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Turn your harvest into a feast this summer with garden-to-table recipes

A bowl of light yellow soup, garnished with oil and herbs, surrounded by a circle of fresh corn cobs (both shucked and un-shucked)
Kevin Molina
Chef Kevin Scharpf of Brazen Open Kitchen in Dubuque shared a recipe for chilled sweet corn soup that's sure to keep you cool this summer.

You’ve sowed, planted, weeded and waited for this moment: the summer harvest! Seeing the fruits — or vegetables — of your labor can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be pretty daunting to figure out what to do with all the produce from a prolific plant or plants. After all, your friends and neighbors can only take so many tomatoes. But have no fear, there are plenty of delicious ways to use up the spoils of your garden in your kitchen.

If you’re swimming in summer produce, try these recipes from local chefs and farmers that are sure to make your zucchini, corn or even cabbage disappear in no time.

Fried Zucchini

From Chef Suman Hoque of HoQ restaurant in Des Moines


  • 1 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbs and garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. Slice the zucchini and set it aside.
  2. Combine the rest of the ingredients to make the chickpea flour batter. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Put vegetable oil in a saucepan and heat the oil to 350 degrees Farenheit.
  4. After the batter is rested, dip the sliced zucchini in the batter and then fry in the oil until golden brown.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve with any kind of dipping sauce.

With zucchinis come squash blossoms! Chef Katy Meyer of Trumpet Blossom Cafe in Iowa City has a mouth-watering recipe for stuffed blossoms to try out.

Chilled Sweet Corn Soup

From Chef Kevin Scharpf of Brazen Open Kitchen in Dubuque
Makes around 1/2 gallon of soup


  • 1 dozen ears of corn, or 2 quarts. Save cobs and husks
  • 2 corn cobs
  • 1 corn husk
  • 1 lb onion (about 3 whole onions)
  • 2 Tbs chopped garlic
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • Salt to taste


  1. On medium-low heat, sweat onions and garlic in butter in a large stock pot. Do not scorch.
  2. Cut corn off cob. Lightly char cobs on french top (or broil in your oven). Add cobs and husk to cold milk and steep.
  3. Once onions and garlic are completely cooked, add in the corn.
  4. Strain the infused milk and add to the corn mixture. Cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain some of the milk from the corn mixture and blend the remaining soup.
  6. Strain the blended soup, then add the reserved milk to desired consistency.
  7. Add salt to taste and let chill before serving.

Note: If you leave all the milk in before blending, you run the risk of the soup being too thin. It’s a balance of the natural corn starch in the soup that thickens it, so it’s better to start thicker when blending then add milk to get the consistency you desire!

Looking for a light lunch? Try this refreshing cold cucumber soup from food writer Beth Dooley.

Roasted Sesame Slaw

From Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook
Suggested by Lisa Stark of Grow: Johnson County
Makes a lot


  • 2 cups each shredded Savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, kale
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Tahini Cream Dressing with Orange
Makes 1 cup

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs liquid honey (or agave, maple syrup)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A couple pinches of salt (depending on whether or not your tahini is already salted – season to taste)
  • Zest of 1 organic orange (optional)


  1. Wash and shred the cabbage, kale and carrots as finely as possible (you can use a food processor attachment for this if you like). Place in a large bowl.
  2. Finely slice the scallions into rings. Wash and chop the parsley. Add to the bowl.
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
  4. Roast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop. Remove from heat immediately. Pour over salad ingredients.
  5. Toss everything in the bowl together and serve. Pour dressing on only after the salad has been plated – this way you get some bites with lots of dressing and some without for the best balance.
  6. Garnish with extra parsley and sesame seeds.

Note: Salad (without dressing) will keep in the fridge for at least 2 days.

Iowa summers wouldn’t be complete without cookouts, slaw or heaps of tomatoes from the garden. If you have a tomato problem, Seed Savers has bruschetta and golden tomato tart solutions! 

Sumner Wallace is an intern for IPR’s digital team. Sumner grew up in Iowa City, but now attends Oberlin College in Ohio, where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Media Studies with a minor in Chemistry. She has also worked for Little Village Magazine and The Oberlin Review.