Sunday, June 10, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Zucchini

So I must confess I have a problem.  I cannot pass up a good deal.  It is kind of a sickness.  My closet is filled with random things I've gotten on clearance, a lot of which I don't even fully like.  But if you ask me I can tell you, "well it only cost five bucks at the Gap, how could I pass it up?"  For the most part, and this sounds sad, my shopping is limited to the grocery stores these days.  I know what you are thinking, "gee I wish I had such a glamorous life!"  Right?  But it is true.
So my obsession for a bargain continues.  So do I crazy coupon?  No, I actually found that I spent more money and got less stuff when I did that.  I also found myself compromising the nutrition of my food for a good deal.  I mean if I get the BOGO granola bars with an additional 50 cent coupon, do I really need to worry about the sugar content?  So my ride on the coupon train was short lived, I decided I would save more money in the long run if I put my time and energy into preparing as many meals as possible from scratch and doing as little "compromising" as possible.
One of my biggest helps these days is Aldi.  It is a funny little store, with the funny philosophy that less means less.  Ergo, the less they do (they don't even light the store to full brightness and you have to put your cart back and bring your own bags) the less their grocery costs.  Since I always bring my bags and put my cart back (I know I deserve a community medal or something), I don't mind doing this!
Since we don't buy conventional meat, eggs, or milk or processed foods I don't get a whole lot of stuff from the store.  But what they do have is good prices on nuts, dried fruit, some dry goods (beans, oatmeal, rice).  And then there is the produce!  Each week there are specials on produce that usually comes to one-third the price of the sale price in other grocery stores.  Like 99 cent pineapples or 3-tri-color peppers for $1.49.  One day I even got 49 cent strawberries because there was a glitch in the order and they didn't want the massive delivery to spoil.  I've also found baskets, house plants, and other household items in their featured section.

I do take the extra step to cleanse and remove the pesticide residue from my produce, but for now this is what my budget allows.  These sales help me stock up on a ton of a few things and then freeze or ferment whatever I get.  This week I made sauerkraut and ginger-carrots. and I froze about 8 pounds of zucchini.  I love to add diced zucchini to pasta sauce and soups or just saute some in butter for dinner.  I also love that by taking the time to freeze a bunch of it, I am saving my family a bunch of money on something that is good for them instead of compromising.  Summer is a great time to preserve the harvest, from jam to pasta sauce there are so many options.   What are some of your ways to save the taste of summer?  I would love to share some of your tips!

Love and Butter,

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