Category Archive: Food storage

  1. Personalizing Your Food Storage

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    “OK,” you say to yourself, “I’m ready to get serious about storing some food. I wonder what I need?”

    We’ve all been at this stage at one point or another. Once we’ve come to the realization that we need to have more than a couple of days’ worth of food in the pantry the question automatically turns to figuring out just exactly what we need to have.

    The first place we typically turn to is one of the many online food storage calculators. That’s certainly what I did. I also found that many of the calculators utilize the quantities suggested by the LDS church, an organization that strongly emphasizes food storage. Every calculator I’ve ever seen asks the same questions: How many adults? How many children? How long of a time do you want to store for? All important questions.

    For me I decided that since my children were going to continue growing that I would just count them as an adult and not worry about the extra food I might have. Having extra is just fine with me. How long I wanted my storage to last is a critical question that you’ll need to carefully consider. The answer will depend on many things such as how much room you have to store food, your available budget, and whether you move homes regularly. I decided I wanted a year’s worth.

    As I did my research I came across the stockupfood.com web site. It intrigued me because it provided an electronic method for helping me to stay organized. I liked that because I’m a big believer in using technology to be efficient. No matter how many benefits a tool might provide, if it’s unwieldy to use then it’s not much help to me. The ability to revise and update what was suggested are what first caused me to investigate further.

    Initial account screen

    When I provided my answers to the initial setup questions I was given a suggested list of quantities of what I should have. As I reviewed it I had some serious reactions, the first of which was, “I need 450 pounds of wheat???!!!” followed soon after by, “Cornmeal? What the heck is cornmeal?” Perhaps you had a similar reaction. As I continued to mull things over I started asking myself other questions like, “I wonder what someone with gluten issues is going to do with all that wheat?” and I clearly remember asking, “Two gallons of vinegar? That’s going to take a lot of fish and chips to use that up!” And speaking of chips…the list seemed to be missing potatoes! And beef! And cauliflower, one of my favorite vegetables. In fact, the list had items that I don’t think I had ever eaten before such as lentils and lima beans and the aforementioned cornmeal.

    As I continued to learn I realized that the initial list was simply basic items. In a worst case scenario I could use these items to live as long as I had some increased knowledge about to utilize many of the items. Additionally I’d better know whether I even liked to eat these things. Not to mention that I’d need a way to grind the wheat!

    It’s a common misconception that in a disaster or other serious event, we’ll all just simply like anything that’s put before us. We might eat it if we have to but there is a better way. And that is to adapt the suggested list with items that we like. In other words, we should be storing what we’ll actually eat as this will provide emotional comfort in times of stress in addition to just meeting our nutritional needs. People with allergies would, of course, have to adapt if there were items they couldn’t consume.

    Providing the list of basic items, along with a way to record additions and usage, is something that stockupfood.com provides as a free service. Adapting the list is available via an upgraded account for just $3 per month and once you reach and maintain a year’s supply there’s no further cost so there’s an incentive to reaching a goal of one year’s worth of storage.

    Let’s look at some of the customization and personalization you can do. To do so we’ll look at my own dashboard:

    Customized Food Type

    You can see that the Grains list looks different from the initial suggestion. The screen itself also looks different from the basic account. At the top right is a Create new food category icon and underneath each group is a Create new food type icon. It’s the latter icon that I’ve made use of in the Grains category. I happen to love tacos and while the basic list does provide the ingredients needed to make taco shells, I decided that I wanted to have this item stored specifically and listed as its own item. Doing so is exceptionally easy. Just click on the Create new food type icon.

    Create food type

    A new window opens asking you to provide the name of the food along with what unit of measurement you want to use. In the final field you enter how much of the chosen unit of measure your household would typically use in a month. For me, my family has tacos at least once per month and we use a box of shells each time. I chose box as the unit of measure and entered 1 for how many I use each month.

    The site uses the information you initially provided for your length of time storage goal and adds the appropriate amount to the category. Since my food storage goal is 12 months my dashboard shows 12 boxes as being what I need for a year. Since I watch my weekly flyers and take advantage of sales as they come along, the site allows me to add more items than what my need is. This is why my inventory shows 14 boxes. A calculation of all items is done and each category displays what your percentage complete is.

