Happy Independence Day! There’s nothing that says independence more than knowing I can grow my own food!
According to several sources around the world, the current food shortages around the world are going to be worse next year. That’s why I feel that we need to become as food independent as possible. I am not taking any chances! As a perpetual homesteader, I am working on ways to produce as much of my own food and energy as possible so that my husband and I can live more comfortably on our fixed income. This month, we are living as much as possible on what we grow ourselves and this month I am highlighting some of the ways that we stretch our grocery dollars.
In my book The Survival Garden, I described how I can grow twelve vegetables that I don’t can, freeze, or dehydrate. Also in my book, The Four Seasons Vegetable Garden, I suggest eating food grown while it is in season.
I practice what I preach. Vegetables fresh from the garden are the least expensive way to utilize produce from the garden. Earlier in the season, we had salad fixings like lettuce, onion, other greens, spring onions, and radishes. We ate scapes and radish pods when they were tender and sweet.
Currently, our green beans, tomatoes, and hot and sweet peppers are starting to produce, and soon we’ll have cucumbers and zucchini ready for harvest.
We’ve also started digging up some of the early potatoes to incorporate into daily meals.
For longer-term storage, we dug up our garlic and laid it out to finish drying. We’ll use the smallest and least perfect bulbs to incorporate into tomato sauces and to make into minced garlic to store in the refrigerator.
Eating fresh first always makes more sense than trying to can everything this summer, but there come times when canning, freezing, and dehydrating make sense. For instance, this past week we had more green beans, peppers, and tomatoes than we could eat before they went bad, so I canned what I had. So far, I have canned 16 pints of green beans. I will probably be canning the first of my tomatoes this weekend!
I am a vendor at our local farmer’s market every weekend during the summer. When possible, I sell produce there. Another thing that I do is I purchase from other vendors things that I either don’t have enough of or don’t grow myself. What I sell, pays for what I buy from others. Often, they buy from me as well. Currently, I am selling garlic that we just harvested as well as some green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and hot and sweet peppers. Right now, blueberries and blackberries are in season, so we are picking those up. Last year I purchased blueberries, sweet potatoes, honey, and squash. This year, I hope to harvest enough sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes from my own harvests, so I don’t have to purchase any.
How about you? Do you have a garden growing this fourth of July? If so, how’s it going? Are you eating fresh from your harvests? Canning? Freezing? I would love to hear from you! Feel free to share in the comments.