Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Get What You Get

Salad tomatoes
My grand daughters have a saying, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". I think that fits very well with eating from the garden. People of course have different goals for their gardens. Some are just to supplement what they buy at the store, while others eat completely from their own resources (which is my eventual goal.)

It is all a matter of attitude. Some people, getting bored with never ending greens will let the greens languish in the fridge and buy something different at the store. Just because they are bored eating the same thing every day. Me? well, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit! You find new ways to use the same old thing. Instead of steamed greens you stir fry them with bacon and onion. Sometimes you top them off with fried eggs and sometimes you mix them with potatoes. But every bite you eat from the garden is money saved at the grocery store. When you have tomatoes but no lettuce, you have tomato salad. Eggplant but no meat, eggplant Parmesan.

"What's for dinner?" becomes "whatever is ready to pick and eat" not "what am I in the mood for?" If it's the same thing for a few days running, well that is ok, because after that then something else will be ready. While some things are staples for months on end, like greens, other things have a short and fleeting season. So I gorge on it while it's available and then look forward to the next thing. And the next.

Home grown peaches
 Americans are spoiled by grocery stores having food grown in other countries so they can have bananas and other fruits all year. But such opulence comes at a high environmental price, to say nothing of what it does to the pocketbook. I think as the price of transportation goes up we will see a slight shift away from this. For my part I eat what is in season, whether I grow it or buy it. I don't buy grapes from Chile in January. In fact I don't buy imported fruits and vegetables at all. And I am really glad that our produce is labeled with the country of origin.

new potatoes
My goal, too this year, is not to do too much canning and preserving. But rather, to eat fresh, each thing at it's peak, then go on to the next thing. This too saves time, money and work. It means I can focus my preserving efforts on those things that are highly perishable but make a decent preserved product. I won't make more than a few jars of green beans, because I don't eat that many. But I might make a few jars of new potatoes because I don't have a good place to store potatoes and it's nice to have some already cooked and ready to go. I probably won't have enough tomatoes to make much sauce this year, but that's ok too, I don't eat much pasta any more and would just as soon eat it with pesto sauce. I do like to make a few jars of convenience food. Home made soup and chili in pint jars are nice to have on the shelf, ready to pop into a lunch box or heat up for a quick meal after a long day.  Having once lost a large amount of food to a freezer failure, I don't rely on freezing for much of my storage. Mostly freezing is a short term storage option and most of the space is taken up with meat.


  1. I like your granddaughters saying "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!" I have never made pesto but should take the plunge. I am concerned about freezer failure and wish I could talk my husband into getting a small generator to run the freezer and refrig. So far we have been fortunate and the electricity has not been off that long but how long will our good fortune last with all this crazy weather! Enjoy your views on economy blog. Thanks. Nancy

  2. Have you read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? She used that attitude for a year with her family, only eating what they grew themselves or was grown/produced locally. Eating seasonally and either preserving for later, or not having any later. It is a wonderful, inspiring book.

  3. I haven't read that book, but I live in a non agricultural area so sourcing local meat is actually impossible if local is less than 100 miles. At the moment I"m still buying meat at the store; just wish grass fed was an option there. At the same time I"m building up my poultry flock and will have some duck later this fall and a couple of chickens. Hoping to hatch out a good number of chicks soon to have more to eat later in the fall/winter.

  4. Looking for another Cottage Economy update????? :} Nancy