My Great Grandma Wharton (2nd from the right in our 5 generation photo 1969) would be proud of my efforts. She was a farm woman. She canned everything, raised chickens, cows and the occasional hog. She had fruit trees so we all had canned jams, jelly, preserves…she had a huge garden. She sewed, quilted and did all manner of hand work. Oh…and she pumped water from a hand pump in the screened in porch. Did tons of laundry in a wringer washer for her family of 14! She was a dying breed and old when I was a small child. She inspires me in my accomplishments.
Do your local stores run really good sales? I seldom buy store brands, but we’ve found a few we like better than name brand. Funny as they’re probably produced by the same processing plants!
Do you know what happens when you cross 10 lbs of chicken leg/thigh quarters, a few carrots, celery sticks and spices with a new stock pot?
You have 5 qt containers of dark chicken shreds to use for anything that calls for shredded chicken. As a bonus, you end up with 8-9 pts of chicken stock. When Swanson’s is running a dollar a can, the home canned is definitely a bonus!
In addition, you pull out the pressure cooker/canner and read the manuals on how to can low acid food. All that for $5.00 and some intensive labor, plus I’ve learned how to can another food group. Not a bad deal!
Even better savings: purchase half a steer and fill the freezer. Last time, it averaged about $.59 lb for any cut of beef! It’s almost time for another but we don’t have freezer space. That’s why learning to can what I would normally freeze is so important…and making menus to eat out of the freezer for the next 2 months. Gotta make room! I can tell I’m going to need more pint canning jars.
I cannot make us totally self sufficient, but I’m trying to be better in 2014. We’ll begin planting the gardens soon. Cannot wait for the fresh vegetables. I’m hoping they’ll do better than 2013. The more we can educate ourselves, have time to watch the sales and really work the gardens, the better off we’ll be.
Oh, for those who have asked about my monthly menus…we don’t cook/eat exotic foods. We’re eating meatloaf with fresh green beans, salmon croquettes with country fried potatoes, stuffed bell peppers with rice, fried pork chops with salad. We had Taco salad last night. We enjoy chicken stir fry, all kinds of soups, salads, pulled pork sandwiches, beef burritos, chicken and dumplings. I throw a roast in the slow cooker every couple of weeks and a pot of red beans on the alternate Saturdays. I freeze everything in meal size containers. So as I said, nothing fancy but we eat good. Desserts are a special treat, not the norm. We’re trying to get our diets back on track after the holiday goodies.
Susan ~ Patchkat