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Growing your own food is an excellent way to slash money off your food shopping bill, and is a fun and productive hobby to have. Knowing you’ve grown something from scratch is always a proud moment, and it can really help you to appreciate where your food comes from. We can be so used to seeing it packaged in plastic at the supermarket that it’s easy to forget how miraculous it is when fresh produce grows from tiny seeds! While anything you can get going in the garden and enjoy consuming is beneficial, there are some crops that are particularly good. This is because they preserve well, meaning you can enjoy the fruits of your labour long after the growing season comes to an end.
Strawberries are easy to grow in the garden, and are a staple for food storage. Big batches of strawberry jams and jellies are ideal for baking with, or just to slather onto hot buttered toast throughout the year. You could also dry them, and make homemade granola or just use them for cereal toppings. Home dried fruit will last up to a year, so you’ll have plenty of time to use up a big stash. You could go a step further and consider a greenhouse for your garden wooden greenhouses are popular choices. Growing strawberries under cover like this will produce fruit a whole month earlier.
As with strawberries, apples can be dried in the oven and are excellent for cereal or homemade granola. Another great way you can preserve apples is by making applesauce. This is the ideal accompaniment to roast pork, or to use in cooking or baking. It can take over six years for a standard apple tree to start producing fruit, but if you’re planning on living in your property, permanently it’s worth planting one. You’ll get a great crop of apples to use every year which are nutritious, tasty and completely free!
A big homemade pot of onion chutney can be used in a number of ways. Paired with cheese and crackers, spread on sandwiches or added to meats when cooking. It’s a great way to use up a big batch of onions, since a lot are needed to make it. A huge amount will cook down to a relatively small pot of chutney, so no worries if you have loads and feel like you’ll never use them all in time. Smaller varieties of onions can also be used for pickling.
Cabbage that has been shredded and pickled is a fantastic tangy addition to a regular old salad. You can push it through the grater or fine slicer attachment of your food processor and then put into white vinegar in sterilised jars. Bear in mind that this is for the tighter, denser white and red cabbages. It won’t work with the fluffier green variety of cabbage.
Corn On The Cob
Corn on the cob makes an excellent side dish to just about any main meal. But out of season, they can be kind of expensive. So why not grow your own? The great thing about them is they freeze beautifully, so you can take as many as you need out and thaw them to use as needed. You can throw them on the grill in the summer or boil or char them in a pan to eat with your weekly meals over the rest of the year. Alternatively, you could cut off the kernels to use in salads, soups, chillis and just about everything else. It’s full of fibre and nutrition, and is always a crowd pleaser. Even children who turn their nose up at most veg are happy to sink their teeth into a cob of corn.
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