Garden Gastronomy

Find a few of our favorite Garden recipes here weekly!

 

August 19th

These little figgies are at your market! Figs are finally starting to ripen, and they are the perfect addition to a summer meal. If you don’t have a fig tree visit your local farmers market to find this yummy summer treat.

Grilled Figs with Goat cheese and prosciutto over Arugula
 

Ingredients:

6 Fresh Figs, cut in half
½ C Balsamic Vinegar
12 pieces of prosciutto
2 oz goat cheese
Olive Oil
2 C Arugula
½ C Fresh Parmesan, shaved
Salt

Directions:

Light grill and close lid to preheat. Drizzle each fig with vinegar. Fill each fig with goat cheese and wrap with prosciutto. Brush each wrapped fig with olive oil. Grill on the upper grates or outsides of grill where they are not directly over the flame. Grill until the prosciutto is beginning to crisp, and figs are softening, 5-6 minutes.
While figs are on grill, toss the Arugula with olive oil, balsamic and parmesan shavings. Sprinkle with salt. Arrange on plates and top with figs. Serve and enjoy!

Figs

Ficus carica

Fun Facts:

  • Figs have no blossoms on their branches. The blossoms are actually inside the fruit.
  • Early Olympians used figs as a training food. Figs were presented as laurels to winners, becoming the first Olympic “medal.”
  • Fig Newtons were created in 1892.
  • Figs are members of the Mulberry family.
  • Figs are a prehistoric plant that was thought to originate in the area of Northern Asia Minor.
  • Figs are self fruiting, which means you only need one plant. These will grow up to 15-30ft.

Growing Info:

Figs are a favorite of many southern gardens because of the ease of growing them. There are quite a few varieties that thrive in our hot Memphis summers but can make it through our winters as well. Brown Turkey, LSU, and Celeste are some of our favorites.
Figs should be planted in well-drained soil where they will get at least 8 hours of sunlight. Planting near a southern wall can help by providing protection from winter winds and providing additional warmth during the winter months. Do not plant too closely (within 3-4 ft) to a house, though as figs need plenty of space to grow. Harvest figs when fruit begins to droop and shows color. Netting or pie tins are often used to help prevent birds from harvesting all of your figs before you can get to them.


August 10th

Do you have a zillion zucchini? As our gardens get towards the end of their growing season, it seems like the zucchini is one of the last ones to give up! There are so many ways to use this super squash. Grilled, fried, soups, or even in sweets, there are many ways to enjoy your August abundance! 

Zucchini Fritters
 

Ingredients: 

·       1 1/2 pounds zucchini, grated

·       1 teaspoon salt

·       1/4 cup all-purpose flour

·       1/4 cup grated Parmesan

·       2 cloves garlic, minced

·       1 large egg, beaten

·       Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

·       2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

1. Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for 10 minutes. Using a clean dish towel or cheesecloth, drain zucchini completely.

2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic, and egg; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter, flattening with a spatula, and cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer.

4. Serve immediately.

Recipe from damndelicious.com

Zucchini

Cucurbita pepo

Fun Facts:

  • Zucchini blooms early in the summer. It produces individual male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious). Male flowers are slightly smaller. Flowers are edible and can be stuffed or fried.
  • Zucchini is used in the cosmetic industry for the manufacturing of various soaps. 
  • The word "zucchini" originates from the Italian word "Zucca," which means "squash." 
  • Zucchinis were first brought to the United States in the 1920s by Italians.

Growing Info:

One of the most natural and most prolific garden plants is the zucchini. There are many different varieties, but some of the best for our area are Raven, Tigress, or Bossa Nova. Zucchini seeds can be planted directly into the soil after the last frost. Choose a well-drained location that receives plenty of sun. To help reduce the chance of pests and diseases, make sure there is plenty of space between plants and mulch around the bottom of the plant after the first set of real leaves are formed. Zucchini prefer moist but not soggy soil. Harvest when it's between 4-6" for the most tender fruit.


August 5th

August is National Peach Month! Celebrate this juicy fruit hot off of the grill with this week’s Garden Gastronomy recipe. 

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Glaze and Crème Fraiche


Ingredients:

4 peaches, halved and pitted
¼ C honey
1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
¼ tsp almond extract
1C Crème Fraiche (recipe below, or purchase pre-made)

Crème Fraiche:
1 C Heavy Cream (pasteurized)
1 TBS buttermilk (cultured)
Combine heavy cream and buttermilk. Gently heat to approx. 100 degrees. Keep covered in a warm place and leave for 24-36 hours, until thickened. After crème has thickened, place in the refrigerator. It can be used for up to 1 week. 


Directions:

Whisk ¼ c honey, vinegar, and almond extract in a bowl. Set aside
Heat grill on med-high heat. Brush peach halves with glaze (use about ½ of prepared glaze).
Grill each side until heated through, about 4 minutes per side.
Whisk together crème Fraiche and 1TBS honey until blended.
Place peaches cut side up on a serving plate. Drizzle with remaining glaze. Put a dollop of crème Fraiche on each peach. ENJOY!

