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Food banks want that garden overload

Recipe Swap: Summer Beet Salad and Carefree Cabbage Roll Casserole

Food banks want that garden overload

Do you have a garden full of vegetables you can’t possibly use?

That heady excitement that goes with garden centre visits in spring often leads to surplus vegetables in fall you can’t even give away. Everyone else has the same problem.

But you can give them away. Your local food bank will be glad to take fresh produce and fruit and redistribute it. Winnipeg Harvest will gladly take fresh fruits like crabapples, or any type of vegetables off your hands right now.

“You bet we will,” says Chris Albi, communications co-ordinator with Winnipeg Harvest.

“You don’t have to do anything other than deliver them.” That means no washing or trimming necessary. “We’ll gladly do the rest.”

This time of year they load up on fresh vegetables, which become much harder to come by as the harvest tapers off, she said. Any farmer or gardener with vegetables to spare is a welcome sight.

If you’re better organized than me, you’ll have a row of vegetables already lined up to donate to Winnipeg Harvest.

For the past 28 years, it has promoted its Grow a Row project, urging gardeners to plant vegetables specifically for donating. Some years Winnipeg Harvest has received well over a quarter-million pounds of donated vegetables and fruits. Since the beginning of that program the volume now adds up to a mountain of vegetables — 3.58 million pounds.

And it all started because of enthusiastic gardeners Ron and Eunice O’Donovan, back in 1986, grew too many potatoes that year, decided to donate them to Winnipeg Harvest, then started encouraging their neighbours to donate their surplus vegetables too.

So don’t toss that surplus. Someone can definitely use it. And over time, it all adds up to a whole lot of vegetables.

Marilyn’s Summer Beet Salad

One vegetable we regularly grow too much of is the beet. I plant too many because I love borscht and pickled beets and steamed beet greens. Thanks go to Marilyn Firth, a vendor owner of Almost Urban Vegetables and co-ordinator of the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market for sending us this tasty summer beet salad recipe.

  • 2 large beets
  • 2 large carrots
  • Beet greens
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds

Peel and grate raw beets. Peel and grate carrots. Finely dice one cup beet greens. Mix together well. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice with 1/4 cup olive oil. Pour over vegetables (you may not need all the liquid depending on the size of your original vegetables, so add to taste and save the rest for another salad dressing) and mix well. Toast sunflower seeds, and sprinkle over the salad. Serve as a hearty side dish.

Carefree Cabbage Roll Casserole

Here’s a recipe just like your baba used to make, sort of. It’s not so much work but has the same great taste and more vegetables. This recipe comes from the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s newest recipe booklet Quick and Healthy Recipes containing more fresh ideas for using root crops and other vegetables this fall. The cookbook is put out in partnership with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and supported by Alberta Canola Oil. For a free copy call (204) 949-2000 in Winnipeg, (204) 571-4080 in Brandon, or 1-888-473-4636 in rural Manitoba. You can also download a copy online.

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and shredded
  • 3 c. no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1-1/2 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 small head green cabbage, core and thick stems removed and coarsely chopped

In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about four to five minutes. Add ground turkey and continue to cook until the turkey is cooked through and the juices run clear. Stir in carrot, parsnip, no-salt-added tomato sauce, rice, parsley, dill, mint, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper. Heat through. Transfer cabbage to a large pot of boiling water. Blanch cabbage for approximately two to three minutes. Drain cabbage. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish. Cover bottom of pan with one-third of the meat mixture. Layer half the cabbage on top of the meat mixture. Add another one-third of the meat mixture. Add the rest of the cabbage, followed by the remaining meat mixture. Cover dish and bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover dish and continue to cook until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes longer.

Makes 10 servings.

Source: Quick and Healthy, Volume 5.

  • If you have a recipe or a column suggestion please write to: Manitoba Co-operator Recipe Swap, Box 1794 Carman, Manitoba R0G 0J0 or email Lorraine Stevenson.

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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