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UC Food Safety
University of California
UC Food Safety

Eat your vegetables

Californians can take advantage of our abundant sunshine and temperate climate in order to grow fruit and vegetables they can truly call their own.   Gardening has some very obvious rewards, giving gardeners the freshest fruits, vegetables and herbs possible. If you are a cook, adding a garden to your backyard will pay dividends all year long.

Typical suburban backyard vegetable garden. Raised beds, compost boxes and a trellis for climbing plants are visible. Large amount of fencing requires planning for proper sun exposure during the growing season.

In order to get the greatest benefit of this fantastic produce, make sure you tailor your garden to your own needs. No reason to raise a beautiful crop of broccoli or swiss chard if your family won't eat it! Tomatillos may be seen as specialty crop for some, but an important part of the garden for others. Plant what you will eat, so you will eat what you plant.

These onions came from a garden tailored to the cook's tastes. Onions and garlic are prevalent in the garden, as are zucchini, tomatoes, tomatillos and herbs.


As well as growing crops you will eat, think of the potential for storage for your produce. Handled correctly, both onions and garlic are receptive to long term storage. Tomatoes can be canned, herbs can be dried. Other crops like cantaloupe, honeydew, zucchini and corn are best eaten fresh. Plan your garden accordingly.

Growing your own vegetables gives you ownership of your own food system.  These bulbs of garlic were pulled up while still young, providing a milder and more subtle flavor. Young potatoes, baby carrots and squash flowers are all available to the home gardener.

Getting your hands dirty in the garden is great- but at the end of the day, you need to eat. Cooking a fantastic dish starts with great ingredients. When those ingredients come from your own garden, things just seem to taste a bit better.

Onions, garlic and seasonal produce picked just before preparing a meal.  Herbs include basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley and oregano. Herbs can be placed all throughout the garden as an attractive filler between vegetables or flowers.

Roasted Chicken and Onions (A good way to use a lot of onions!)

6-8 chicken thighs. Bone-in, skin removed.
4 large onions yellow or red - sliced 1/4-1/2" wide
3 garlic cloves - minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
The following herbs to taste - recommend approximately 1/3 cup of combined chopped herbs, pick what is fresh and available in your garden.
Rosemary
Oregano
Parsley



Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Dust chicken with paprika
  3. In a roasting pan, casserole dish or dutch oven toss all ingredients in order to coat chicken and onions with oil and herbs
  4. Bake dish uncovered for 25 minutes, toss all ingredients again, and bake until done- approximately 25 minutes more. Ensure juices run clear when chicken is pierced with knife or fork.
Use extra onions to cover rice or vegetables.



Roasted chicken served with stir-fried garden vegetables (zucchini, chard, onions and herbs) and seasoned with fresh herbs from the garden, topped with roasted onions.
Posted on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 6:33 AM

Comments:

1.
This looks so inviting!  
The garden pictures are inspirational and the recipe makes me hungry!  
I will now go home and weed my garden with increased focus and enthusiasm!

Posted by Kimberly A Rodrigues on June 7, 2010 at 3:20 PM

2.
The wrong post to read at 4:15, it made me extra hungry! You also get a 9 out of 10 for photos (I have to set the curve high).

Posted by Alex Zangeneh-Azam on June 7, 2010 at 4:16 PM

3.
I was looking at your vegetables here and noticed how you cooked them. I was wondering if you have ever tried to put some fennel pollen on them? I have been working with a great blend for vegetables from Pollen Ranch.

Posted by Michael on June 10, 2010 at 2:21 PM

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