To be able to cook in season it takes a lot of discipline. you have to change your way of thinking about food and cooking it. You have to say “This fruit or vegetable is in season so what can I cook with it?” instead of “Oh, that recipe looks good, what ingredients will have to buy to make it? ” To become this type of a thinker, I think there are a few steps that need to happen first to get your organization where it needs to be so things go smoothly.
This isn’t just for those who will be cooking nightly, but also for those who want to do 1 a month cooking or half freezer meals. It just helps you to get planned and organized so that you can have what you need at the lowest price possible. An added benefit is the time it will save you and also your family will always eat well.
The first point of organization that I found I needed was to organize my recipe binder. I have all my frequent recipes in 1 place so I always know where they are. When I first decided to do this series I opened up my binder to try to figure out what recipes I already had and what ones I needed to search for and I was so overwhelmed. I didn’t know what recipes worked for what season and after flipping through 2 or 3 of them I gave up. I then decided my binder needed a makeover. I suggest you do the same with your recipes.
When you organize them look at a list of what is in season. HERE is a great site that shows you what is in season by state so climate is considered. As you go through your recipes take a pencil and write on the top what seasons it works for. Some may have more then 1 season so be sure to mark it with both if it is ok for both. I made copies of those that crossed sections so I would have 1 in each section. Then when you finish all those, get dividers and organized them into seasons. The order doesn’t matter. You can start with Winter or Spring, or whatever you want to start with. I did these categories in mine:
This way each season was covered and those things that don’t really matter or have a season also have a place.
Be sure to also include any magazine recipes or copies of those out of books you frequently use.
Once you are done with this scan over your Fall and Winter ( that is where we are right now) and see what looks like you would like to cook with the produce that is on sale or available at the Farmers Market around you. Make sure you also have the items you need to cook these dishes. If you need a bigger pot or pan to cook in then be sure you work that into your budget if you plan on it being a regular meal for your family.
Once this is done you should be ready to cook! Next week I will start to share with you my recipes that are in season. I will include a linky for others who would like to share their recipes or ideas about cooking in season. If you have no blog to link to the linky then feel free to leave any recipes, tips or comment in the comments section. I want this to be a way for all of us to share our favorite recipes with what produce is in season so we can each have a large binder of our favorite recipes that we can pull from to keep or families well fed while still saving lots on money!
Does anyone have any other ideas for organizing your recipes?