserves and fresh fruit and vegetables–a great way to unload some of your surplus summer squash!
Food and Drink:
- Feature the tastes of your garden with stuffed cherry tomatoes as an appetizer or fresh cucumber, squash, peppers, and even raw green beans with this tasty dip. Lightly blanched green beans, zucchini, and corn as well as raw cherry tomatoes, green onions, radishes, and cucumbers all taste delicious chopped into bite-sized pieces and dressed with a simple vinaigrette.
- Of course, the grill may be this party’s most important guest. Lightly brush sliced summer squashes and onions with olive oil and seasonings, then throw them on the grill next to your burgers. Or feature your fresh herbs. Lemon sage rub goes great on grilled chicken, and your guests will rave over pork or beef marinated in this mint mixture.
- For dessert, nothing is easier or tastier than this gluten-free berry crisp. You can replace the berries listed with any fruit that is in season.
- And don’t forget the drinks. That mint taking over your herb garden is the main ingredient in refreshing mint juleps or homemade mojitos. And a handful of mint leaves liven up a pitcher of ice tea or lemonade.
Summer’s garden bounty is meant to be shared. What are your favorite foods to serve when throwing a garden party for your friends and family? Let us know in the comments below!