Saturday, June 5, 2010

Seasonal Recipe Organization

For the last two weeks we have been picking strawberries every other day. Our small patch is yielding a bumper crop and we've picked over 50 quart - and they are still coming!

Besides eating fresh and giving away to neighbors and friends, most of the berries I am freezing. We love kefir smoothies and I hope to have about 50 pint of berries in the freezer to use through out the year.
A few days ago, a friend reminded me about a strawberry glaze recipe that I was given last year. It was much like a strawberry Danish that could be frozen and was wonderful served over angel food cake. I couldn't believe I almost forgot that I wanted to try making some this year.

Then I remembered the fruit slush which I like to make with fresh berries. When I was telling Ed about my forgetfulness, he reminded me of his favorite strawberry pretzel dessert that I make him every year. (Bang forehead.) How could I have forgotten! Some days I miss my brain! Thankfully our strawberries are not over quite yet, so I still have a chance to redeem myself.

But when I was riffling through my recipe collection looking for the recipes, I thought that there must be a better way. My recipe collection is a disaster of far too many cookbooks, random bits of paper, and a stuffed full binder. Searching for an elusive recipe is a waste of far too much time.

I'm thinking that a binder with recipes just for seasonal produce may be helpful. I'm visualizing a binder with categories for each fruit or vegetable. I could have a list of all the things I like to make using that item. Maybe I could also mark where the recipe can be found with page numbers, or just type off the recipes and include them in the binder. I could add an envelope for all those recipes I print off the web or pull out of magazines that I never remember when I actually have the needed fruit or vegetable.
I need help. Maybe next year I can come back and read this post and at least remember what I made with strawberries this year. Have any of you organized your recipes this way? Does it work? Any other hints or ideas?


  1. I love this idea! I'm sure that something like this would be so useful especially as I try to build more seasonal food into our menu. (I have a strawberry quick bread in the oven right now we're trying next)

    Wondering about how large your small patch is? Your numbers are impressive! Strawberries are something I haven't been able to get going and I've always wondered if it would be worth continuing to try working at or if I would only ever get enough for the kids to snack on.

  2. I truly have nothing productive to add (I am even more of a disaster than you!) but I LOVE your idea! I started a similar binder section, by month, of things I like to do with the, in December, there are millions of lady bugs in a forest nearby, and we like to see the monarchs at a farm in March and on and seems I'd always forget about something, and then wake up in January and think, "Darn it! We missed the lady bugs!"

    Anyway, it never occured to me to do this with recipes, but I am happy for the idea. :)

  3. Any chance of getting the glaze recipe? We are having some nice berries and would like to do a variety of things with them.

  4. Gina, I think a binder for seasonal produce is a great idea! I just bought another binder with plans to organize my recipes even more, and that just may be the answer!

    I'm enjoying reading your blog, and plan to make the veggie cheese ball tomorrow! Thanks for stopping in to see me. I'm afraid I may have to stay up a little late tonight and get to know you!!!

    Linda in GA

  5. Lovely to read your posts, I throughly enjoy them. You are my new favorite blogger. The fruit slush recipe is how I found you. Then seen your pop tarts post, awesome!

    I have a scattered brain and really need lots of cross checks for keeping me on track. Instead of a big bulky binder with tabs (which I did once) I now keep "different binders" for each of the various events. Thanksgiving, Christmas, favorite dinners, etc. This is my first real year of gardening so once I figure this out I'll save a gardening binder.

    The main reason of my blog too was to help keep my scattered bring organized for recipes. So I try and label them like I would my binders.

  6. My Ed loves the strawberry pretzel recipe too...I will be making this for him soon,now that warmer weather is here. I have binders, one for my craft patterns, one for general stuff, and one for recipes,
    they all need to be re-organized...I am thinking this is a good winter project..Have to be in the mood for these things you know. I might like to try strawberries next year..this year we did garlic...waiting to harvest..

  7. Thanks ladies for all your comments!

    Quinn- Maybe you wouldn't call our patch "small". It is maybe 20 feet long. We started with one row then after a few years the row was too wide so we tilled down the center of the row forming two rows. (Did that make sense?) The patch is doing well but is six years old and getting rather weedy so we started a new one this year.

    I love the idea of a month by month binder for other things besides recipes. I think that could really help my forgetfulness - as long as I remembered to check the binder!


  8. Well your recipe collection sounds like mine, if you added a 3x5 box of index cards too. I do have a sturdy oversized envelope that I stick out-of-season recipes in and then try to check it every once in a while to try the recipes out as things get harvested. It's not a perfect system, but when I go through that envelope from time to time, I'm always surprised how some things that looked great enough to print out months ago no longer hold their appeal!

  9. I think it's a wonderful idea. I have a 4-season recipe binder that I made when I started trying to cook seasonally a few years ago - and now I have found your blog looking for more ideas on menu planning from the garden! I put all the breads in the front ("all season" recipes). Some recipes are not really seasonal (e.g. beans & rice), but I put them in wherever I'm most likely to want them, or in the front. 4 seasons is tough to organize when summer is the biggest season for the garden! You might divide the seasons up some other way.

    I also use and tag all the online recipes I like by season and ingredient.

  10. You all probably have easier times with binders and cards and such. I wish I could keep something like that up! I've tried it and have found that I'm just paper challenged. I end up with piles of paper everywhere!

    For me, it was easiest to make bookmark folders in my browser (I know Safari does that - Firefox and Explorer probably do too) and add recipes I find online to those folders. As examples: Breakfasts, Fruits and Veggies, Desserts, One Dish Meals, Summer, etc. So, a chicken pot pie recipe would probably be saved in the Chicken folder and in the One Dish Meal folder. I also have a To Try folder I throw things into until I get around to them.

    When I find a recipe on paper that I like, I add it via a free online recipe database like (formerly recipezaar) and then just add it to a bookmark folder once they publish it for me! :) Yay for having all my recipes on my browser!

    May not work if you don't have reliable Internet access though.


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