Let's Go Outside: Growing Together
Star chef Emeril Lagasse shares his garden picks with you!
Two years ago, under a pair of citrus trees in Emeril Lagasse’s backyard, a group of neighborhood kids gathered to learn how to make fresh orange juice. Boy, were they in the right place at the right time. Until that point, they had no idea that oranges came from trees! Having spent a lot of time on farms as a kid, Lagasse was thrilled to be able to share with them a few lessons about how important — and cool — it is to grow fruits and veggies in your own garden. He wants to share that message with your family, too: It’s fun, it’s a great way to connect with nature, it can save you a few dollars, and it will ensure you’re cooking with the freshest, tastiest ingredients around.
Don’t have a garden yet?
“It’s only difficult to get started if you make it difficult,” Lagasse says. Begin slowly and set reachable goals for adding more plants. Try these — they’re the master chef’s top choices for families:
• Potted herbs: A great first step. They’re small and low-maintenance, and they grow quickly on a sunny windowsill.
• Strawberries: These delicious berries are hardy and grow quickly. Great for beginners!
• Zucchini: If you’re tight on space, you can train the vines to grow up a gardening pole. Plus, each plant produces loads of squash — enough to feed you and to have some to give away to friends and family.
• Watermelon: These picnic staples are easy to care for — as long as you have enough space — and so much fun to eat!
8 cups cubed watermelon (seeds removed) or 1 qt watermelon juice
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
Lime slices, for garnish (optional)
1. Place half of the watermelon cubes in a blender and process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a large bowl. (Discard solids.) Repeat with the remaining watermelon cubes; you should end up with about 1 quart of watermelon juice.
2. Add lime juice and sugar to the watermelon juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer limeade to a nonreactive pitcher and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
3. Serve in tumblers with lime slices for garnish.
Makes 5 cups (4 to 6 servings)
Tom Booth is the editorial assistant for Scholastic Parent & Child.