Garden Fresh Year-Round
Promises of Comfort Food, Local Buys, Fresher Meals, Freezer Food, and Family Time
Thinking ahead to cooler days of fall and winter, our family is putting up pureed tomatoes in the freezer. Comfort food for these seasons include a variety of fresh soup started early in the morning. On days when we plan to be home all day, I make my coffee, turn the laundry and start soup for the day. Throughout the day we devour soup with homemade bread and fresh salads. Gotta love stay-at-home days.
This year my youngest son put in our first garden. Different family members pitched in to build the fence, haul in the wood chips, unload the truckloads of dirt for the garden boxes, muscle the posthole digger, and make numerous trips for seedlings. The picture on the top of this blog is from our very last haul in the garden. Our salads are divine!!
As we approach the end of summer, fresh local tomatoes are beginning to ripen in mass. Since this is our first year as gardeners, I still bargain with farmers at the local farmer's market for boxes of ripe tomatoes. Many vendors store slightly damaged vegetables under their tables. This week we secured a deal on tomatoes. The going price here for tomatoes is $1.99 lb. I purchased 100 pounds of tomatoes for $40. To prepare them for soup, chili and spaghetti later, we core, blanch and puree them.
The last trip yielded a surplus box of not perfect peaches for a give away price. Not surprisingly, we decided to indulge in peach related recipes that week. None of the peaches made it to the freezer.
Tomatoes are one of the key foods that we need to locate for a bargain price in bulk for our winter recipes to succeed. In an effort to provide optimum nutrition for my family, using real tomatoes in sauces is the best. Also, taste is more intense when food is closest to its original source.
Freezing Saves Time
Freezing foods ahead saves time on busy days. Sometimes we prepare meatballs, lasagna, cookie dough, turkey meatloaf, chicken cordon bleu and more. How fantastic to have fresh tomatoes to select instead of sauce from the jar. Experiment with fresh herbs or specially mixed seasonings.
One of my goals to teach my children to nurture their families in the future. By teaching each of them to do the jobs needed to cook, they will add culinary gifts to their skill set.
Family Time Best With Food
Some of my favorite days together are those days when we cook together or enjoy the food we have gathered for winter days. Think of foods your family enjoys. Plan now to capture some of the fresh vegetables from this season for home cooked meals later. You will be glad you did.