    In addition to adding items to the category you can also add new categories at any time. That’s where the Create new food category icon is used. Clicking that allows you to create any food category that you desire.

    Create new category

    On my dashboard you can see that I’ve added three new categories: Condiments, Vegetables and Fruits.  These are items that I want to have in my storage and which I wish to track individually. My favorite condiment of all time is Worcestershire sauce so that item was immediately added to the category list first, following the steps described above.

    Customized categories

    Having the ability to add food items and food categories allows me to highly personalize my storage needs. I can eliminate items that I know I simply won’t eat, reduce or increase quantities according to my family’s preferences and feel confident knowing that I’m storing what I like to eat.

    How have you personalized your list? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

    TM

  2. The Logistics of Food Storage

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    So, you’re ready to start increasing your food storage preparedness or perhaps you’ve been on the wagon for some time.

    Regardless of where you’re at along the spectrum, having food storage involves some logistical issues that need to be faced.  Just where the heck are you going to put 500 pounds of wheat?  750 gallons of water?  200 #10 cans?  There’s much that you need to consider but imaginative uses of space can help.

    To begin with, no matter what, do what you can to have some food storage. I’m fortunate as I have a basement with a pantry, cupboards under the stairs and a spare bedroom. However, even if you only live in a 400 square foot apartment, you should store something. You might not be able to store a year’s worth of food but you can store a few items. Some is ALWAYS better than none.

    A common location that most people will have is the space under their bed(s). This is a great location for canned goods and bags of bulk grain (lying flat). I have seen people set their box spring and mattress on top of 5 gallon buckets! Let’s explore that idea further. A typical 5 gallon bucket is just over 12” in diameter so take a look at how many you can store under a bed:

    Bed Type Dimensions Buckets (hidden) Buckets (visible)
    Twin 39” x 75” 18 (3 x 6 pattern) 28 (4 x 7 pattern)
    Double 54” x 75” 24 (4 x 6 pattern) 35 (5 x 7 pattern)
    Queen 60” x 80” 30 (5 x 6 pattern) 35 (5 x 7 pattern)
    King 76” x 80” 36 (6 x 6 pattern) 49 (7 x 7 pattern)

    If you’re willing to let the buckets stick out a few inches the last column shows how many additional ones you can store. If you have a bed spread or sheet to hang down to the floor then you still won’t see them.

    In your living room or family room do you have a couch or loveseat placed at an angle in the corner? There will be a triangular space directly behind the furniture that can really add up. If you have the furniture evenly spaced in a right angle corner, the chart below shows the length of each wall from the corner to where it meets the furniture. I’ve also shown how many #10 cans (6” in diameter by 7” tall) you could fit in that space based on the furniture height being 40 inches:

    Furniture type Wall distance #10 Cans
    40” chair 28” 50 (10 x 5 high)
    66” loveseat 46” 140 (28 x 5 high)
    79” couch 56” 180 (36 x 5 high)

    I encourage you to take a #10 can (the same as a 3 pound coffee can) for a walk around your living space. Take a look at all of the nooks and crannies and test where you can fit the can, eg. the back of the shelf of a linen or clothes closet, the space between the top of your cupboards and the ceiling, the back of the cupboard underneath the kitchen or bathroom sink.

    If you have a double bed and a 40” chair in a corner you have room for up to 28 5 gallon buckets and 50 #10 cans. That’s a lot of food storage! And you haven’t done anything except utilize potentially unused space.

    Any additional space that you have becomes a bonus. Do you have a blank wall in a room or hallway? Shelves and brackets are very affordable. Run shelves all the way along the wall from floor to ceiling but make sure they’re sturdy by anchoring the brackets into the wall studs.

    Once you have your food storage location sorted out, in whatever space you’ve scrounged, make sure you have a method for keeping track of what you add and what you use. In my basement I have a clipboard on the wall with a list of all of the items in my storage. Whenever a member of my family goes downstairs to get something they simply tick the list showing what items was taken. The items that were ticked get added to our shopping list for the next week. Next, I take the list, log into my stockupfood.com account and update my quantities. Below are some screen shots from my personal dashboard.

