Frugal Food and Gardening AND A BOOK GIVEAWAY!

I stumbled on something this morning, a blog/website called Make It Your Own, she had an article called what do you throw away? Find it here

She reminded me of a bit of knowledge I have previously gleaned but had forgotten to use in recent times. However when I think about the hard economic times we're in, I'm sure it would do us all some good to remind ourselves of a simple truth. "Throwing away useful things is like putting money in the trash." My grandparents lived during the depression era, and one of the things I've heard them say over and over is... there's a use for that. Now I will be the first to admit that this train of thought can lead to pack rat tendencies, but if looked at reasonably can save us some money. Many of the things we throw away can be used as frugal alternatives to things we would otherwise throw away. In her article she listed using bones for soup or broth and I'm sure we've all hear of that, but what about watermelon rind – if you pickle it, you can use it on occasion in place of pickles. Or how about candied citrus peel, don't like to eat them? Use them in instead of raisins in a raisin bread recipe (with or without the cinnamon) for a nice zing! The bonus to that is that they're a source of vitamin C. Beet tops can be used like spinach when fresh. Then you have green tomato relish, a sweet recipe can replace jam or a sour one for pickle relish. Unripe or overripe fruit is great for relish,chutney, or quick-breads. Rose hips and crab apples make beautiful jelly, and rose hips have more vitamin C than oranges. Small amounts of leftover food are often the starting point for most of my homemade soups, a nice alternative to PB and J for lunch. Many flowers are edible too! Try fried zucchini flowers, or dandelion flower lemonade, pansies in your salad or rose petals on a cake, they're tasty and pretty and best of all FREE. If you're worried about loosing the zucchini fruits, pick the male flowers as apposed to the female flowers, they're abundant in the beginning of the season.

Salad greens are expensive, and so is weed killer, many people balk at the idea, but really the best way to get rid of dandelions is to eat them. They can be hidden in any food containing tomatoes (it controls bitterness) and the leaves are great for greens in a salad. The root can be washed cut and roasted and used as a coffee replacement. Dandelions are a bitter herb, so they stimulate the digestive process, and also offer an added benefit, they're high in vitamins and minerals and very good for your liver and kidneys, but they're gentle and safe for everyone. If you find you can't take the bitterness, blanch the greens by placing a flower pot inverted over the whole plant for a week before harvesting. They'll be more tender as well.

Learn to know your edible weeds, there is abundant information out there and it will save you money on your groceries as well as your medical bills by bringing better health to your family.

" 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food." Genesis 1:29 NKJV

(I am not arguing the idea of eating meat, simply the health benefit of eating the herbs as God made them for. A good book is from Goosefoot Acres, called the Volunteer Vegetable Sampler, by Peter Gail. I studied my yard for a year continuously and noticed one important fact. There was not one 2 week period in the entire year that there was nothing to eat, growing free will in my yard. God provides abundantly for his children, we just have to be willing to accept what he provides.

Another thing that people can save money on is seeds. Many of the foods we buy in the grocery store can give viable seed. Some are better than others. Foods that are picked green may not have usable seed, but many will. Lots of the seeds in the spices section, if fresh, will grow a like plant. Tomatoes and peppers although hybrids will still grow tomatoes and peppers. Carrot ends, the part where the plant grows up, if planted will grow again, not the root, but the plant, and the plant may produce seed, which can be used to plant more carrots. Organic potatoes often have not been treated and will sprout for you. Squash plants will produce squash. The theory behind saving seeds is not to save certain kinds because of possible cross pollination, but if you grow 2 kinds of squash the seed may be a cross between them, but it will still be a squash, and a free one at that. Bean seeds will obviously produce more beans, or green beans if picked green. Did you forget to harvest the last of your winter crops last year? Leave them to flower, they'll give you seed to start for free this year. I once noticed a celery head, that had been thrown in the compost, growing!

