Fall is our favorite time of year, cooling breezes, the feeling of a new start, the beautiful vast changing colors in the leaves, for me waking up to a quite cold house early in the morning just to drink some coffee and look out my window.
Living in the city, we have two small gardens, one in the back filled with our hops and one out front filled with delicious vegetables, fruits, and herbs. This year we learned you can’t have a garden where your hops grow….. this will be left for another post. Every year when it’s time to plant our garden we get a little too excited, this year we had 20 tomato plants, 8 bell peppers, 5 lemon cucumbers, 5 burpless cucumbers, 2 thai peppers, 3 jalapenos, 4 habaneros, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow quash, and 4 butternut squash (they didn’t survive) , strawberries, and raspberries.
We try to harvest and optimize all of our harvest for the winter and make use of our garden during the summer months. If you’re looking to make the most of your harvest this post might be great for you. We do all of the following on a budget and save money by preparing our own food for the winter and the best part is that we know what goes into our food!
Canning Spaghetti Sauce: It’s actually quite easy, it takes about one full day, but only 3-4 hours of this is constant work on your feet. To get started you can buy a water bath canning kit for about $30. Canning mason jars with lids for a 12 pack is about $9, and every year you can keep reusing them (you do have to buy new lids every year after). We used 70% roma tomatoes and the rest big boy tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, lemon juice for the ph balance, and organic tomato paste. I have done three harvests on my garden so far each at different times, so far we have a total of 43 quarts. We have saved $250 on dinners 🙂
Dehydrating cherry tomatoes and our Thai, chili, jalapeno, and habanero peppers is an easy process once you find a dehydrator. This year we have decided to make a powder out of our peppers, we have dried each of them and turned them each into their own special pepper powder. Now Marcus can sprinkle some pepper powder on all of his delicious dishes ! We sealed up a bunch of yummy cherry tomato treats as well
Fruit Leathers: I have used all of the strawberries and raspberries by adding bananas to them, dehydrating them into delicious fruit leathers!
Now all the harvest is taken care of we have more time to spend with our little daughter who turns 1 year this week! Time goes by incredibly fast and I am thankful and loving every moment of it. We are celebrating her year of birth and our honeymoon by going to Idaho and Montana to visit some hop farms and talk to real estate agents on buying our dream hop farm land! Which city will we end up in? How will this transition work? Can I continue being a stay at home mom once we move? Will our family unit stay strong? Can we find the perfect land? All these questions constantly flow through my mind like a hurricane. I guess all we can do everyday is trust that only the best will work out. I am only human and can’t be god so I have to realize maybe what is best in my mind isn’t actually best at all, I just have a limited view of what best means.