Peach

Prunus persica


Fun Facts:

  • August is National Peach Month
  • Peaches are part of the Rose family along with almonds, strawberries, blackberries, apricots, apples, cherries, pears, and plums (and more)!
  • “You’re a real peach” came from the tradition of giving a peach to your true friend.
  • Georgia is the peach state growing around 130 million lbs of peaches each year (but California and South Carolina actually produce more!)

 
Growing Info:
Peaches grow especially well planted in full sun in well-drained, loamy soil. They begin blooming in June and produce through mid-August. It will take 2-4 years for a tree to produce fruit. Peach trees produce fruit for around 12 years. Some peaches that do well in our area are Elberta, Redskin, Georgia Belle, and Indian Peaches. These varieties can all be found at Jones’ Orchard in Millington.  


July 29th


As the summer heat starts to have us all wilting a little, a favorite southern vegetable is coming into season to perk us all up. Fried, boiled, raw, pickled, grilled, or stewed, there are so many ways to enjoy this southern staple. Of course, we’re talking about Okra!

Oven Okra with Fresh Thyme


Ingredients:

1lb. Okra, cut into pieces
2 tbs. Olive Oil
Pinch of salt 
2 tsp. fresh thyme, optional


Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and dry okra. Cut into small pieces (or you can leave whole if you prefer). Toss in oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes, shaking pan at least twice during cooking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh thyme if desired. 

Okra

Abelmoschus esculentus

Fun Facts:

  • Okra or Ki Ngombo is a plant that originated in Ethiopia. It is in the same plant family as cotton and hollyhocks with beautiful blooms that can be used in an edible landscape.  
  • Okra (Ngombo) was often used to thicken soups or stews, which is where the Louisiana dish “gumbo” got its name.  
  • Okra aids in digestion boosts the immune system and is a great source of fiber.
  • When the pods of the Okra get too large, they can be used to make rope or paper!
  • The roasted seeds of the okra plant used to be used as a substitute for coffee. 

 
Growing Info:
Okra is one of the plants that does really well in the heat of a Memphis summer. Plant in full sun in a well-drained area with a slightly acidic soil after the last chance of frost. Your okra plant should begin bearing fruit within two months or so. Pick pods when they are 3 inches in length for a tender pod. If they get too long, they will be tough. After picking the first fruits, remove the lower leaves to speed up production.  


July 22nd

Take advantage of the late summer bounty of ripe tomatoes

and flourishing basil with this easy recipe!

 

Easy Caprese Spread
 


8oz Cream Cheese, softened

1 C tomatoes, chopped (any variety can be used)

Pesto (recipe below)

Balsamic glaze

2 C basil leaves (removed from stem)

1/3 C pine nuts (walnuts, pecans or even macadamia nuts can be substituted)

2-3 cloves of garlic

½ C olive oil

¼ tsp salt

½ C Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry basil leaves.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add garlic cloves and pine nuts. Pulse until chopped coarsely.
  3. Add all other ingredients. Process on high until nicely pureed. 
  4. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to five days. (Freeze in an ice cube tray to keep for up to 6 months)
  5. Spread the cream cheese in the bottom of a glass pie dish. Top the cream cheese with a thin layer of Pesto. Top the Pesto with chopped tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
  6. You can stop here and serve cold with crostini, pita chips, bread, or crackers 
  7. OR for a warm dip- place in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cream cheese starts to brown on the edges.

 

Tomatoes

Solanum lycopersicum

Fun Facts: 

  • The first tomatoes have been traced back to the early Aztecs around 700 AD. 
  • They were introduced to European explorers who brought them to the Americas from Europe in the mid-1500s but didn’t gain mass popularity until the 1800s. This was because of the fear of them being poisonous, but this was actually a result of them being served on pewter plates that had high lead content. There are over 10,000 varieties of tomato that come in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, black, yellow, white, and striped. 

Growing Info:

Tomatoes are one of the most popular home garden crops because of how easy they are to care for and the abundance of fruit they produce.

This perennial grows well in well-drained soil in full sun for most of the day. Soil pH should be slightly acidic. Too much nitrogen makes a lush, gorgeous plant but little fruit production. 

Tomatoes are either Determinate or Indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes grow to a certain height then stop. They flower and set fruit within a short period of time. Indeterminate varieties grow, flower, and set fruit throughout the growing season. The vines continue growing throughout the season too, so these plants should be staked, caged, or pruned. 

 

Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Fun Facts:

  • Basil originates from India, where people have used it as a spice and medicine for at least 5000 years. 
  • Basils name is said to have been derived from the Greek word for king-basileaias- and was once used to make perfumes and medicines. 
  • Basil is a member of the mint family. 
  • There are over 160 varieties of basil of different sizes and colors.

Growing Info:

Basil is the most well known of all herbs. It can be planted in the garden near tomatoes to help repel whitefly from your tomato plants. Basil is an annual that needs rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Cut sprigs when flower buds form and before they have opened. Basil can be harvested until the first frost.

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