    Let’s say that in a week my family uses six cans of mushrooms out of the flat of 12 that I have in storage. I hover my mouse over the item and the revision icons appear. I can add or subtract from the total or delete the item entirely.Vegetable Category - before

    In this case I click the subtract icon and when the Use window appears I enter 6 into the field and click Use.

    Use item window

    My new total is then shown.

    Vegetable Category - after

    When I get home from my weekly shopping trip I take my laptop with me downstairs and add the items as I unpack and restock my shelves.

    This process helps me stay organized so I always know exactly what I have stored. If my house burned down and I had to make an insurance claim I also have a list of every item that may need to be replaced. Also, by restocking my usage weekly I am constantly rotating through my storage and have fresh items on my shelf.

    What are some of the logistical issues you have now or have solved? Please share your insights in the comment section.

    TM

  3. How to Store Chocolate… For Emergencies… ;)

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    With the holidays, there is no shortage of chocolate… but what if one day it was no longer available?

    What would happen if one day you do encounter a disaster? Let’s pretend you are stuck at home, no where to go or way to get there, and you actually have to live on exactly what you have in your food storage! (Gasp! – from most of us…)

    If you are like many people, you probably have a few pounds of wheat, rice, beans and maybe some canned foods that your family eats most often. You even have a couple gallons of water! Good for you!

    Let’s skip ahead a couple of days, maybe even just hours. And pretend you have children ;). Ages 10, 7, 5 and 2. It’s day 4 and this “spending family time together” is getting really old! You have already played all the card games, board games, hide and seek, and are all story – timed out. A little incentive would be really nice to bribe the kids to be kind and “stop bugging your sister!” I don’t know about you, but my kids will do just about anything for some chocolate, bubble gum… or even a lollipop! You need to have SoMeThInG for them to look forward to as far as food goes. Beans. Again. Aren’t gonna cut it!

    Most candies will last at least 6 months if they are sealed and kept in a cool, dry place. M&M’s can last about a year if they are sealed tight! 6 months isn’t all that long, you say? Well, that’s why we love rotating our food now, isn’t it? 😉

    Keeping things in your food storage that your family usually consumes is both wise and delicious! If you ever have to use your food storage in an emergency it doesn’t have to be torture! Make sure to get the basics that will sustain your family and then get foods (and sweets 😉 your family will eat.

    If you aren’t sure what you need for basic food storage, you aren’t alone. People around the world are recognizing the wisdom in stocking up food for emergencies but don’t know where to start. Make sure to check out our food storage calculator which will help you calculate the basic food storage your family needs to survive and keep track of what you have so you can rest easy, knowing your family is prepared.

    Do you store snacks? What are your favorites? Post in the comments below and start a conversation!

    Opening photo by John Loo

  4. Freeze dried ice cream….mmm?

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    What would the world be like with out ice cream?

    One of my favorite things about ice cream is when I add a little milk to it and it forms into sweet crystallized clumps of deliciousness! Or add some marshmallows, stir it up, and let it sit for a little bit so the marshmallows can harden and they are nice and chewy! What is your favorite way to eat ice cream? Could Freeze dried ice cream ever bring you that kind of satisfaction? Good question.

    Could freeze dried ice cream ever suffice?

    I have to admit before taking my first bite of a freeze dried ice cream sandwich… okay, I’ll be honest, from the moment I saw them on the shelf in the store my thoughts were:

    1. Gross
    2. Really?
    3. What in the world would that taste like?
    4. Should I try it?
    5. No
    6. Yes
    7. How could I not?!
    8. Oh, buy it already!

    The challenge:

    The taste test really was a family affair. Every one was curious as to what they would taste like so we chopped them up into pieces and passed the plate of freeze dried ice cream sandwich around. I think all our faces looked the same, like, “what am I doing? This is weird.” We popped them into our mouth. Each of our eye brows loosened up and actually began to raise. Every ones reactions were the same, “Wow, that’s pretty good!” Then we passed around the Neapolitan ice cream. It was surprisingly good too! I knew then and there that we needed some freeze dried ice cream in our food storage!

    The result!

