I find it hard to balance all of the preservation of yummy late summer produce with preparing nourishing meals. Most of the summer I prefer to wing it – just using whatever produce and protein that we have hanging around. Right now, though, I need a plan if I’m actually going to get things done and put dinner on the table.

A new resource I’m trying out is Plan to Eat, a supporter of Nourishing Days this month. If you’re looking for a menu planning system that puts everything in one location you’ll want to check it out. It has the organization of google calendar, the recipe search function of allrecipes.com, and the recipe storing capabilities of delicious. I’m just beginning to poke around, but like the look and usefulness of the application; and love that they provide a free 30 day trial.

So with the help of Plan to Eat I am trying to be more prepared for this week, which is shaping up to be a very busy week of preservation. A lot of my regular grocery budget is going to extra farmer’s market produce, so I’m saving where I can. Remembering a few of my own tips for lowering the food budget while still eating nutrient dense foods, we’ll be eating eggs, lots of free garden veggies, and sprouted legumes.

I’m also including my preserving and garden jobs that are inevitably intertwined with my other kitchen duties.


  • breakfast: yogurt with fruit
  • dinner: bacon, collard green, and tomato frittata, homegrown salad, apple slices
  • prep/preserve: soak oats, soak lentils, freeze herbs in bags, snap and freeze green beans, take bell peppers out of dehydrator and stash in jars, dehydrate zucchini, strain whey for salsa.



  • breakfast: eggs + bacon. yogurt.
  • dinner: French lentil + bacon salad with dijon vinaigrette over homegrown lettuce with tomatoes
  • prep: pick oregano in morning, soak oats for pancakes, dry oregano


I’m hoping this little bit of planning will insure healthy meals during this busy time.

How do you balance food preservation with menu preparations?


5 Responses to Menu Planning During Preserving Season

  1. denise says:

    i’m thinking your garden must have done really well this year. Are you tracking how much you have yielded this year? amazing really. Way to go.


    Shannon Reply:

    Denise – I think we’ve done ok. There have been some victories and defeats. We haven’t done anything, really, except light weeding and mulching since we planted. I am looking forward to the day when the husband is growing food full time so we can be on top of side dressings, organic fertilizing, etc. I just can’t afford to spend that much time in the garden with my two little guys, a constantly messy home, and all of the cooking and preserving I need to do. Sigh… priorities :) .


  2. I really need to start scheduling like this! Thanks for the tips and examples!


  3. Looks like you have a great week planned! I’ve started harvesting and freezing my basil for the winter. I roll it like tobacco and wrap tight in plastic wrap.


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