I cannot stress enough my belief in the importance of fresh ingredients! Not only does it add to the taste and beauty of a dish, but if cooked properly, it adds greatly to the nutritional benefit as well.
Grow a little herb garden in the summer and bring it indoors for the winter, or learn how to dry the herbs and save them for the winter. It is a fun process and can be a fun activity for kids and adults alike. Seasonings for foods, and herbs and spices for teas can be preserved and used whenever you like and can save a bundle when faced with the grocery store.
Can or freeze veggies and fruits in the summer and fall months to allow for easy and nutritious meals in the winter! This will not only allow you to eat and feed friends and family with food that you know is good, but will allow you to support your farmers markets and groceries by purchasing produce that is in season and prevent purchasing out of season produce which is more likely to be loaded with pesticides and much older than 'fresh produce' stickers lead us to believe.
I will post instructions explaining the drying process for herbs and spices, along with a list of good ones ( the staples so to speak ) soon. As well as instructions for canning and my family's recipe for "Goop-it". A 'tomato based / garden leftover/ this is going to go bad before I can use it' recipe that I grew up on. It can be used for soup or the base for a lot of wonderful dishes!
A good resource to elaborate on this and more is to go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation and learn how to can or dry or freeze anything you can imagine! Here is their link: