Summer Pantry Challenge Kick-Off: Eating from the Garden

Welcome to July’s Summer Pantry Challenge focused on cleaning out some of the space in the pantry and freezer to make room for all the fresh summer produce that’s coming in, which I fully plan on canning and freezing to use during the long months of winter.

July is here. I feel like just yesterday I was staring the first days of summer in the face, and now I’m in the midst of all that it is, with fireworks and picnics aplenty.

My garden has been taking off. We have already harvested a few Supersweet 100s, and we used the first cucumbers in a 4th of July salad yesterday. Then this weekend when we were at the farmers market I commented on how it feels like we’re waiting for the produce to show up and waiting and waiting and then – bam – it’s suddenly there, vendor tables overflowing with fresh eats.

With summer in full bloom and fall harvest just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about canning and preserving. There’s only one problem: My pantry is overflowing with random odds and ends, my freezer bursting full of ice cream treats and frozen meats. I have literally nowhere to store anything at this point.
With the vicious cycle of purchasing and eating in the summer months fully underway, the solution is simply that we must start clearing out the stockpiles we have going, getting creative with what is on hand to make healthy and delicious meals for the family without buying more and more, stacking and pushing to make it all fit.

The Summer Pantry Challenge

  • Focus on eating and cooking with fresh produce from the garden and the farmers market.
  • Clear out the freezer, using up frozen produce that may still be in there.
  • Organize my sadly disorganized cupboards and makeshift garage pantry, using up excess to complete garden-fresh meals.
  • Purchase only necessary fresh items like milk and eggs, but avoiding any shelf-stable or convenience foods.

That’s it. The concept is simple: Eat the fresh produce that’s available now by pairing it with the food we already have on hand. We’ll look into the depths of the freezer and the corners of the cupboards to get a better sense of what we have on hand, while making room to restock with the same fresh foods we’ll be harvesting in the next few months.

I’m not the only one participating in the Summer Pantry Challenge. Jessica from Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats has rounded up a great group to participate in the challenge!

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  1. I have got to do this too. Our pantry is overflowing, yet we never seem to know what to make for dinner when we’re both exhausted from work. No more! It’s time to start cleaning up and clearing out. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Love this idea! We’ve been working through the food I froze and canned last year so we can make room for more! 🙂

  3. Sounds like my kind of series. We’ve got salads planned all week long.

  4. Fun challenge! I did something similar a few years ago, and it was great. I try to eat mostly from our CSA in the summer and only supplement with a few things here and there, and we always feel so much better eating all of that healthy, fresh food!

  5. What a wonderful idea! Sounds like a win win situation!

    • I have a small kitchen and I love to stock up stuff so anmyite I needed it I won’t go to the nearest supermarket, but since I have small place arranging and sorting things is very hard because there is no space to insert so sometimes I just put it in one place and forget that I have already bought one and worst of all it expire because I already forgot it.gustosagiveaways atymaildotcom

  6. You always inspire me to do better! 🙂

  7. Sounds like a great challenge, fresh meals are the best especially in summer when there’s so much great produce.

  8. This is a great idea. Last year, I cleaned out my freezer and was amazed at the booty I found hidden in there! I am starting to buy more pantry items from bulk bins and hope to can some myself this year. But I am a newbie and get a little nervous about it… Thanks for encouraging us to do this – it’s awesome and a great $ saver too.

  9. I love these types of series! I need to get creative and get my pantry and freezer cleaned out a bit. Can’t wait to see your creations.

  10. I have challenged myself to use up every last bit of produce from this year’s garden, so essentially I have taken on this challenge. Looks like I have plenty of company!

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