3 Tips on Saving Money, Fruits and Vegetables from Garden: Kids or Yours

PinExt 3 Tips on Saving Money, Fruits and Vegetables from Garden: Kids or Yours


Colorado has a short growing season so we have to make the most of everything we grow.  The weather has been very "moody" giving us about 3 rounds of hail and heavy rains knocking down my heirloom tomatoes each time. They were monster size so I can understand how they got knocked to the ground.  With our over 90 degree temperatures it has been a bountiful growing season for our delicious tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini.  Sometimes the tomatoes and cucumbers never get to the table. Why? I have to admit I am addicted to fresh out of the garden veggies.  The wonderful garden rocks. The red tomatoes were supposed to be about 2.5-4 pound size.  Can you always believe what you read on packages or plant labels?   You can believe my pictures here.  Oh, keep reading along as I have surprise for you to see.  Can't tell. 

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Yummy Heirloom Tomatoes (different kinds)

I do buy melons from the Farmer's Market.  Years back I tried growing them but found it took a lot of time and space.  Perhaps it is different now with many new varieties. Still I am not wanting to grow them.  

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Bright orange Honeydew is delicious

Melons and tomatoes teach us lessons of patience and watering responsibility while waiting on the harvest. Of course the weeds come around and get removed by my Action Hoe–a gardeners best friend sold at Home Depot.  Still it is the fun of gardening that always brings a smile to my face.  Hopefully yours too. We are in this game of gardening together.        

Eventually we know the season will be changing and the days of growing my tomatoes and other hot weather crops will end so it's time to think about the harvest ending.  

I will miss the Farmer's Market when it closes down for the year.  Can you see why below and what veggies are in front of you?

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Gorgeous red and yellow peppers and fennel

Got kids? How about a homeschool project or a day with the family all pitching in to work on one of the tips I am sharing below.  A great way to play with the family in the kitchen extending the life of going to the store and paying higher prices for produce items. How about making this a fun project making your Christmas gifts a homemade special? Preserves, pickles, saukerkraut or jar of peaches.

Look at these beauties.  I will miss picking them when they are gone.

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Yummy and blemished heirloom tomatoes

Here are 3 tips or ways to save money from your garden harvest.  Bring the kids as great helpers if they are around. 

1. Canning…

With the canning heat getting so high it is not my best recommendation to use this method as I believe it removes some precious enzymes that we wish to get in eating.   Our aim is the highest nutrition rich foods.  

What is the best way to learn how to can? The "Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving" by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine is excellent and has many great suggestions for all levels of canners including tons of recipes.  You can't go wrong owning this and placing on the shelf or near your canning supplies.  If budget is an issue check your local library to borrow it.  Still you will want your own eventually.  

Gift idea…

Can you see making some gifts to bring to work, give to neighbors, send as a teacher appreciation gift or even think ahead for Christmas ?

Back in my canning days I made lots of tomato sauce, pickles, cherries, pears and peaches.

Save Money Frugal Tip:

For beginners it does not have to be an expensive project for buying equipment.  Here are my suggestions to help your budget:  

a. Thrift or second hand stores for used and sometimes new items.   and many times glass canning jars, prongs, canning bath.  Jars are much easier to find the other equipment.  Oh, "canning" lids have to be new. 

b. Grocery stores: Walmart or others. 

c. Online or local: Garage sales, estate sales, Craigslist, FreeCycle   

WARNING!!! Glass jars must NOT have a chip. Shop for the best being trouble and worry free."

2. Freezing–why not–gourmet meals too…

My freezer mainly is full of fruits for smoothies or pies.  I mainly use zip lock bags designed for freezing.  There are freezer containers you can also find and use.   Some may use a vacuum sealer like Food Saver.

The book for novice and gourmet wanna be chef freezers….

Have you heard of this book: "30 Day Gourmet's BIG Book of Freezer Cooking?"  It has has colorful photos, glossy pages, nutrition information, easy-to-read typeface and layout. The recipes are tested and the ingredients are already multiplied out for the number of batches you are making. Plus yummy!

It is perfect for the novice freezer cook and the experienced freezer cook alike. There are recipes that fit your budget and your freezer lifestyle (triple batch cooking, 30 meals once a month, and/or team cooking). Imagine picking the recipe, see how much you want to make, shop and then cook.  Now freeze.

My freezing days used to include tomatoes, peaches, pears, tomato sauce mostly.  

WARNING!!! Use freezer cartons or bags to prevent freezer burn as much as possible. Check the freezer section for all types of freezing equipment. Costco, if in your area, may be a great starting place. Sam's Club also.

3. Dehydrating (drying)…

I use my 9 tray dehydrator. In the past I made a dryer that I placed out in sun with a screen to cover the food.  I didn't like this method.  A must have book is  "How to Dry Foods."  Deanna DeLong is the author.  She discusses various methods of dehydrating.  It covers everything without being complicated or overwhelming. Great pictures too.  Why doesn't every cook book have pictures? 

