eating seasonally and gardening in tennessee

One of the best things about growing your own food is eating seasonally!

I have always liked to cook, like to can, love to bake, but doing it seasonally was really challenging for me at first!

We are a country of people that eat what we want when we want… no matter the season. That was me all the way!

That’s a nice thing. The problem is the veggies and fruits are often tasteless and sometimes from other countries that allow way more dangerous chemicals sprayed that we do. Maybe those veggies and fruits can hit a craving but they don’t do much for our health.

Which is why a lot of people want to farm, healthy and tasty foods!

So if you’re thinking you want to grow your own food??

Better start thinking outside the box when it comes to cooking and start eating seasonally! It’s not hard just a different way of thinking about the food you prepare!

Eating Seasonally Learning Curve

Like everything else on the farm, it was a learning curve for us. One well worth the time and trouble!

When things don’t come in a package or on demand, you have to use what’s on hand.

The things I grow aren’t always in my recipe books ( ground cherries!)¬†

Then there are things I get in great abundance that I must use or preserve if possible! ( mustard greens)

Learning to love tomato or green bean salads in the summer instead of lettuce salads (lettuce dies in our heat here). Substituting an in-season ingredient for an out of season ingredient in a recipe…

Some people have a problem doing this, but once you get used to it, I promise you will not want to eat any other way!

It’s fresh, healthy… and tastes better than anything you can buy out of season or in a package!

Different Season New Cuisine!

Winter Eats

Here in zone 7 TN, we have 4 lovely seasons. I like to think each season has its own cuisine ūüôā

In the winter I did a recipe challenge on the 5 days of cushaw and it was fantastic! 

Winter squash is a major food for us in the winter… summer squash, except what I dehydrated or froze for baking is long gone.¬†

Winter cuisine is a mix of home preserved foods from summer and foods that store well. Fresh vegetables are cold hardy plants I grow in my winter gardens under low tunnels.

I get asked all the time… doesn’t canning destroy the nutrition in the foods?

Well, certainly not all the nutrients! It’s not as nutritious as fresh, but my naturally grown, no preservative canned foods I say are a lot more safe than fresh out of season veggies from another country!

Preserving foods for times when not much grows is a way to survive and has been for centuries!

Having preserved homegrown food is a blessing and a treasure in the winter. I also dehydrate and freeze, although I prefer not to have too much of my vegetable and fruit supply for winter dependent on the freezer.

The four-season garden can only do so much. Preserving the bounty from your farm needs to happen unless you live somewhere with no winter.

Eating seasonally on the homestead for improved health and cutting ties to the grocery store! #homesteader #gardener

Spring Eats

Spring brings greens and snow peas! Breakfast for me is often a green smoothie of some kind this time of year using frozen fruits from previous harvests and whatever is ready in the garden! Spinach, kale sometimes young mustard greens do the trick.

Lunch is salads with raw snow peas and fresh lettuces! 

Dinner can be snow peas (again!) but cooked along with sauteed greens or maybe a quiche with lots of chopped greens and fresh herbs from the garden that are starting to pop up!

Spring brings goat kids and that means cheese too!

Eating seasonally on the homestead for improved health and cutting ties to the grocery store! #homesteader #gardener

Summer Eats

Right now we have a few new potatoes, beans, leeks, garlic, basil, an abundance of summer squash and cucumbers… starting to get into tomato season and okra is coming…

We have plenty of eggs, and plenty of goat yogurt, goats cheeses!

Average summer dinner….summer herbed goat sausage pattie with pepper relish (canned from last years garden).. sauteed green beans and asparagus beans with fresh garlic,,,,

Chicken hearts and livers sauteed with green onions … ¬†roast new potatoes in duck fat,, fresh slices of yellow pear tomato.

We even serve seasonal foods to guests ..why go to the store for products not as good as what you’ve got…entertaining with a fresh from the garden menu is so nice! And actually pretty easy…¬†

.. for summer entertaining we may have green bean salad, zucchini, goat feta and silkie egg quiche with home ground cornmeal crust… topped with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil,,,

Grilled veggie medley, a dessert made with fresh berries wild crafted or cultivated is always easy and quick for summer.

Breakfast …. never has it been the most important meal of the day for me… until I farmed!

Average summer breakfast…. silkie chicken eggs, summer squash rolled in home ground cornmeal, slices of fresh tomato .. maybe an herbed goat sausage pattie. In the winter we still get eggs but the veggies would change from squash to fresh greens, sauerkraut and maybe some goat cheese from the freezer.

I believe in veggies for breakfast… and every meal really!!!!

Fall Eats

We tend to have a long fall here. Peppers are still plentiful but grain corn and winter squash are coming in! 

Homemade pumpkin spice everything! Pumpkin breakfast smoothies! 

Fresh ground cornbread and Seminole squash soup for lunch! Maybe cushaw squash and bean tacos for dinner! Topped with fresh sauteed peppers of course!

We did not eat anything like this before we grew our own food but now we wouldn’t want it any other way!

Grow Variety for Food Security

One year rabbits were having had a field day with some of the things in my garden which made me rely on the things that they didn’t want to eat! This is all an adjustment when you’re growing your own food….. I was counting on provider beans… the rabbits ate them all,, thankfully my dragon tongue beans did well in a more protected area so they have been my go-to bean for eating and canning this summer.

I do get discouraged by the failures, like this season…the rabbits eating all my provider beans… the excess rain washing away my mulch making way for weeds! Things like my peppers are not doing as well this year as last….. cracked tomatoes from to much rain….artichokes looking like they are not going to work out again! I could go on…..

¬†So I just have to adjust the menus and focus on the fact that even though all is not perfect in the garden or barnyard…still gathered a whole bushel of vegetables today!

Eating seasonally on the homestead for improved health and cutting ties to the grocery store! #homesteader #gardener

Roll with the Punches!

Be flexible in what you ‘think’ breakfast, lunch or dinner should be is a must.

Some things I used to love just can’t be grown in TN, so I have had to learn to love the things that can be grown here even more and I do!

¬†Different ways of preparing and substituting what’s available have been a key in our success in cutting our ties with the grocery store.

Sorta like learning to love the livestock that’s productive here… not hold onto the livestock that couldn’t cut it in this climate or can’t be grown organically here!¬†

I canned 6 pints and 4 half pints of wild blackberries and have a dehydrator full of tomatoes and ground cherries…

I ate breakfast, lunch, and snacks today, ALL eating seasonally and all things grown on my farm.

My husband and I will sit down to a dinner tonight to eat food all grown right here and all seasonally. In-season vegetables and a variety of goat dairy products I make from my little organic forage fed goats.

Accept it, learn to cook it and love it….. keys to homestead success and that’s the key to eating seasonally.

These are abundant blessings… we never forget to praise the Lord for all things!