When my Grandparents moved from Chicago to Los Angeles, they bought a home with fruit trees in the back yard. They were so excited to have the great weather in California and the beautiful yard that my Grandfather, Bapa, used to count every orange that came off of their tree. They had inventory counts from every year they lived in the home. As grandchildren, we knew we had to put any oranges we found on the patio table so they could be counted in the official records! The production of that tree was amazing and the envy of all of their Chicago friends and relatives. We got them a rubber stamp to mark their oranges with a brand including the family name, “Schneiderkist”. We enjoyed gallons of juice and delicious fruit from that tree.

They also had a lemon tree and two peach trees.┬áMy Grandmother, Nana, had many, many recipes for use of the peaches. She made jam and canned peaches, but also made many other delicious items such as cobbler, crisps and dumplings. I have included many of her specialties in the “Recipes” and Nana’s Cookbook” categories. My parents had a wonderful vegetable garden every summer from which we enjoyed zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers. My Mom was very creative in her use of this bounty in our meals and also made and canned Chili Sauce with the tremendous amount of tomatoes that were left at the end of the season.

My brother has continued the making of Chili Sauce with production from an even bigger garden at his house which is known as “Vince’s Veggie Villa”. He also cans excellent Eggplant Pasta Sauce and makes great guacamole from his home grown avocados. At the end of the season he vacuum packs and freezes many avocados for use throughout the year. I have a small vegetable and herb garden at my house. I really like having the fresh herbs available for cooking. Rosemary, thyme, parsely, sage and basil grow very well in my garden and make meals delicious at a very low cost.

Tip: Whatever you can grow in your garden economically can save you $ when you use the produce in your family meals. Be creative based on what you can grow and work it into your menu and food gifts for family and friends.

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