Growing your own groceries – all the extras, preserving

A couple of days ago I did a gallery of the types of meals we have with food produced from the garden – this makes up a good proportion of our diet. I thought I would show what else we do with what we grow,  to save money. We don’t have a large garden compared to many (but well aware much bigger than many as well!) though we have a quarter acre  there are a few sheds, carparking, flower and fern gardens, paths, flights of steps and a large chicken area, a little lawn – what’s left over grows our food. We maximise the areas we have and we went hard out with replanting this year, getting our spring plantings in early (under shelter from frost) and grew 2 – 3 harvests in each space through spring to autumn. This list also includes free foods eg field mushrooms, apples we came across (unowned trees out in the wops).

Sorry I don’t seem to be able to work the gallery thing today, it’s just not doing it for me, so photos are few.

Preserving produce allows us to eat our own food throughout the year – we only have to buy staples, we get a good variety, we know what’s in our food. Virtually all of my preserving jars have come from recycling centres, thrift shops, friends saving them for me and garage sales. A secondhand dehydrator makes things handy but solar driers can be made from recycled materials and will probably be the way we go next summer.

Bottled figs, drying herbs and figs

Bottled figs, drying herbs and figs

Chutneys and Sauces –Tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, tomato paste, mint sauce, apple sauce, pestos (frozen), fig chutney, zucchini chutney, tomato relish.

For Fig Chutney

For Fig Chutney

Fruits: Lots of bottled fruit for desserts throughout winter eg peaches, figs, apples, feijoas, frozen berries for smoothies,  jam, 1  jar cranberry jelly (kitchen accident lost rest!), alot of dried fruits for baking, muesli and nibbling. Apple (or any fruit) scraps make cider vinegar and I have my first attempt fermenting at present in a large bucket.

Bottled fruit

Bottled fruit

Vegetables: Frozen – eg beans, peas, carrots, leeks, zucchini, beetroot, mushrooms, peppers. Dried – eg leeks, mushrooms, dried tomatoes in oil. Pickled onions, bottled beetroot. Tomato purees and pasta sauce. Stored pumpkin, potatoes, garlic, onions.

Freezing tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes

Pickled onions

Pickled onions

We will have green vegetables still growing in the garden through winter.

Herbs: 10 – 12 varieties for cooking eg basil, oregano, mint, chives, coriander, rosemary, parsley etc and for herb teas eg lemon balm, strawberry leaf, sage, gather rosehips before pruning… All dried or frozen in ice cubes . I grow calendula because I can make skincare with it. Soapwort for shampoo.

Mince sauce and herbs

Mince sauce and herbs

For the health conscious close your eyes HERE: We also smoke our own herbal tobacco…having quit the real stuff, this has saved us heaps. Raspberry, strawberry and blackberry leaves plus marshmallow weed make a very ok tobacco. We blended 1/2 and 1/2 at first then decreased tobacco over time.

We are also trying our own wine so will post at a later date the results of that. This is our first batch and I am not terrible confident but we try anything…The grapes were given to us and apart from a few hours squishing them and taking all stalks out, it seems easy enough and cheap. Next year we’ll try different fruit wines!

I think we counted 49 varieties of plants in the garden last summer. A plum, apricot and peach are not producing yet but should next summer. This was our first or second year of alot of the different berries so next year will be verrrry good. There are other things we still want, like a persimmon tree. As I was working as well I found it hard to keep up with all that could’ve been preserved eg cucumber pickles, more fruit preserves.

This was our first year of not growing corn. We love it but it takes up alot of room in the garden we needed for other things.  I missed it though.

Zucchini, frozen and chutney

Zucchini, frozen and chutney

Herbs, tomatoes, figs etc

Herbs, tomatoes, figs, petals

Anything we need on top of what we grow we buy as cheaply as possible and I make most things from scratch eg muesli, baking

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12 thoughts on “Growing your own groceries – all the extras, preserving

  1. Great post! Did you grow beets? If so, have you tried pickled beets? Mum made them every year and we loved them. Great in the summer with potato salad and all, but good in winter with hot foods, too. If you need a recipe, she may still have hers. She spiced them a bit with cinnamon bark, etc. ~ Linne

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    • Yes we did 🙂 We call them beetroot and I have a recipe for spiced beetroot on here somewhere. We grow masses of “beets” they are a favourite here, grated raw, pickled, baked, honey glazed…juiced alot before I burnt out my juicer.

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  2. Great to see the variety of food that can be preserved, and the different ways. We’ve only got as far as jams, chutnies, preserving lemons in brine and tomatoes in olive oil. Just wish we had a bigger garden. You’ve inspired me to try more, so thank you.

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    • 🙂 Good on you! Homemade is so much nicer. I know we are really fortunate to have what garden we have….I have a link on my page for Urban Homestead. They inspire me, they get 6000 lb of food a year off 1/10 acre and are totally self sufficient – just incredible what some do!

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  3. Greetings! I’ve been studying your internet website for a long time now and finally received the bravery to go ahead and provide you with a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just needed to say maintain up the fantastic function!

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    • Oh wow, hi there to way over in Texas. That’s cool. Thanks so much for your comments, they are very welcome. No bravery needed here, I promise you I don’t bite 🙂 I really appreciate your interest.

      Do you have a garden yourself?

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