There are a few things that make me geek out when I’m wearing my homemaking hat. Stocking our pantry is one of those. I get such a buzz when it’s stocked with things we’ve made ourselves. It’s amazing the value that can come from a small vegetable plant that initially cost a few dollars (or cents if you opt to start with seeds).
If we can’t grow it, I prefer to buy as many things in bulk as I can as long as it’s cost effective. This has been tricky since we moved to IL. Costco is great, but sometimes their bulk prices are not the best value and other stores, like ALDI, end up being a cheaper option.
While we were visiting family in Virginia we took a trip to my favorite bulk food store. I stocked up on spices and dried goods and paid a fraction of what I’d have paid back home. Our pantry is looking really nice for fall.
Next up is stocking the freezer. Soon we’ll begin the mad dash to make sauce out of as many tomatoes as we can. I usually freeze tomato sauce in two cup increments so it’s easy to pull out what we need for recipes.
This year in addition to tomato sauce, I also used a ton of zucchini by making zucchini sauce. It’s super easy and is a great way to use up large quantities of zucchini. Click here to see a formal recipe (note- if you follow this recipe and you’d like the consistency to be more “sauce-like” just add a bit of water or more olive oil to the mix), otherwise here’s a quick summary- To make the sauce just chop up a zucchini or two, sauté it in olive oil/butter (half and half of each) and whatever spices (I used thyme, garlic and onions) and gently cook it down till the zucchini is more like a sauce or paste. It takes at least a few hours for it to cook down to the right consistency.
I’ve been adding chicken to it and serving it over pasta for dinner. I’ve also been freezing the sauce to use later. I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet it’d make a nice white pizza sauce too.
Once the zucchini are finished for the season and we get our tomato sauce done, the grapes will be ready to harvest. Those will be turned into grape jam. Then the apples will be here and those get turned into applesauce, apple pie filling or apple crisp. Then we’ll be all gardened out and ready to have a nice long break over the remainder of the fall and winter, which is timely because a new school year is just around the corner.
Below are some pics from our gardening adventures this past week. We moved our melons to a new part of our garden this year. They must like their new home because they’ve taken over the garden from their original starting point. We are just days away from our cantaloupes being ready and maybe a week or two until the watermelons are ripe.
The watermelons are climbing the fence.
Melons are taking over!