My delicious homegrown food
Nothing beats homegrown food! There's just nothing like a nice dinner made with the vegetables from your own garden.
Preparing and eating your own homegrown food is pure happiness, regardless of the season. I sometimes feel like pinching myself! But it's real. I often think that we eat better here than in most fancy restaurants. The flavors are complex and vibrant and knowing that we grew it ourselves makes it even better. In addition, I think that my efforts affect the taste too!
I know that a lot of you who start producing your own homegrown food might wonder how you are supposed to eat it all. When I started growing a lot of vegetables in my garden, I first and foremost did it to replace the vegetables we used for our side salads. But as we started growing more and more, we changed our whole way of eating. We plan all of our meals based on what's available in the garden right now, no matter the season. When winter comes, we eat plenty of cabbage, spinach in spring, eggplant and plenty of vegetables from the polytunnel in summer and root vegetables in fall.
Saving money with homegrown food
Vegetables are such a huge part of our diet that we probably wouldn't afford to buy the same amount from the store, when organic and locally produced. I know that talking about money might be a bit difficult since not everyone agrees that homegrown food is actually cheaper in the end. However, we did the math and it seems to add up. We spend around 800-900 dollars (around 8000-9000 Swedish crowns or around 700-800 euros) on groceries and household necessities every month. But when we harvest, our costs are cut by half.
I should add that we don't follow a strictly plant-based diet. But we do of course eat a lot of vegetables. A normal week often consists of 1-2 servings of meat, 1 fish dish, 1 pancake dinner and the rest is basically vegetables.
Read more: Growing a lot of food
The meat we eat is always locally produced. We buy whole boxes from farmers close to us. If we buy meat from the store, we always choose organic meat.
I don't often speak about my values when it comes to meat and other products, but this is a very important issue for me. To me, it's just completely unreasonable to eat imported meat when we have such great products here in Sweden. The pork we eat comes from free-range pigs in our village. In addition, we get our lamb from a friend's farm.
More about kitchen gardens: A beautiful cottage garden
We have quite a lot of eggplant in our kitchen garden right now. I have already been able to harvest several pounds! I particularly like pan-frying it but I have also made tomato and eggplant salsa, which I then put in the freezer. Baba ganoush is a great simple side dish that you can use your eggplant for. I roast the eggplant in the oven, together with olive oil and a pinch of salt. After that, I remove the peel and blend the eggplant with garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Delicious!
The blue little glass bowl in the top picture is filled with a red, chunky dressing with plenty of tomatoes, squash, and eggplant that I baked in the oven for two hours and then blended. It's the perfect dipping sauce for my vinegar potatoes.
The only thing at the table we got from the store is the feta cheese. I used it to make a simple salad, together with chopped basil and olive oil. However, all the other ingredients we used for this meal, like the salt, oil, and milk are organic.
What about the kids?
We have four wonderful children who were very content with this meal. They have their favorites but eat a little of everything from the table. The rule is that everyone should at least taste every dish that I serve. Our older kids need to eat a bit of everything to get full, but our youngest is so far exempt from that rule. Loa is good at tasting everything though! He just dips his tiny finger into the bowls and then he's done.
After that, we had dessert. We ate it so quickly that I didn't have time to take a picture though. I recently got a new ice cream machine, and of course, we had to try it out! So, we had vanilla and chocolate/raspberry ice cream as a nice treat after dinner. We added blueberries and plenty of homemade chocolate sauce. It's very easy to make, I simply let a little bit more than 1/3 cup (around 1 dl) of cocoa powder simmer together with the same amount of granulated sugar and slightly more than 3/4 cups (around 2 dl) of water.
I was very happy about what I made today, and I'm excited about all the other homegrown food I will put on the table this week. Eating this food is such a luxury!
Read more: 8 tips for eating more vegetables
We have so many vegetables in the garden now, it feels like we're drowning! I cook as much as I can and then I freeze or pickle the rest. Right now, we need to get to the chard, beans, cabbage, and herbs. Are you drowning in vegetables too?