How to make your garden work for you this year.

Earlier this spring many of us began planning and planting our vegetable gardens. We worked over the entire summer to weed and nurture our gardens, but now as summer winds down and the days get shorter, you may find that your garden is producing less for you to harvest. Although, you may have been able to share quite a bit of your harvest with family, friends, and even coworkers, now is the time to start making your harvest work for you. Fresh produce in the recipes that follow below will be delicious, will save you a bunch of time, and will also save on your grocery bill this winter. I know I find myself with an overabundance of those yummy fresh garden veggies so here is how I am making use of them in order to save on my food budget this winter.

Zucchinis are one of my favorite vegetables of all time—from garden to grill, or in place of pasta (Zoodles), stuffed zucchini boats, to mini zucchini pizzas—the possibilities are endless. However, my garden produced so many there is no way I will never eat them all before they go bad. To quickly remedy that, I spent last weekend making and freezing zucchini bread (sometimes I add chocolate chips, too!) and canning sweet zucchini relish (great for burgers and hotdogs!).

Tomatoes are another one of my favorites! As they come off the vine, my family and I use them for sandwiches and salads but find we are quickly overrun with more than we can use. When this happens, I find that salsa and spaghetti sauce are brilliant uses for all these tomatoes. Salsa is one of the first things I make, especially with the last few BBQs being planned. Check out a favorite recipe of mine. A jar and a bag of chips make for a great snack or an addition to any get-together. Homemade spaghetti sauce over zoodles or on pizza is a monthly staple at my house. Try this yummy recipe.

Dilly beans are another favorite. These beans offer so much flavor with a variety of spices that once you get started, you can’t stop! Depending on your tastes, I recommend you try the regular dilly bean recipe or the spicy dilly bean recipe. Both are amazing!

As you plan your winter menu with the extra harvest from your garden, you should be proud of yourself! All the hard work you put into growing, processing, and storing your food is not an effortless task. You will find (and love) the money it will save you on food this winter. Did you know that you can even sell some of your vegetables at a local farmers’ market? If you find you have too much that is a great option [and puts money in your pocket at the same time]. Do you have any garden achievements, mishaps, or recipes you’d be willing to share? Send me an email at and tell me all about it.

~ Until next month…