"Discovering... the Forgotten Wealth of Nature"

"It is the thrifty who prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."
~ Aesop (circa 550 BC)

"It was the children who spied them first. Our bare ankles and sandal~ed feet scraped scraped against the cactus~like needles as we stepped gingerly over the vines sprawled across the landscape. They had buried themselves inside a mysterious, shadowy tangle of Pepper and Avocado trees like long forgotten treasure. A colossal patch of blackberries lie before us, not unlike an ethereal gift, the type of gift that night~fairies might leave to mere mortals. The dark glistening berries seemed to blink at the sun's brightness as we gently lifted the branch of an ancient Pepper tree to examine our cache'.

Our discovery of this culinary treasure (and our consumption of its fruits) was a subtle reminder of how generous nature can be. After eating our fill we converted the excess into sauces, salads and desserts.

Above: Half a flat of strawberries bought for $7 at our favorite farmstand.
They were very ripe and ready to eat or process that day...thus the great price!

There is a kind of romance to be found in raw ingredients. Just as the sculptor Michelangelo saw his masterpiece "David" inside a block of marble, I see berries and envision jams, cobblers and pies! Furthermore, I don't draw the line at mere fruits! Flour, water, yeast and sugar become crusty loaves of seductive homemade breads, and the mints verbena and lemon geraniums in our garden transform into glistening, ice~chilled glasses of tea to refresh our parched throats on a hot summer's day.

How often have we overlooked the possibilities of processing inexpensive nutritious foods in our own kitchens? As a nation absorbed with consuming overpriced, over~processed food stuffs it might be to our credit to look at the financial (as well as nutritional) value of converting our own natural [local] resources into delicious healthful meals.

After washing and hulling our $7 flat of fresh strawberries,
I lie them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and froze them solid before storing in freezer bags for future smoothies and/or jam~making.


In a world that touts as desirable that which is the fastest, the easiest or the newest we find pleasure in discovering the forgotten wealth offered to us by nature. Taking a cue from the past, we prepare seasonal foods for future consumption~~while they are in abundance~~in order to conserve time, money and quality of life.

A celebration of the seasons is one of the strands that keeps the tapestry of family and friendship intact. By sharing simple meals prepared at home we transform the ordinary into the extra ordinary.

Life is composed of the little things. It is in this accumulation of daily living that we should find our pleasures. The combination of handling unprocessed foods, as well as transfiguring them into delicious sustenance (through the wizardry of preparation) is a simple joy.

As the season of roadside produce stands and "Pick~Your~Own" fruit orchards reaches its peak, we urge you to rediscover the bounty that is easily and [often] inexpensively available to you. Take advantage of the opportunities to transform the harvests of each season into delicious foodstuffs for future fare.

With our good thoughts...

Tracey and Family x0x


A scan of the article above, originally published in 1995 in our first newsletter.


Lorrie Orr said...

We love putting up food for the winter. The freezer is filling up with all sorts of berries. Just today my husband picked 2 quarts of blackberries, which cost nothing, since they grow wild in many places. I have peaches ripening on newspaper in the laundry room. My tomatoes are producing madly and I hope to can them, and make salsa. I just love this time of year.

It makes me sad that so many fruit trees are left unpicked by their owners. Apples, pears and plums fall to the ground and rot. So sad.

This is a great post to remind us of the way we can and should live, mindful of our blessings and mindful of the need all around us.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Like you Lorrie, it makes me sad that so many fruit trees are left unpicked...we see that sooo much in southern California. Although, I've discovered sites such as Local Harvest and a way to locate fruit trees and owners who wish to share their bounty!
You are so lucky to have berries for virtually nothing...we live in an urban area (my dad in a suburban) thus the berries were a happy surprise! We had to tear out all of our tomato plants this year due to an aggressive infestation of spider mites (which I am still fighting). Luckily, we can find them well priced at our little farm stands, even still, there's nothing quite like popping into the back garden and snipping some herbs and tomatoes to use in an omelet or salad.

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

What a great deal! I ran across a similar deal for blueberries and did the same as you except I don't use parchment paper. Just dump them on a cookie sheet and flash freeze.

P.S. I had to go through 5 word verifications to leave this comment before I could find one that I could actually read!!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Thanks so much for letting me know about the problem with work verifications Manuela...I think I"ve fixed it (hope so!). Ohhh...a half~flat of lucky girl! Isn't it wonderful to come across those treasures!?!

P.S. I only use parchment on messy fruit like super ripe melon chunks and strawberries...these leave a TON of juice on my old pans with the many hard to clean otherwise! ;)))

Eve said...

Yes- the handling of beautiful, fresh ingredients really does get the mind spinning with possibilities. I love it.

Storybook Woods said...

"There is a kind of romance to be found in raw ingredients"

Ohhhh, love this quite and really sums up both of us xoxo Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Yes, I absolUTEly agree Clarice...we are the most kindred of spirits. :)))
Oh, and I LOVED your post on fermented green beans...with unique!

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Speaking of getting the mind spinning Eve...your recent post and picture of the GORGEOUS dress you made from a vintage sheet...and the inspirations for it...have MY mind reeling I love the way you think!

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

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