Late spring and early summer are sometimes the hardest seasons for eating fresh and local. My freezer is emptying of last summer’s bounty, the Farmers’ Market hasn’t opened yet, it’s too early and too wet to plant, much less harvest, and we’re in the midst of time-consuming events that signal the end of the school year.
We’re hoping and planning to put up more of our own garden produce and local goodies from the Farmers’ Market as soon as local food comes into season. I’m preparing in several ways.
- I picked up a food saver to replace my hand pump. I liked using the zipper bags for vegetables, but pumping the air out of each bag got tiring. Pushing a button and “zip!” sucking the air out will make it easier.
- I’ve set aside good containers for freezing fresh fruits and fresh peppers. It’s so nice to reach into the freezer and pull out a jalapeno pepper from last fall’s garden instead of buying one from the store, a pepper probably imported over a great distance.
- The tomato and pepper sections of our garden will be bigger and more varied. The family requested more salsa this year; last year’s stock only lasted until December. More salsa means more pulp tomatoes and more peppers.
- We’ll continue to plant spinach; adding spinach to soups and stews and salads and omelets, to name a few, can increase or maintain a decent amount of iron in my diet.
- Herbs! Seasoning with fresh herbs is tasty and helps us resist adding too much salt to our food. The chives are right outside the dining room door, making them easily accessible.
In the meantime, I can stock the kitchen with good foods made from scratch. I keep baking bread, adding flaxseed or local honey or other healthy additions to the recipe. The slow cookers (yes, plural, I have several) provide another method for easily cooking from scratch. It’s easier to keep meals low salt and low calorie when I have control over the ingredients.
When I don’t have time or energy to cook from scratch, it’s time to pull out something simple, yet healthy. Weight Watchers Smart Ones is making it easier to stay on track with a healthy meal plan without spending time on prep work beforehand. Their products provide a variety of delicious, convenient and portion controlled meals and snacks that contain lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And now they are offering two new breakfast items – like the new Egg, Sausage & Cheese Wrap and the French Toast with Turkey Sausage. If you’re keeping track, the packaging tells you the Weight Watchers PointsPlus values in each serving, allowing you to conveniently plan for the day. Visit www.eatyourbest.com for more information.