Utah State University's Eat it, Grow it, Store it series gives low-cost classes on different ways to manage your own produce. The next class is covering apricots and peaches on July 26th.

Classes are held at the Salt Lake County Government Center, South Building. $5 per class. Call 801-468-3179 or click here to sign up.

I have always loved working in the garden. It's miraculous how something as small as a seed can grow into something delicious and nourishing. Ironically, I hate most vegetables, but find that if they come from my own yard I can usually make an exception. However, apricots have always been one food that I have had a hard time stomaching—whether it came from my own tree or not. One year we were overflowing with apricots and had no idea what to do with them all. We began thumbing through new recipes that called for apricots and even plopping them into dishes we thought might taste decent with this extra little ingredient. Even after eating them with every meal and giving some away, we still had too many to manage. I finally decided to puree some of the apricots and baked them in the sun on wax paper to make a sort of fruit leather. Whamo. That is when I miraculously decided that apricots weren't so bad. After experimenting around with all those different dishes, I finally found something that worked for me.

A class like the Eat it series would have been useful though when I had this surplus.

Growing your own produce can be fun, but it takes knowledge and wise planning. Some plants do not grow as well in certain climates and soils, so it's helpful to have classes on different vegetables that work well for your environment. And for the times you are very successful with your crops, it's good to have a few pointers on ways you can prepare these foods so you can make the most of your produce. Gardening is very rewarding when you play it smart and learn how to extend the life of your harvest, especially into those winter months.