If you don't have room to compost or raise your own animals which can be fed the scraps, consider this... Do you know anyone who does? If you know someone who raises the animals, give them your scraps, maybe even make a trade for some of their products. An elderly neighbor told me to come over and salvage the apples from her tree, the bees were going crazy for the rotting apples. We went a step farther. We sorted the apples we could use and cleaned up the apples we couldn't, the totally rotten ones went in the compost, the not so rotten ones went to a friends goats, and the rest we canned up, my compost got fed, the goats got fed, the neighbor got rid of her bees, we got fed and then we also shared some jars with the neighbor. Or the alternative, let the apples lay there and rot, only the bees and bugs get to eat. The bonus, our neighbor wants us to come back this year and harvest the apples while they're fresh!

This isn't a matter of luck, it's called resourcefulness. We can be resourceful and also teach our little ones be resourceful too. They'll be a help to us and have a skill they may come to need in their own lives. Happy Frugaling!

"12 The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow." Deuteronomy 28:12 NKJV"

Now for the giveaway: Leave a comment below, including your name and share what you do with food stuffs that many people throw away. On May 31 we will have a drawing. The winner will receive a book called In God's Garden. If you post about this on your facebook or twitter, or blog about it, you will receive an extra entry for each posting site, just leave a comment here with a link to your post. You get another entry just for telling me you're a follower or becoming a follower (thanks Grace for the idea). Thanks for entering and God Bless!


  1. Very cool! I loved all that info and I would LOVE the book! I'm a follower too!

  2. Oops! I forgot to say what I did with food I would usually throw away. Just lately I've been saving all of my celery tops, bits of carrots and of course chicken bones to make cicken stock. I love it!

  3. Staci, this was very good to read. So much food is wasted each year. I have done a couple of the things already mentioned. Your story with the apples, I did last year with pears. A lady had a garage sale & also sold her pears really cheap, when she realized I was actually going to use them she said take as much as I wanted for free! I gave her some that I canned.
    I've also the same as Grace in making broth out of things like onion peels, ends of broccoli etc, things I wouldn't eat alone, but still have lots of flavor & nutrients.
    Also when bread is getting old I make bread crumbs out of it & freeze it until I need it.
    At the place Scott works they often have over rip bananas or other items that I'll take & freeze for a smoothie.
    I tried to become a "follower" not sure if I was successful!

  4. I use my leftover stale bread to make my own breadcrumbs!
    I'd love this book! It looks inspiring! :-)

  5. I am now also a follower!
    My email address, by the way, is:
    supremelyhappyjo at gmail dot com

  6. I also tweeted about this giveaway.
    And then I just realized someone else already said they made breadcrumbs out of stale bread!
    So maybe I should come up with something different.
    I also make my own croutons out of old bread.
    I also try to use up little bits of leftovers (especially the little handful of green beans left from dinner, etc,) that might be normally thrown out by occasionally making "Refrigerator Soup!"

  7. Grace: I love that too! my gramma taught me to do that and it saves money on the broth! Thanks for joining in.

    Charlene: great idea with the smoothies I hadn't thought of that, it would be a good thing to use for the kefir smoothies. And you didn't get on as a follower, but I'll give you the entry for trying. Try again and push the follow button after you have signed in.

  8. Hey Johanna, nice to meet you! Thanks for commenting! I love home made croutons! And the refrigerator soup is a staple around here! haha, at least for lunch with the kiddos. Another one is "left over casserole" all the leftovers topped with a sauce of some kind and cheese, I think kids will eat anything with cheese.

  9. I'll be posting a new blog entry on the winner after 9pm tonight, I wanted to give a last call for everyone to enter. So in a little bit we'll know who won! YEAH

  10. Well I don't have any suggestions that I can think of because I am just a newbie on the journey but I wanted to tell you that I am now a follower of your wonderful blog! You are an amazing woman Stacie :)

  11. Oh, sorry. I tried again. Did it work this time?

  12. I would love a chance to win. I really enjoy reading your blog, and gleaning your wisdom. My leftovers will be going to my new chickies!
    Thanks for a chance to win!

  13. I also signed up to be a follower! I would rather follow than lead anyway! :O)


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