Save Money Frugal Tip:

Perhaps your local bookstore, library or friend may share it with you.  I always suggest buy once you see it or read about it.

Reflecting and Action:

So your garden is about to finish or did already.  These tips can give you a heads up for next year.  You are still on time and maybe early if you are planning for the future.  You can shop for items now and save money. Look for end of the season sales.  Are you ready to begin to can, freeze or dry soon or next year? It all starts with starting.

Here's my Kickbox friend who ate my homemade, right from the brine, uncooked pickles below.  

If a picture could say a thousand words, what would he say? This is my "surprise" below.

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"I'm in pickle heaven"

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Carol Giambri is a gardening expert. She is obsessed with the garden and eating healthy as a frugal shopper.  At a 12 step program she would probably stand up admitting: "I am addicted and obsessed with the garden and its foods."  She even shops for unique shapes of fruits and veggies.  From worm composting, which is a new desire, to homemade cleaning products, eating edible weeds, coaching programs, speaking, writing content for blogs, green/recycle talk, dogs and helping her hubby she enjoys encouraging people.  Carol plans to write several books on healthy living as well as a pet book where her heart still remains having seen so many go to heaven.



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PinExt 3 Tips on Saving Money, Fruits and Vegetables from Garden: Kids or Yours

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Olga Hermans August 16, 2011 at 12:54 am

Awesome Carol, I really had to laugh at the picture where the guy ate the pickle. You are doing such an outstanding job with your garden. Awesome!

Anastasiya Day August 16, 2011 at 5:10 am

Great article Carol! Thank you so much for this information – very useful! I agree with Olga, I was laughing too when I so the picture :)

denny hagel August 16, 2011 at 6:56 am

Great ideas! The pictures are wonderful, made me crave a fresh tomato sandwich! :)

Wil August 16, 2011 at 7:09 am

Love the summer for the fresh veggies and fruits. My daughter has me starting with a juicer, too. I want to get every last drop of goodness out of the harvest! Thanks for the great advice :D

michele August 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Those tomatoes look absolutely yummy! Wish I lived down the street. We could do raw together!
Great suggestions.

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 12:40 am

Michele, Wish you lived down the street too. The tomatoes are yummy and slowing down a pinch. Still loved it massively. My real pictures too. Thank you for your comments.

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 12:41 am

Wil, thank you for your comments. Fresh is best and organic rocks if affordable and a find. Juicing is great but why is she starting you with one? Not following.

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 12:43 am

Denny, glad I made your mouth water for tomato sandwich. I grew up on cucumber and tomato sandwiches. So much fun taking pictures of my harvest. These ideas work for little and big people. Thank you always for stopping by and commenting

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 12:46 am

Anastasiya, I was also laughing when he was going into a trance and I knew I had to take this precious moment picture for the pickle exchange. He love it and so did he love my pasta dish Italian style–vegan way (no animal products do I use). Glad it gave you a laugh. Thanks for your comments.

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 12:49 am

Olga, it was an amazing moment when I was taking the “pickle guys” picture. He thought he took bad pictures but the ones I got were amazing. It wasn’t my IPOD either. I enjoy writing about gardening. I do have weeds. I need to plant some more stuff for the cool weather, but regardless if time flies past me there is always the Farmer’s Market to support too. Thank you so much for the compliment about the job I am doing with my garden.

Solvita August 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

Thanks Carol for sharing these great tips! Love your new site and the pictures are very attractive tooooo :)

Amie T. August 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

These are great tips, Carol! Thanks so much for sharing them.

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Amie, thanks for sharing. You will find my recipes to not include any animal ingredients but do respec others choices. I don’t judge anyone. Would be great to write for Sams Club if you have that connection. Maybe even a monthly column for them or active blogs. Possible? Please visit us again. Got suggestions? Please share here too and I will see..

Carol Giambri August 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Solvita, thanks so much for sharing. Thanks for commenting about the new site. I am loving it big time. It took forever but no stopping now. Pictures have been fun to take.

Rachelle August 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Ha! That pic made me laugh! and want a pickle sandwich! We eat pickle sandwiches around here.
Love you new look and site too!

Carol Giambri August 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I too love pickles Rachelle. This is not my best homemade batch this year being not the best find yet. May hit the Boulder Farmer’s Market or volunteer and pick own. That picture was amazing and to see his face in person was great pic. He loved also a food dish I brought him too–raw meal..just throw it all together fast…whatever I have goes. Farmer’s still enjoying it years later. Even got a phone call asking where I am and missed. Maybe my food is missed? Thanks for compliment on new look. I truly love it! Now need to have services/products to generate investments, fun, etc.

Victoria Gazeley August 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

Love the ideas for saving the bounty, Carol!  And that pickle guy is too funny! :)

Carol Giambri August 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Victoria, the pickle guy was a classic. Sure glad I have my user friendly iPod Touch 4. Glad the ideas were useful. Thanks for sharing.

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