Summer

How to preserve food even if you have no time

time-saving food preserving tips for garden harvests

Our garden harvests start to roll in right around the time when everything else needs to be done – escaping our stressful lives for our long-awaited summer vacation, shopping for back to school clothes for the kids, and hosting our sister’s fun and rowdy family for their annual visit.

No wonder it’s hard to make food preserving a priority.

Combine this with the common misconception that the only way to preserve food is by canning (who has time for that?!) and you end up with a depressing pile of rotting vegetables staring you in the face every time you open the fridge door.

What if I told you there were plenty of time-saving tricks for preserving your summer harvest that had nothing to do with long canning sessions in a hot kitchen sweating your little gardener buns off?

One of the easiest time-saving techniques is freezing vegetables instead of canning them. With canning, it makes sense to wait until you have a large amount of one vegetable, but with freezing, you can work with whatever quantity of vegetables or fruits you have on hand that day. And often, you can prep veggies for freezing in as little as 10 minutes.

Why mess with canning when you can easily freeze so much of summer’s bounty?

Healthy Camping Meals for Veggie Lovers

eating oatmeal by the fire healthy camping meals

When it’s time to go grocery shopping for a camping trip, my husband, Mark, is the one in charge because, as he puts it, “I’m the best at buying lots of snacks!” And it’s true, I’m not known for my junk food shopping abilities. I’m more of a healthy camping meals kind of gal.

And while I do like to indulge in things like potato chips (Black Pepper Kettle Chips – yum!!) and beer while sitting around the campfire, it’s also important to me to try to balance that out with some healthy camping meals.

Plus, camping season coincides perfectly with the gardening season, which means if you’re a gardener then you likely had to go out to harvest a bunch of veggies before you left on your trip. Why not bring them with you and incorporate them into your fireside meals instead of leaving them home to languish in the fridge?

I thought I’d share a breakfast, lunch, and dinner from a recent camping trip that highlights garden fresh fruits and veggies to keep you healthy while traveling, and still leaves plenty of room for indulging in your favorite vacation junk food between meals!

Gorgeous Summer Blooming Perennials

summer blooming perennials in the garden

Are you a vegetable gardener, a perennial gardener, or both? Did pursuing one lead to an interest in the other?

I often teach and travel with the Creative Vegetable Gardener, and it’s interesting to meet gardeners from all over the country and discover whether they grow just flowers, just vegetables, or flowers and vegetables. Each type of gardening has its own tricks and techniques, and what you learn in one doesn’t necessarily translate into the other.

But, if you grow perennials and vegetables, like I do, it can be fun to try to bring those two gardens together as much as possible in your landscape. One way I’ve done this is to create a perennial garden located between my front yard vegetable garden and the street.

This has multiple benefits: my vegetable garden can borrow some of the color from the perennial border during times of the year when it’s not terribly interesting (early spring), the perennial flowers draw scores of beneficial insects and pollinators into the front yard, which benefits my vegetables, and the perennial border puts a pretty face on the front of my property and serves as a buffer between my food and the street.

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