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Summertime veggies make great meals

Summer vegetables are plentiful right now, and therefore are a great choice for meals and snacks. Some veggies that are particular to the season — if garden-grown — are cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, corn, peas, beans, okra and squash.

Tomatoes are a fruit, but they are usually prepared and utilized as a vegetable. Other summer fruits include melons, apricots, plums, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, nectarines, peaches, passion fruit, lemons and limes.

LaToya Evans is an extension agent with the Lincoln County office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Below are some recipes from Evans that utilize summer vegetables. Visit the Brookhaven Farmers Market, another fresh market or your own garden to get the freshest vegetables, and then have fun making and eating the following recipes.

Bread and butter pickles

Ingredients:

• 4 Qts. cucumbers, sliced

• 1½ cup onions, sliced

• 2 large garlic cloves

• 1/3 cup salt

• 2 Qts. ice, crushed or cubed

• 4½ cups sugar

• 1½ tsp. turmeric

• 1½ tsp. celery seeds

• 2 Tbsp. mustard seeds

• 3 cups white vinegar, 5 percent acidity

Directions:

• Wash cucumbers thoroughly, using a vegetable brush; drain on rack. Slice unpeeled cucumbers into 1/8-inch to ¼-inch slices; discard ends. Add onions and garlic.

• Add salt and mix thoroughly; cover with crushed ice or ice cubes; let stand 3 hours. Drain thoroughly; remove garlic cloves.

• Combine sugar, spices and vinegar; heat just to boiling. Add drained cucumber and onion slices and heat 5 minutes.

• Pack hot pickles loosely into clean, hot pint jars to ½ inch of top. Adjust jar lids.

• Process in boiling water for 5 minutes. Start to count processing time as soon as water in canner returns to boiling. Remove jars; cool and store.

• Yield: 7 pints.

NOTE: Sugar may be reduced to 4 cups if a less-sweet pickle is desired.

Hot dog relish

Ingredients:

• 3 carrots, pared

• 3 sweet red peppers, cored and seeded

• 2 Qts. cucumbers, chopped

• 2 Qts. green tomatoes, peeled

• 2 Qts. onions, pared

• ½ cup salt

• 2 Tbsp. mixed pickling spices

• 3 cups sugar

• ½ tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1½ cups cider vinegar, 5 percent acidity

Directions:

• Chop or grind carrots, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle with salt and let stand overnight in the refrigerator. Drain.

• Tie spices loosely in a clean, thin, white cloth and add to vegetables. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Remove spice bag. Add sugar, cayenne pepper and vinegar; simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

• Pour hot relish into clean, hot pint jars; seal with properly prepared lids. Process in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 10 minutes. Remove jars; cool and store.

• Yield: 8 to 10 pints.

Pickled okra

Ingredients:

• 3 lbs. okra, whole

• 6 hot red or green peppers

• 6 garlic cloves

• 1 Qt. vinegar, 5 percent acidity

• 1 1/3 cups water

• ½ cup salt

• 1 Tbsp. mustard seeds

Directions:

• Wash okra. Trim stems; do not cut into pods. Pack okra into clean, hot pint jars; add hot pepper and garlic clove to each jar.

• Bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Cover okra with hot liquid, filling to ½ inch from top. Adjust jar lids.

• Process 10 minutes in boiling water. Start to count processing time as soon as water in canner returns to boiling. Remove jars.

• Set jars upright on a wire rack or folded towel to cool. Place them several inches apart.

• Yield: 6 pints.

Oven-baked zucchini fries

Ingredients:

• 2 eggs (for battering zucchini)

• 2-3 small zucchini

• 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

• 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 Tbsp. dried basil (leaves, not ground)

• 1 Tbsp. garlic powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. pepper

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

• Cut zucchini into small sticks.

• Combine bread crumbs, parmesan and spices in a bowl or oblong dish.

• Beat eggs in a small bowl until yolks and whites are evenly blended.

• Coat zucchini in egg, then roll or toss in breadcrumbs until covered.

• Place zucchini on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

• Flip zucchini over.

• Bake another 5-10 minutes.

Corn and black bean salad

Ingredients:

• 1 (15 oz. can) black beans

• 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn

• ½ cup green peppers

• ½ cup yellow peppers

• ½ cup onion

• 1/3 cup Italian dressing

Directions:

• Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

• Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate two hours.