If you’re like me, you like to enjoy seasonal goodies during the summer. Homemade cobblers, fresh sorbets, crisp salads and grilled veggies all make our list of warm-weather faves. Tired of paying top dollar for fresh produce? Check your back yard for these freebies!


Those who live rurally may be lucky enough to have access to several patches of rhubarb in their back yard or the yard of a family member who has more than he or she knows what to do with. And there’s no doubt about it. Summer is the season for rhubarb recipes. Whether you’re going for pie, cobbler or even rhubarb wine, you’ll be able to cook to your heart’s content with even a mid-sized patch of this back yard produce item. Urbanites will likely need to purchase theirs at the farmer’s market, but it can still be a great seasonal value.

Crab Apples

If you’re trying to buy organic food on a budget, you have to admit. It’s pretty hard to beat free in the price department. If you have access to a crab apple tree, then you have a way to make multiple quarts of apple sauce and jelly to use throughout the rest of the year as a fat substitute for baking, to enjoy with baked scones and more. You can even use it to flavor homemade liquors. Collecting them off the ground and tree is a project you can easily turn the older kids loose on when you need a way for them to burn off steam and still feel like they’re being required to help around the house.


These things literally grow like the weeds they are. The good news? Dandelions represent a great source of free food during the summer months. The greens represent one of the more easily-accessed cheap weight loss foods at your disposal certainly, but even the flowers can be used at meal time. Here’s one recipe that uses fresh dandelion flowers to make an alternative to breaded mushrooms. Other options with this plant include dandelion wine, sautéed greens and even a salad ingredient.


Berries are a flexible item that you can enjoy wild, or even plant for perennial access that saves you the stress of spring gardening. You can use them in summer cocktails, as an ingredient in homemade salad dressing, as an ingredient in homemade ice cream and even to add antioxidants to your morning breakfast smoothies. They’re also great to freeze and use in baked goods and bowls of hot oat meal throughout the year.

Produce doesn’t have to come from the grocery story or a high-maintenance garden. You may find more than you think growing in your own back yard!

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.