Beautiful nasturtiums growing in the Heartland Harvest Garden (the flowers and leaves are edible and delicious).



Heartland Harvest Garden Interpreter Barbara Fetchenhier (AKA Barb the Gardener) frequently shares recipes and samples with guests who attend her Fresh Bites sessions. These are some of her favorite recipes. 

Basil Cookies 

Recipe courtesy of Craig Howard, Chef/Owner at Howard' in Kansas City, Mo. 


  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces) 

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks) 

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces) 

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (See note.)

  • 1 teaspoon table salt 

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

  • 1 large egg 

  • 1 large egg yolk 

  • 1 1/4 cups basil chiffonade 

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or pine nuts toasted (optional) 


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18" x 12") baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in 10" skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using a heat-proof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking two more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in basil and nuts (if using), giving dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared sheets, eight dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used but will require three batches.) 

Bake one tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving. 

Great Grains Breakfast Muffins 


  • 1 1/4 cups oat bran

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup ground flaxseed  

  • 1 cup wheat bran 

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  • 1 cup raisins (or any dried fruit) 

  • 2 oranges (quarter, put rind and all in blender and grind up) 


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put all dry ingredients into bowl and whisk together. Add wet ingredients, nuts and raisins. Bake in muffin tin for 8-20 minutes. 

Chunky Chai Applesauce

From Cooking Light, November 2008


  • 1/2 cup apple cider

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped 

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • Dash of ground cloves 

  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper


Combine cider and apples in a large saucepan; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar and remaining ingredients; simmer 12 minutes; stirring occasionally until mixture is thick. Cover and chill. Yield: 3 2/3 cups (serving size: about 1/4 cup). 

Amazing Rhubarb Slushie

This recipe can easily be made smaller if you do not want to use 12 cups of rhubarb. However, if you do have a lot of rhubarb, Barb recommends making one large batch at a time. Simply store any excess in the freezer so you can enjoy another refreshing treat later. 


  • 12 cups chopped, fresh rhubarb

  • 9 cups water

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 box (85-gram size) raspberry gelatin

  • 1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate

  • Carbonated beverage of your choice (ginger ale, Sprite, etc.) 


In a large pan, bring the chopped rhubarb and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow the rhubarb to simmer until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Add sugar and stir to dissolve. 

Pour the mixture through a colander or sieve into a large, freezer-safe bowl. Add the gelatin and frozen lemonade; stir until well combined. Cover mixture with a tight fitting lid and freeze. 

To serve, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the slush into a glass and add the carbonated beverage. Enjoy! 

Strawberry Cheesecake Freeze by Barb the Gardener

Strawberry Cheesecake Freeze 

Recipe by Barb the Gardener

Crust Ingredients 

  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers

  • 2 tablespoons Nutella 
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 

Filling Ingredients 

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese (softened) 

  • 1 cup sugar  
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced or mashed  
  • 4-6 ounces whipped cream 


Crust: Put crackers in food processor to crush. Add all ingredients until blended and crumbly. Press a tablespoon of mix into each portion of muffin tin. 

Filling: Place softened cream cheese and sugar in mixing bowl and whip with a mixer. Add strawberries to bowl and fold in gently by hand. Gently fold in whipped cream. Spoon the strawberry mixture over graham cracker crust in muffin tins. Top with a slice of strawberry, dollop of whipped cream or sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs. Freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy! 

Strawberry-Lavender Freezer Jam 


  •  1 2/3 cups crushed berries

  •  2 tablespoons freezer/instant pectin

  •  2/3 cup sugar


Mix the sugar and pectin, and add to crushed berries. Add a few sprinkles of organic lavender flowers. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until thick. If you don't use it right away, you can store it in the freezer for up to one year.

Oven-Roasted Ratatouille 

Adapted from Tomatoes: A Country Garden Cookbook by Jesse Ziff Cool 


  • 2 to 3 medium tomatoes, seeded

  • 1 medium eggplant (globe, rosa bianca or Japanese) 

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

  • 10 cloves garlic, whole (optional) 

  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh oregano or sage

  • 1/3 cup fruity red wine 

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Chop tomatoes and other vegetables into large 1- to 2-inch pices. Place in a heavy, 3-quart baking dish. Toss vegetables with all remaining ingredients except basil, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and baste with pan juices. Return to oven for another 15 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Season with basil, salt and pepper.

Let cool slightly before serving. Barb says this dish is even better if refrigerated overnight. Simply reheat and serve. Serves 4 to 6. 

Bread and Butter Pickles 

From Cooking Light, August 2014


  • 8 cups water

  • 1/2 cup pickling salt

  • 1 1/2 cups thinly vertically sliced yellow onion

  • 5 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices 

  • 4 1/2 cups white vinegar

  • 3 cups sugar 

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric 


Combine 8 cups water and salt in a large container, stirring with a whisk. Add onion and cucumber; let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. 

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Add cucumber mixture; return just to a boil. 

Using a slotted spoon, divide hot cucumber mixture among 6 1-pint hot sterilized jars. Divide hot vinegar mixture among jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover with metal lids; screw on bands. 

Process in boiling-water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars from water bath. Cool completely; check for proper seal. For best flavor, allow 2 weeks before eating. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. 

Join Us for Fresh Bites

Fresh Bites takes place in the Missouri Barn on most Saturdays from late March through early September. Barb the Gardener leads the sessions and covers numerous topics ranging from growing edibles and cooking with garden ingredients to upcycling. Fresh Bites is included with admission and all ages are welcome. See the 2016 Fresh Bites schedule


Did you know? Powell Gardens has 7,000 varieties of permanent plants on display. No matter the season, this is a great place to see an inordinate variety of plants in the landscape and take home ideas you can use. See our Gardening Resources »


Carter Holton-Garden Chef Series 1

Visit the Heartland Harvest Garden on Sunday afternoons to learn how to cook from the garden! 

Learn More »

Give a gift membership to Friends of Powell Gardens. It's a gift that keeps giving all year long!

Learn More »

Experience the tastes of the Heartland Harvest Garden with our 'Fresh Bites' programs.

Learn More »