‘Tis the season: Save money and make gazpacho 4

As in most of the U.S. right now, it’s about a billion degrees in Florida. The only sane thing to do is figure out how to survive without turning on the stove. Or grill. Or even lights. Plus, all that money spent on extra air conditioning has to come out of the budget somewhere, so let’s add “without emptying the wallet” to that list.

The solution, of course, is gazpacho.

This palate-pleasing chilled soup is magical for so many reasons. It’s Old- and New-World in a bowl. Before the Aztecs introduced Europeans to the xitomatl, Spaniards made this, one of their national dishes, with a base of garlic and stale bread—a white gazpacho. There are those who say gazpacho is nothing more than a liquid salad, but it’s so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s creamy without a drop of cream, it’s really filling, and with everything blended together, it explodes with flavor.

Thank you, Aztecs!

Thank you, Aztecs!

I’ll divulge my favorite gazpacho recipe in a sec, but during my most recent gazpacho-making binge, I also realized that it’s the perfect illustration of something I always share with my clients that I’m going to share with you now too.

A sample of some of what's in season

A sample of some of what’s in season

If you’ve been reading TOA for a while, you know I encourage everyone to avoid, whenever possible, the toxic chemicals used in conventional agriculture. Of course the first response is, “Organic is too expensive.” After showing my clients how that’s not necessarily so, I start loading up their “TOA toolbags” with money-saving strategies, one of which is to buy in season or, a variation on that theme, to grow your own.

Lots of websites, like pickyourown.org, have info on what's in season.

Lots of websites, like pickyourown.org, have info on what’s in season for every state

As I was harvesting gazpacho-bound green peppers from the garden, giddy about the fact that the main ingredients are all in season right now, I realized it had been a while since I’d priced things, a happy side effect of growing your own food! So I put on my “I have to go to a store” face and headed to the big-name grocer to stalk peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Back in the fall or winter, when these items were out of season and had to be trucked in from California or Mexico, you can see how much more expensive they were than now, when they’re in season.

So it makes financial sense to buy in season if you’re going to buy your organic produce from the grocery store.

An even better option is to grow your own. Obviously, this option means you’re also going to be eating in season.

Setting up raised beds for a client.

Setting up raised beds for a client.

My cucumber seeds cost $2.75 for a packet of 35 seeds.

Sorry about the weird cucumber photobomb!

Based on how many pounds of fruit each plant produces, that makes those cucumbers three cents per pound! And when you start saving seeds to plant in subsequent seasons, the cost goes down even more.

First step in saving tomato seeds

Bonus: Gazpacho is a great way to use up less-than-perfect produce, saving you money by reducing your food waste!

If you’d like more ways to green your life while saving some green at the same time, contact me for a consultation.

Meanwhile, on to the recipe! Traditional gazpacho served as a way to use up stale bread; it helps thicken the mixture. Gazpacho is also one of those “kitchen sink” dishes, so I’ve seen variations using hard-boiled egg, other veggies (really you can use whatever you have on hand) and a variety of oils, but The Organic Adventurer version is gluten-free, free of animal products and uses a mixture of healthy fats to get that silky mouthfeel and satiety.

Your turn, Adventurers! What’s your favorite way to eat in season? Leave a comment below and use the social media share buttons to get even more ideas from your friends!

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