Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crafting Food

Blogging two days in a row? Why, that's unheard of! However, I felt inspired after reading this article on msn.com today.

The article is about the cost effectiveness of making your own staple foods vs. buying them from the store. It has some really interesting results. I know one way to save money and eat healthier is to grow your own vegetables. It does take time and effort for sure, but it's so rewarding to pick a tomato from your garden and slice it up to put on a sandwich, or make your own salsa. There is some initial investment, maybe in some gardening equipment like a hoe and a trowel, good soil if yours is eh, and a little fertilizer. And of course seeds!

I've found that the amount of time per day isn't much. Maybe if it's dry set up the sprinkler for an hour or two, if your plants are growing slow hoe in some fertilizer, and of course it will take some time to pick all the delicious veggies you grow! Here are some tips if you're new to gardening.

However, if you grow enough, you might even have enough to last through fall and winter, or longer if you or someone you know has canning equipment. That equals months of not purchasing produce from the grocery store, all for minimal capital investment! Another benefit goes to the environment. Think of all the pesticides that are not being used, fossil fuel that isn't being wasted on transporting produce halfway across the world, and soil that isn't being depleted of its nutrients by growing the same crops year after year.

I grew up around homemade and homegrown foods, well somewhat anyways. Particularly from my paternal grandmother, who is the most frugal person I know, and so she grows most of her own food. Green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, and green and hot peppers all come from her garden every year and are either eaten fresh or canned. She used to have an apple tree too, and so homemade applesauce and apple pies were our favorite late summer treats. It died a few years ago (RIP apple tree), but last October we picked apples from a local orchard, and I made a pie! Not to brag, but it was the most delicious pie EVER. I highly encourage homemade pie making, and if anyone asks I could provide a recipe!

I have many fond memories of rolling out pie dough, stringing beans, and shucking corn fresh off the stalk for dinner that evening. I encourage everyone to start their own garden this summer, even if it's just a couple tomato plants, to help in these tough economic times and also promote the handmade lifestyle (which also applies to food!). If you have kids it will be great to use as a teaching tool and a fun activity to share with them, and maybe the older ones can even take a little responsibility for some of the plants.

All of this gardening is done in her backyard in the city too, so you don't have to live on a farm to enjoy homegrown food! Plant a garden and craft your own food with your family this summer!

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