    Freeze dried ice cream doesn’t give you the same cool sensation you receive from regular ice cream, but the taste is exactly the same!

    Opening photo by Amanda Govaert

     

  5. Food Storage Calculator – How Stockupfood works

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    Watch this video to learn how to use stockupfood’s advanced food storage calculator to get your family prepared.

    Knowing what food storage you need to survive for an extended period of time can be a daunting task. I know when I first started learning about food storage I had no idea where to start! The goal with the advanced food storage calculator is to make it simple. You can quickly see how much food storage you need based on your family size and goal and keep track of what you have as you start building up your food storage. You can change your family size or goal at any time.

    Since launching the website, people have asked for an in depth review of the food storage calculator, and here it is! This video goes through the process of signing up, adding your family size and goal, adding and removing foods, creating your own categories and foods for customization, and how to use the supplies section.

    There are a lot of food storage calculators out there. Here is what some users are saying:
    “I was frustrated for so many years trying one food calculator after another. Most were these horrible spread sheet kind of things. This was a Godsend for me.”

    “I have tried a lot of different systems. I happened to stumble upon this website. I love it. It’s so simple.”

    “Your website is a gift. I have been researching food and storage and your site is the best thing I have found!!! It clarifies the system in a fantastic straight forward way. I love the interactive aspect too. I am thrilled. Thank you thank you thank you.”

    “I’ve added the recommended version and I’ll tell you, it is SO nice to have. I’ve added everything my family uses so it’s easy to keep track of what we need and what we already have.”

    We are constantly working to make this website the absolute best for our users as possible. Please let us know what experiences you are having as you start utilizing the food storage calculator. We want to make it as powerful as possible, while keeping it simple.

    If you haven’t already signed up for the food storage calculator, you can sign up here and get started on getting your family prepared.

    How has stockupfood’s advanced food storage calculator helped you? Please post your comments below, we would love to hear your thoughts!

  6. What Is Food Storage?

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    The Ant and The Grasshopper - Emergency Preparedness

    It’s all about being an ant in a grasshopper world…

    Among the hundreds of books on the old wooden shelves in the small 1838 colonial home I grew up in, there was one book that stood out to me most. Aesop’s Fables.

    I would pull it off the shelf, dust off the soft green cover, and open it’s pristine pages with their large colorful illustrations. The one story I would always sit and read was “The Ant and the Grasshopper”. I am sure you are familiar with the story.

    The story begins with an ant who spends the entire summer working hard by gathering food to store because he knows the winter is coming. The grasshopper on the other hand wastes his time singing and playing all summer. Soon the days grow cold and the grasshopper doesn’t have time to get the food he needs for the winter. The winter comes the grasshopper starves to death.

    The moral of the story is simple. We need to prepare for winters of life by storing extra food to sustain us for an extended period of time. Our winters may include natural disasters, rising food prices, inflation, or losing a job. As the wise ant, we can prepare now by gathering and storing extra food for our families to prepare for times of need.

    How to get started

    Step 1 – Set a goal

    You don’t need to set an immediate goal of a full year supply and go into debt to get there. Just start small. When my wife and I started building up our food storage we started with a goal of 1 month. Once we reached that we went on to 3 months, then 6, and so on. Set a goal, reach it, and move on. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, just start with one can at a time.

    Step 2 – Find out what you need

    When I first started looking into food storage it was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. There were many food storage calculators but they were all too complex, confusing, or didn’t meet my needs. They tended to focus on experts rather than beginners.

    I wanted to create a food storage calculator that was simple, straightforward, and removed that overwhelming gap so that I could find out what I need and track of what I have. As one user stated, “There are many food storage calculators but this one is the most user friendly… it is a godsend.”

    Watch this quick demo to see how it works and to find out what you need:

    Step 3 – Rotate and keep it fresh

    Once you have your food storage building up it is important to keep track of expiration dates and rotate your food accordingly. As Wikipedia states:

    “If good food storage guidelines are followed, using and replenishing your food storage should become a commonplace, everyday activity, as normal as preparing meals. Although it does require an initial investment to stock a pantry, eventually it becomes the most economical and convenient way to live. Instead of going to the store when you need something and paying full price for it, you can go to your storage room or pantry to get what you need. Then you replace it next time it is on sale.”

