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frugality and food storage  RSS feed

 
Deb Rebel
garden master
Posts: 1465
Location: Zone 6b
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The rummage sale last weekend, they had mostly Mason and some Kerr jars, pints and quarts. Modern, and $2 each ($24/Doz). No rings, no lids. Downtown you can get brand new for $1.30-1.50 with lids and rings. They didn't sell so they tossed them. I dived my own dumpster for 15 dozen plus three jars. 9 doz regular pint, 3 doz widemouth pint, 2 doz regular quart, 1 doz widemouth, and three extra quart regular. There were two busted quarts that I got around. Plus a bunch of sheer curtains and four old sheets. I need bloom and seedhead bags so totally a winning dive!
Staff note (r ranson):

This conversation was inspired and split off from https://permies.com/t/56235/Spending-save-money

 
Dan Boone
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Deb Rebel wrote:The rummage sale last weekend, they had mostly Mason and some Kerr jars, pints and quarts. Modern, and $2 each ($24/Doz). No rings, no lids. Downtown you can get brand new for $1.30-1.50 with lids and rings.


Don't you hate it when the yard sale, rummage sale, or thrift store people want more for their pre-owned stuff than it costs to buy the very same stuff brand new? Do these people not have Google?

Very nice dumpster dive though!
 
Deb Rebel
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Dan Boone wrote:
Deb Rebel wrote:The rummage sale last weekend, they had mostly Mason and some Kerr jars, pints and quarts. Modern, and $2 each ($24/Doz). No rings, no lids. Downtown you can get brand new for $1.30-1.50 with lids and rings.


Don't you hate it when the yard sale, rummage sale, or thrift store people want more for their pre-owned stuff than it costs to buy the very same stuff brand new? Do these people not have Google?

Very nice dumpster dive though!


Yeah was worth the climb in and fish'em out. If they'd done $6 a doz, that is what the thrift store marks preowned non-vintage no-lid no-ring and they would have sold. They had a few things that were majorly 'precious' and other things that were bargains. Dunno.

The priceless moment was when my better half asked how many jars I think I need, and I said 'oh, fifteen hundred'... At four jars a day that's a years worth of food. There's two of us so that would cover feeding us every day (some would be pints, some quarts). He is still trying to wrap his mind around that. As I fill them up this year, it should sink in. Plus fresh plus dried plus frozen.
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Deb Rebel wrote: and I said 'oh, fifteen hundred'... At four jars a day that's a years worth of food. There's two of us so that would cover feeding us every day (some would be pints, some quarts). He is still trying to wrap his mind around that. As I fill them up this year, it should sink in. Plus fresh plus dried plus frozen.


Holy cow, I never looked at it like that...I need lots more jars.
 
Deb Rebel
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Todd Parr wrote:
Deb Rebel wrote: and I said 'oh, fifteen hundred'... At four jars a day that's a years worth of food. There's two of us so that would cover feeding us every day (some would be pints, some quarts). He is still trying to wrap his mind around that. As I fill them up this year, it should sink in. Plus fresh plus dried plus frozen.


Holy cow, I never looked at it like that...I need lots more jars.


My mother, her sister, a few other cousins, and my grandmother all believed you couldn't have too many jars. You would have shelf after shelf built in the cellar and load them with the produce as the season went on, then would be emptying them all winter. Think of standing over an old fashioned squareish wood stove, at 110F in August, and canning, with at least two or three big pots going on the stove (one or two bath canners and a blanching pot). Even after the days of gas or electric, that is still daunting. My whole extended family, all us kids (especially the girls but the boys too) learned to pick and cut veggies up from a young age. You'd have to have the assembly line going to get the food put up...

Try measuring out, with measuring cups, everything every person in your house eats, per day. The amount of food will surprise you. if you eat just three meals a day and eat 1500-2000 calories (and not all empty sugar calories) it will add up. If you are truly trying to feed your family from your garden, it will be a lot. If you fill two pints for every day of the year that is 730 jars, or 61 dozen. I figure at peak I will fill about 1500 with veggies, fruits, pickles, and cooked foods (stew base, etc) in the course of a year to be used up. I am not near that yet. Plus every year you have a few go sideways that you don't dare open, just discard; or they chip or crack or get broken. So. I am still building my collection. And yes, during food production season the on-table needs will be partially filled by fresh-to-table harvesting and cooking. Still for a good well rounded all year supply, figure that two pints or one quart per day. I will probably put up mostly pints.... some things like pickles are better done in quarts. I prefer the widemouth as they are easier to pack, get into, and clean.
 
