Top 10 ways to use up a garden glut

Too much of a good thing should never go to waste. See our tips for using up surplus fruit and veg at the end of summer – bake them into delicious cakes, make them into condiments and more.

Courgette, lemon and thyme cake with frosting and dried lemon slices

With autumn comes the harvest, but before we enter the realm of pumpkins and parsnips, it’s time to reap the rewards of a summer spent in the garden. As September dawns, it’s time to take stock of those abundant plants – depending on your location and weather conditions, courgettes, marrows, tomatoes, chillies and aubergines all tend to flourish over the summer.

To make the most of these hardy ingredients, try our top 10 ways to use up a garden glut. 


1. Autumn salad 

Courgette, carrot, tomato and broccoli salad on a large plate

Native courgette season comes to an end in September. Pick them while they’re young to ensure plenty of flavour, then serve in this vibrant autumnal veggie salad alongside carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and olives, all drizzled with a zingy saffron dressing.

Autumn vegetable salad


2. Semi-dried tomatoes

Semi-dried tomatoes on a large plate

Whether you’ve happened upon some discount plum tomatoes or have a handful of cherry tomatoes from your garden, all shapes and sizes of tomatoes work in this Mediterranean-inspired recipe. Pack the roasted fruit into olive oil then serve on pizzas, in salads and sauces, or straight from the fridge. They'll keep for up to a week. 

Semi-dried tomatoes


3. Gingery plum cake

Plum traybake topped with stewed plums and cut into squares

British plums are at their peak between August and October. They come in many varieties, but those that are firm to the touch work best in this moist and spicy traybake, as they'll keep their shape and create a rustic checkerboard-style finish. If you don’t have plums, raspberries could work as a replacement. 

Gingery plum cake

Discover more plum recipes and plum cake recipes.


4. Slow-cooked marrow

Slow cooked marrow in a pot

Marrows are essentially super-sized courgettes. This means the flavour is slightly diluted, but as a result, the mild and creamy flesh can handle a range of accompaniments. This comforting veggie stew melds together a mouthwatering combination of greens, herbs and spices that also delivers four of your 5-a-day. The slow cooking process ensures a fall-apart texture, perfect for dunking in crusty sourdough or serving alongside a meat dish.

Baked marrow amatriciana

See our top six ways to serve marrow.
 

5. Tomato & chilli harissa

Tomato and chilli harissa in a pot and glass jar

The chilli plant is perennial, meaning it lasts for up to two years and can survive winters with a little care. However, if you have a healthy summer crop and want to savour the heat, whizz up a Middle Eastern spice paste. If you cover this harissa with a little oil after each use, it will keep in the fridge for several months. 

Tomato & chilli harissa


6. Summer vegetable roll-ups

Three summer vegetable rollups on a plate

Use up a handful of different veg at once with these spiral-shaped savouries. We chose aubergines, courgettes and peppers (any colour will work) and layered them with creamy ricotta cheese, pesto and pine nuts. Griddle the vegetables to add a nice smoky char, or if the weather’s good enough, make the most of your barbecue before packing it away for the year. 

Summer vegetable roll-ups
 

7. Bramble cocktail

Two glasses of bramble cocktail with lemon slices and blackberries

Even if you don't have your own hedgerow, blackberries or brambles can be foraged fairly easily, even in urban areas. They can be frozen or pulped into a coulis, jam or chutney, baked in a cake or even used in drinks. This striking bramble cocktail is injected with a shot of blackberry liqueur and lemon juice for a zingy party tipple.

Bramble cocktail

See more blackberry recipes


8. Cacio e pepe with runner beans

Cacio e pepe with runner beans in a bowl with a fork

Runner beans are coarser and more flavoursome than green beans, and should be picked in good time – if left for too long they can become tough. If you do let your crop run on until winter, any unpalatable beans can be dried for planting the following year. This classic Italian pasta recipe teams fresh beans with a silky cheese and pepper sauce.

Cacio e pepe with runner beans


9. Ratatouille chutney

Ratatouille chutney in a silver tun and glass jars

Make your late-summer glut into a chutney for whenever you need a spoonful of summer during the drab winter months. This version is inspired by a classic French bistro dish and features red peppers, aubergine, courgette and tomato. It also makes use of apples and onions, two thrifty and hardy ingredients. 

Ratatouille chutney


10. Courgette loaf 

Courgette loaf cake

You can use up your vegetables in sweet recipes too – courgette, carrot, parsnip and even mashed potato can all add moistness and texture to sponges. This loaf cake teams mild courgette with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts and sultanas. 

Courgette loaf cake

If you are aiming to impress, you could also try our showstopping courgette, lemon & thyme cake which makes the most of a late-summer courgette glut.

Get more ideas for using up your garden glut:

Garden glut cake recipes
Autumn recipe collection
How to use up courgettes
Top six ways to serve marrow
Top 10 autumn storecupboard essentials
Autumn cake recipe collection

How are you planning to use up your vegetable glut? Leave a comment below...

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