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LH 91: Using the Harvest

Unexpected ways to use a garden harvest

A garden can enrich our lives in many ways. But it can be especially rewarding with a harvest.

Now, I’m not just talking about a harvest of fruits or vegetables. All harvests can be exciting – even flowers, seeds, pods and roots.

The trick is knowing what to do with those harvests!

This week, I brought back garden designer extraordinaire Stefani Bittner to talk about her new book, Harvest that she co-wrote with Alethea Harmapolis. It was just released by Ten Speed Press and it’s gorgeous.

The book is filled with step-by-step projects that use unexpected and common garden plants. From cocktails to flower arrangements, it shows you how to better enjoy your garden.

And…There’s a GIVEAWAY!

All the details on how to enter to win are below.

During the interview,  Stefani and I had a whole discussion about quince and all the amazing things you can do with it.

You see, quince is one of those fruits that is either unknown or very under appreciated by people. But in canning, Quince is a rock star!

Below, Stefani shared her delicious recipe for making quince paste (aka membrillo) which is like a firm jelly served as a dessert or appetizer. It’s amazing!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of food safety in urban gardens
  • How to use common lilacs to make hand cream
  • Using elderberry plants for things other than food
  • How to drink a shrub (No, not the plant!)
  • Why you’ll want to make elderflower honey
  • The many benefits of huckleberries
  • How quince fruit is magical in the kitchen
  • And so much more…


Stefani Bittner:

Stefani is the owner of Homestead Design Collective, a San Francisco Bay Area landscape design firm focused on creating beautiful gardens that provide harvest.

Her team offers a unique and sophisticated approach, using both organic farming and fine gardening skills, for people who want help creating aesthetically designed, organic edible gardens. Stefani is the co-author of The Beautiful Edible Garden and her newest book, Harvest.

Homestead provides design, installation, and full-service organic maintenance, harvesting, beekeeping, floristry and composting services.

One of the coolest projects Stefani has completed recently is the design and install of  new test garden for Sunset Magazine. You can get a sneak peak on the Sunset website (link below).

Stefani’s work has also been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset Magazine, C Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Better Homes & Gardens and more.


Quince – The Rock Star of the Canning World

Don’t know about quince? No problem.

We talk about quince in the podcast (and transcript). And then Stefani agreed to share her recipe for making quince paste (membrillo) below.

Quince paste is like a really firm jelly with amazing flavor. It is usually served as a slice or a spread and can work as an appetizer or a dessert.

You’ll love it!

Just click below to download the printable recipe.

It’s so easy!

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Resources & Links Mentioned:

Homestead Design Collective Stefani’s website

Harvest* – Stefani’s new book

The Beautiful Edible Garden*Stefani’s other book

Sunset Magazine Test Garden

USDA Garden Zones

Trees of Antiquity

Creating an Epic Landscape  Stefani appeared on episode 75, where we discuss how to use edibles to create a beautiful garden.


Click here for the full transcript for Episode #91


Harvest by Stefani BittnerThe Giveaway:

Unfortunately, the time as passed for you to enter to win a copy of Stefani’s new book Harvest.

Our winners are Nancy Tidd and Jacqui Geiselman. Congrats!

But…You are welcome to still leave a comment below! I love reading everyone’s input on productive plants.

We are contacting the winners and will post their names after we get confirmation.

Go ahead and leave a comment below & tell me ONE of the following:

  • What’s your favorite useful garden plant?
  • Or what useful plant have you always wanted grow?
  • Or what edible do you want to learn about next?

To win, the comment had to be posted BEFORE 6 pm (PST) Thursday, March 16th.

You must live within the continental United States to enter.

I will randomly choose 2 lucky winners and will notify them via email.  Winners will be announced after they respond and are confirmed. (Check your spam folder!)

So…What’s YOUR favorite useful plant??

Tell me in the comments!


*denotes an affiliate link

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.