Todd Parr
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Deb Rebel wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:
Deb Rebel wrote: and I said 'oh, fifteen hundred'... At four jars a day that's a years worth of food. There's two of us so that would cover feeding us every day (some would be pints, some quarts). He is still trying to wrap his mind around that. As I fill them up this year, it should sink in. Plus fresh plus dried plus frozen.


Holy cow, I never looked at it like that...I need lots more jars.


My mother, her sister, a few other cousins, and my grandmother all believed you couldn't have too many jars. You would have shelf after shelf built in the cellar and load them with the produce as the season went on, then would be emptying them all winter. Think of standing over an old fashioned squareish wood stove, at 110F in August, and canning, with at least two or three big pots going on the stove (one or two bath canners and a blanching pot). Even after the days of gas or electric, that is still daunting. My whole extended family, all us kids (especially the girls but the boys too) learned to pick and cut veggies up from a young age. You'd have to have the assembly line going to get the food put up...

Try measuring out, with measuring cups, everything every person in your house eats, per day. The amount of food will surprise you. if you eat just three meals a day and eat 1500-2000 calories (and not all empty sugar calories) it will add up. If you are truly trying to feed your family from your garden, it will be a lot. If you fill two pints for every day of the year that is 730 jars, or 61 dozen. I figure at peak I will fill about 1500 with veggies, fruits, pickles, and cooked foods (stew base, etc) in the course of a year to be used up. I am not near that yet. Plus every year you have a few go sideways that you don't dare open, just discard; or they chip or crack or get broken. So. I am still building my collection. And yes, during food production season the on-table needs will be partially filled by fresh-to-table harvesting and cooking. Still for a good well rounded all year supply, figure that two pints or one quart per day. I will probably put up mostly pints.... some things like pickles are better done in quarts. I prefer the widemouth as they are easier to pack, get into, and clean.


And I'm in zone 4b, so add a couple of months storage (or subtract growing months) from your climate. I'm just learning canning and all that goes with it. So far I've only canned venison. The amount of space it will take to store everything I can, on top of a couple hundred pounds each of squash and potatoes, is pretty daunting. I do find it very reassuring to walk into the basement and see shelves of food and 50 lb. bags of rice ready and waiting.
 
Deb Rebel
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Todd Parr wrote:And I'm in zone 4b, so add a couple of months storage (or subtract growing months) from your climate. I'm just learning canning and all that goes with it. So far I've only canned venison. The amount of space it will take to store everything I can, on top of a couple hundred pounds each of squash and potatoes, is pretty daunting. I do find it very reassuring to walk into the basement and see shelves of food and 50 lb. bags of rice ready and waiting.


I grew up in 2b and now live in 6b and can crop about 9 months if I try some (two cold season, one hot season, and overlapping through the middle, long season). If I want to save food for offseason so I have it year around, I figure I will end up at that level of storage. You can probably squeeze 1 to 2 months more out of your season with use of coldframes and berms, at least for cool season fresh crops.

It is daunting to have true storage for a year, plus for me, the storage for low use but necessary cooking implements (such as my largest stockpots, frypans, canners, cake/casserole pans, etc). I still say though, when you are adding stuff to your cooking collection, go for the quality and you will appreciate it later. If you can afford it get a pressure canner-it makes canning tomatoes and the like a lot easier and less likely to have issues (some tomato varieties are low acid and can have issues). Invest in a good grinder and a good processor (mine has a sieve sleeve and pulps tomatoes like nobody's business and sends the seeds elsewhere). Go for stainless everywhere you can on your cooking accessories, even strainers/colanders. Buy good quality knives, learn how to hone them and how to sharpen them. cast iron will wear forever after it's properly seasoned up and nothing beats it for frying.

Recontainerize the rice, it gets the little bugs/moths, and just bagged, it can draw other vermin. Also by breaking it down into smaller than 50#, if you have an infestation you can see it and it might not be in all of it. Otherwise freeze treat it for one week at 0F before putting it into storage containers. In that I use either food grade plastic with gamma lids or glass gallon jars with good lids. For use in the kitchen nearby pantry or cupboard, the glass is preferable. I am turning over eventually to all glass instead of the plastic. I suddenly had to change what I stock and add more bulk stuff forced the arrival of the pails. I will later use the pails for other duties, just pop the gamma lids off. So not just quality, multi-use and reuseability can also factor into what you buy. To me that can make a quality purchase as well.
 