    Whether you have begun storing food or not, now is the time to start. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed with all of the items you need to buy. Just start small and work your way up to a year supply. You will be amazed at your progress when you keep a slow and steady course to preparedness. That way, when the winters of life come, you will have what you need to keep you and your family safe.

    What are some ways you are building up your food storage? Reply in the comments below to start a conversation!

    Related posts:
    Why Food Storage?
    Food Storage Calculator – How To Find Out What You Need

    Opening photo by Project Gutenberg

  7. How to Grow Sprouts – Your Winter Garden!

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    Sprouting is a great way to have healthy, home-grown, nutrient packed food storage all year round!

    Just six of the health benefits of eating sprouts are:

    1. Rich in essential nutrients – Some of the vitamins found in sprouts are Vitamins A, C, B1, B6, and K. Sprouts are rich in minerals like Iron, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium, and Calcium. They also have dietary fiber, Folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids. (Sounds kind of like I’m reading the back of a hefty vitamin supplement pill bottle doesn’t it?) AND fun fact: Most beans increase in Vitamin A by eight times after being sprouted!

    2. Excellent source of enzymes – Enzymes keep our body healthy. In the cooking process you can loose many essential enzymes in foods. Eating raw fruits and vegetables – like sprouts – are a great way to get more power packed enzymes.

    3. High in protein – Sprouts are a great way to get your protiens without having to deal with the fat, cholesterol, and calories that usually come with animal protiens.

    4. Easy to digest – Because of their high amounts of enzymes, sprouts are very easily digested.

    5. Good for weight loss – High in fiber and low in calories!

    6. Can go on or in almost any other food, or are good to just pop in your mouth and eat!

    To show you how fun and simple sprouting can be I started from the very beginning and logged my progress along the way! Check it out!

    You can get this Sprout Master Sprouter from Amazon for $16.99.

    This what it looked like when I opened it. Complete with instructions. As you can see the tray has holes in the bottom and detachable lids on both the top and bottom. The bottom tray allows the sprouts to drain and receive oxygen. There is a divider in the middle so you can sprout both types of seeds/beans at the same time, or take out the divider to sprout more of one kind.

    I chose to try both bottles of sprouting mixes.

    Soak 2 tsp of the Alfa-Plus-Mix and 1/4 cup of the Pro-Vita-Mix in water for 10-12 hours.

    (Day 1) Pour seeds evenly into trays.

    (Day 2) Rinse seeds thoroughly 2 times a day with warm water. Drain excess water. I kept mine on the kitchen counter. (They grow best between 75-80 degrees)

    (Day 3)

    (Day 4) Can you believe how quickly those grew?! I was amazed!

    The Pro-Vita-Mix was ready to eat by day 3, and the Alfa-Plus-Mix was ready by day 4! Once they are sprouted keep them in the refrigerator to slow down the growing process.

    The Pro Vita Mix tasted like fresh snap peas! And the Alfa-Plus-Mix tasted like alfalfa sprouts!

    My winter garden in the kitchen was a hit! I can’t wait to do it again. What a great way to have healthy, home-grown, nutrient packed food storage all year round!


  8. Woah, 500lbs of wheat? Now what…?

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    So you used the food storage calculator and realize that your family might need 500lbs or wheat. Now what?

    Let’s face it people! In a world full of microwavable chicken nuggets, and frozen Rhodes Rolls – how many of us really know what to do with a barrel of wheat?! Let alone 500lbs of it!?

    Many of us know people who have wheat in their food storage that have never opened it… and it might even include ourselves. When it expires in the next 30 years they’ll just replace it with fresh wheat and call it good. If an emergency arises, not knowing how to utilize your resources is a huge problem. It’s time to learn how to use the stuff.

    To get started, check out our video How to Use a Wheat Grinder to learn what to do with all that wheat you have in your long term food storage.

    We are going to create articles and videos on how to use your food storage but we would love to hear your ideas in the comments below and in the comments on the other articles. How do you use your wheat? What is the best way to rotate your food that works for your family?

