Harvest Season Means Savings

By ERIN TURNER

All year long I talk about saving money and offer tips on doing things homemade vs. buying it in a store.  So it only seems logical that I dedicate this week’s blog to this beautiful season we call “The Harvest”.  Anyone who claims they are frugal loves this season.  This is what we frugalites live for–ABUNDANCE!  When there is an abundance, it means the prices are rock bottom and we can stock up.

Farmers’ markets are closing in on the last weeks of the season, so this is the time to hit the markets and score big on bulk buys of fresh produce.  The stores are brimming with produce and the local gardens here in Missoula are still knocking out crops despite a killing frost a few weeks ago.  If you want to cut your grocery bill significantly this winter, you need to start now and cash in on the abundance of fruits and vegetables available for only a few more weeks.  I have saved our household hundreds of dollars each year by preserving our harvest.  Doing this cuts most produce right off my list thus lowering my grocery bill tremendously…because we all know the cost of fresh produce these days!

I’ve done a number of blogs about the various ways I preserve the harvest so I thought I’d share some of those with you along with some of my favorite links to other websites which have some recipes I love and use year after year!

This blog post is a great overview of the whys, hows and whats of Preserving the Summer Harvest.  It’s a good place to begin if you are new at this and a good reminder for you experts.

I was just reminded today of the post I did about sauerkraut when a friend said she used that recipe.  This is a super way to use the plethora of cabbage which is available right now.  And the quality and taste is FAR superior to any you will buy in the store.  Plus, it is SO easy!

Harvest Season Means Savings

It is Apple season. You can smell it in theair.

If you have more than your share of hot peppers, have you ever thought about making your own Tabasco sauce?  This is my favorite recipe to follow and we love this stuff!  My favorite way to use it is on top of pizza.  Peppers are a dime a dozen right now, grab a peck and go for it.

Tomatoes are coming out of farmers’ ears right now…you can find them super cheap and super ripe at this time of year.  Get yourself a few pounds and make your own ketchup.  This blog post will provide your family with a healthy and great tasting ketchup using up the abundance of the tomato crop!

It is Apple season.  You can smell it in the air.  The apples are ripe and they are so flavorful right now.  Aside from cider and applesauce, you can make Apple Butter which is a lovely spread on anything.  Plus, it makes great gifts at Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Let me tell you, there is nothing better than the smell of apple butter being made in your house!  A terrific recipe to plan on making on a cold fall day.

Here is my new favorite canning recipe.  I made this last year with leftover peppers…you know the ones that maybe had gone soft, didn’t look all that pretty and were headed for the compost pile?  Yup, I turned them into a culinary delight. This relish took meats to new heights and of course when I topped a brick of cream cheese with it, we were all in heaven!

If you love garlic, you will love this pickled garlic recipe.  With all its healthy benefits still intact, you will be delighted at nibbling away on cloves of garlic. So, as you get ready to plant your garlic this fall, save some out for this recipe.

Most farmers are busy harvesting their potatoes right now.  While potatoes can be stored all winter long, it is nice to have some options.  My boys love hashbrowns for every possible meal…breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.  So, I love this method of freezing homemade hashbrowns.  This allows you the convenience of having them available with the peace of mind that these hashbrowns only have one ingredient….Potatoes.  No modified corn starch or other weird additives.

Check out this link for some advice on freezing apples.  I always love have bags of apple pie filling in the freezer just waiting to be thrown into a crust and baked up at a moment’s notice.

Harvest Season Means Pickeled Jalepenos

There’s nothing better than pickledjalapenos!

I discovered this simple method of pickling jalapenos a few years ago.  My oldest son and I love these things SO much!  If you love the peppers they put on Nachos at the fair, these are exactly like that!  I grow at least a dozen jalapeno plants just so we have lots and lots of jars of these tasty devils on the shelf.  One of my favorite times is when my boys and I stand around the kitchen island with an open jar of pickled jalapenos and some forks and we take turns reaching into the jar.  Needless to say, we go through lots of jars of these peppers.

Well, I think this is a good start for you to dive in and take advantage of the harvest season.  Don’t wait, get after it these next couple of weeks and you will see the savings this winter when you aren’t having to buy a lot of produce.  Not only will you save money, but your food will taste so much better because it was preserved fresh and you will have such an awesome feeling of satisfaction knowing you either canned or froze the food yourself.  Happy Harvest!

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.

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