Although having a fully functioning-functioning, self-sustaining homestead isn’t a possibility for us at this point, I am proud to say my gardening adventures have allowed me to eliminate a few items from my shopping list.
I achieved this fairly easily so I have no doubt that with a little effort you can cut these items from your shopping list, too!
Peppers are expensive at the grocery store! Yet they are so easy to grow and preserve. With 4 bell pepper plants, I am able to have enough red and green bell pepper plants all year. From July to November I pick them fresh. I also freeze them chopped, in strips, and in kabob-shaped squares.
Beans are the easiest vegetables to grow AND preserve. Although many people freeze green beans, I prefer to can them. By planting 40 feet of pole beans we grow enough beans to never buy Del Monte again.
Have you noticed how expensive fresh herbs are at the grocery store? But most of them are so easy to grow! Basil grows quickly and without much effort in my garden. I end up with more than I’ll ever use. From June through October I pick it for fresh eating, and I also make bulk batches of basil pesto to freeze for winter. One plant is plenty, though I plant more to attract beneficial insects to the garden.
With my four blueberry bushes, I picked enough blueberries to last us all year in just the second year of growing them. They freeze well, and I mainly use them in blueberry pancakes and muffins.
I began growing black-eyed peas because it seemed in Arkansas it was the thing to do. After canning them — which was as easy as canning green beans — I was hooked (though many people freeze them as well). It has become a staple side dish in our family. Especially when paired with…
Sweet Pickle Relish
Thanks to a delicious Ball Blue Book recipe for sweet pickle relish, I haven’t bought relish from the store in years. Cucumber vines are so prolific it’s easy to get enough cukes for this delish condiment from just a couple of plants. And if you grow peppers and onions like I do, all you have to buy is the vinegar and sugar, and a few spices!
Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste
Homemade tomato sauce and tomato paste is easy, thanks to my Kitchen Aid mixer with the fruit/vegetable strainer attached (affiliate link). I no longer have to blanch, peel, or de-seed the tomatoes. After the Kitchen Aid does its thing, all I have to do is cook down the sauce to the desired consistency. Without the mixer, making enough tomato sauce and paste is still possible; it will just take a little more time. Just a few Roma tomato plants yields enough for my family.
Here is how I use it:
Every year I hope to add a few more items to my list. Next year’s goal: onions, potatoes, and black beans.
What do you grow, or hope to grow enough of, to last all year?
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