    For now, make sure you are starting to build up your food storage supply by using the food storage calculator and tracker. There is a free version but if you choose to do the recommended version you will have full customization. It is only $3/mo and becomes free once you reach and maintain a year supply!

    So what are you waiting for? Sign up and get on your way to being the most prepared in your neighborhood!

  9. How to Make Oatmeal From Scratch

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    It is much better to store oat groats than it is to store rolled oats for long term food storage. Rolled oats only last for about 2-3 years whereas groats store for up to 25 years and maintain most of their nutritional value for that time!

    Please enjoy this delicious recipe for homemade oatmeal from your food storage!

    Ingredients:

    Oat Groats
    Cinnamon
    Brown Sugar
    Dehydrated milk (*Remember dehydrated milk tastes much better if it has been refrigerated!)
    Dehydrated apple pieces

    Remember that you’ll need a grain roller to roll out the oat groats and a can opener!

    Directions:

    1. Pour 1/3 Cup Oat groats into hopper on top of the grain roller.
    2. Turn the handle until all the grains are in the bottom dish.
    3. Boil about 2 cups of water.
    4. Remove bottom dish from the grain roller and pour the freshly rolled oats into the boiling water.
    5. Stir. Stir in 1/4 Cup of dehydrated apple pieces. Stir. When the oatmeal looks soft and most of the water has boiled out remove pot from burner.
    6. Pour homemade oatmeal into a bowl.
    7. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
    8. Sprinkle about 1 Tbls. on top.
    9. Pour about 1/3 Cup milk over top.
    10. Enjoy!
  10. Tomatoes: You’ve Outdone Yourself, Again!

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    Tomatoes are a staple in most gardens. Usually you have so many that you can’t use them fast enough!

    Sliced tomatoes and fresh basil
    Of course we want to can as many tomatoes as we can in salsa, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and the like for our food storage, but we love to eat them fresh too!

    Tomatoes have always been used as a side on sandwiches, salads, in soups etc. It’s time for tomatoes to step up and take their rightful place as the main dish!

    Are you ready for the most scrumptious open faced tomato sandwich you have ever tasted? I made up a simple recipe using fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden! Here you have it! Enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    Fresh tomatoes
    Fresh basil
    Cream cheese
    Mozzarella cheese
    Garlic Parmesan french bread
    Olive Oil

    Directions:

      1. Preheat oven to 425.
      2. Slice french bread about 1 inch thick and spread them out onto a cookie sheet.
      3. Spread with as much or as little cream cheese as you would like.

    Garlic Parmesan french bread with cream cheese spread on top on a cookie sheet

      1. Gently wash then thinly slice fresh tomatoes and place 2 or more on top of cream cheese.

    Sliced tomatoes on top of french bread and cream cheese

      1. Gently wash fresh basil then lay out a few leaves on top of the tomatoes.

    Fresh basil on top of french bread with cream cheese and tomatoes

      1. Pile a handful of mozzarella cheese on top of basil.

    Mozzarella cheese on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Moving your hand back and forth lightly pour olive oil on top of sandwich.

    Lightly pour olive oil on top of cream cheese tomato basil open-faced sandwich

      1. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted!

    Baked open-faced tomato basil sandwiches with cream cheese and mozzarella cheese

    I used other fresh foods that I either got out of the garden or that I had prepared previously for my side dishes with this meal. They were absolutely delicious and hit around the table! (That’s saying a lot because I have a 3 year old that won’t eat anything called “dinner.” Even he ate this!)

    I cut up fresh cucumber out of the garden and place them on the plate next to some carrots that I already had in the fridge and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. Then I made a fruit cocktail with green grapes, leftover blueberries from making fresh peach and blueberry cobbler the other night, and combined them with some strawberries that I had sliced and frozen for food storage!

    Open-faced tomato basil sandwich with fresh carrot, cucumber, and fruit coctail including grapes, strawberries and blueberries

    This dinner was so delicious! We all loved it and I hope you do to! Be sure to tell me what you think! If you make modifications I would love to know what they are!

    What are other things you do with fresh tomatoes from your garden?

    If you found this to be helpful and fun please share our blog with your friends and family. Also, be sure to “like” us on facebook!