C. Letellier
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Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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A comment on long term storage of grains for human food. Ideally they are stored in a mouse and rat proof container. That means metal or glass as rats will chew through the sides of 5 gallon plastic buckets. Wood and plastic will not stop them. So some cheap answers. 15 gallon metal barrels cleaned up for storage use, metal buckets with lids, christmas metal flavored popcorn cans, old metal bread boxes and old metal storage boxes, file cabinets with good fitting drawers and the bottom welded shut if needed, old meat locker cabinets, some old school lockers with tight fitting doors are some of the possible metal containers to keep rodents out. Remember that anywhere the mouse can put its head it can find a way for its body to follow. So any gaps need to be small.(on the order of 1/8" inch. Now the one other trick we used successfully for about a decade was a table with super smooth plated metal legs out in the middle of a room. The only time we ever had trouble with it we figured out someone had left the broom leaning against the table for a week or so providing a ladder up to it. The other part of rodent solution is predators both human and animal. Continuous trapping/baiting inside and 2 to 3 cats outside reduces the problem.

For insect control grains need to be in a sealed container that was frozen to kill the bugs that might already be in it. Plastic bags won't work here as bugs may tunnel through them. But you can make them work by adding bay leaves inside and out. Bay leaves won't cause bugs to leave grain products but they will often keep them from getting in. If you put leaves both inside with the grain and outside but in the outer container. Multiple layers of sack with bay leaves between the layers may help here. Be aware the bay leaves need to be replaced about once a decade to reliably keep pests away. Sealed containers with oxygen removed extend shelf life somewhat but can reduce germination. Heavy duty sealed plastic containers like plastic buckets and plastic jars work great here for this purpose.

For mold control in sealed containers be sure the grains are dry enough before being stored. If they are not dry then dry them slowly as fast drying can cause kernel splits. Steady storage temperatures are also best here as rapidly heating and cooling cycles in stored containers can cause trouble too as moisture is driven out and makes temporary wet spots in condensation.

Year's supply is one in this category certainly. If foods you buy are on a really great special but once a year and you catch it and buy enough for your next year, you spend more at the time but less over all. Done with care you can reduce your spending on food by nearly 50% or more. You also reduce "emergency" trips to the store for stuff which saves you money and time. The cost is some time in dating stuff and the cost of shelves and the space for storage. But once you get used to having it in your life you will not feel those costs and the savings will more than pay for it.

Now for the rest of this discussion. On pens I agree that the main pen(s) in your life should be quality. My reasoning is a bit different in that cheap pens leak and make messes which adds a hidden cost to carrying them. If they ruin one quality piece of clothing or purse or briefcase a decade you can easily pay for their expense. I will second the recommendation for Fisher space pens. I have run them for 30 years as my main pen. One secret to keeping a good pen is on the occasions when you are doing meetings where people will ask to borrow a pen take a cheapy throw away. Seminars and other one time classes are a common place. Things where signing up for stuff is common is another. Now I also believe in seeding pens around. I know as a business I have pens disappear regularly so those should be cheap.

Now the tools discussion I fall middle of the road. There is a place high quality tools and there is a place for cheap tools that are "good enough" At times having the right tool for the job or having the tool close at hand for the job is more important than quality. I have a few tools that are handed down from a great grandfather that are still in use. By the year that tool didn't cost much. There are places for the best tools you can afford to buy. But there is also a place for seed tools. A cheap hammer is still mostly a hammer. Every vehicle and tractor should have one. They will get lost and stolen so you don't want much in them. Even with the occasional handle failure of cheaper tools having them at hand always has a time saving value. Cheap tools cost you time and money at times. But having more of them or having the right tool for the job instead of making do because you can't afford the good tool also has value. Say I do a particular job 3 times a decade. The high quality tool to buy is $1000. I can get the cheap tool for say $150. Say it will fail on average in 6 jobs. That means I get 2 decades out of the tool. The time saved by having the correct tool for the job will pay for the $150 tool but won't justify the $1000 tool.





 
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