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frugality and food storage

 
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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

 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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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1. big garden & bulk purchasing
2. jars
3. dehydrator
4. vacuum sealer (it's evil plastic i know)

 
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Another frugal way to store things like rice and dried beans is to buy gallon size glass iced tea jugs at the end of summer and store dried goods in those.  We pick them up for about a dollar on clearance at the end of summer or at thrift stores.  We buy staples like rice, sorghum and dried beans in bulk and then pour them into the jugs.  They keep critters out and you can see through them.  I also use them for wine making.  The flip top in the lid perfectly fits a bung and airlock.  :)
 
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I don't do many garage sales or thrift stores so I get my bargains mostly at the dollar store or grocery store.  I read the ads and make a list of what is on sale at a good price.  Not all sales items have good prices.

I watch for things on clearance or marked down.  Most of the meat I buy is marked down. Alot of the meat I get are prime cuts for a couple of dollars.
 
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Dan Boone wrote: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?  



I see the same thing on eBay where people price items at more than the new price. Sometimes it is because they don't know what the new price is, but I suspect other times they charge it because they can get it from buyers who don't know what things cost.

We need to borrow some strategies the Amish and Mennonite communities use. For example, the Mennonites in Texas bring in a big truckload of apples from their kin in the NE once a year for processing into juice, jelly, and canned apples for pies.

Fruit can often be bought in bulk locally in good production years. Because the peach crop in Oklahoma failed, an organic farmer pre-sold peaches by the pound and by the case and drove to Colorado several times to pick them up for resale here.

I've often wondered if running an ad on Craigslist or Facebook offering to buy grass-fed and finished meat and poultry, produce, fruit and nuts would work until I get production up high enough to grow most of my own. I haven't tried it, yet.  

Pears that aren't super for eating right off the tree are fantastic canned. Use your slow cooker to make pear butter and can that in the smallest jars (4 oz. or at most 8 oz. because jellies, jams, butters can mold if you don't eat them quickly.).

Use a corer. Then cut pears in eighths lengthwise and pack in light syrup in 16 oz. pint jars. One jar is perfect for snacking or cutting up on a salad. But my favorite use is coffee cake. Remember that old bisquick recipe for coffee cake? Use the syrup liquid as part of the liquid for the batter. Pour it in the pan. Then lay out the sliced pears and push them down into the batter. Top with a mixture of 1/3 flour, 1/3 butter and 1/3 dark brown sugar. Delicious! I am sure going to miss those pears (on the place I moved off of recently).

 
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Anne Miller wrote:I don't do many garage sales or thrift stores so I get my bargains mostly at the dollar store or grocery store.  I read the ads and make a list of what is on sale at a good price.  Not all sales items have good prices.

I watch for things on clearance or marked down.  Most of the meat I buy is marked down. A lot of the meat I get are prime cuts for a couple of dollars.


I know what I call my "buy price" for the things I normally stock, and look for them at retail, discount stores, thrift stores, yard sales, or free stuff. If it's an item I stock, and it's below my buy price, I'll usually get it. Knowing my prices lets me not have to put a lot of work into figuring out what's a good deal. If it's a quart mason jar and it's 50 cents or less, it's probably coming home with me. If it's dry beans and it's 75 cents a pound or less for most types, it's probably coming home. I can scan the grocery store ads fast, I know what I stock, and my price, and that rules out 95% of it right there.

You are SO RIGHT that not all sale items are good prices! There's a nasty little trick some of the grocery stores do where they put a price up for a few weeks, then "discount" it to the normal price. If you know your buy price, you don't buy it at either of those prices, and wait for a real sale, probably at a different store. I keep track of which stores do that in my area, so I know to watch them.

I am a dumpster diver/cheap buyer type, and a lot of my food storage is in glass or plastic jars. I do like the plastic square jars, they are easy to grip to put up on down on the shelf, and are light (my 80 year old mom is not a fan of heavy glass jars.) A bunch of my stock is in glass, gallon jars where I can, smaller where I must. I have certain types of glass jars I like, smooth ones, no hard to keep clean dents in them, with lids that interchange. Like my buy price, I have my jar type list, if I see a nice smooth walled pickle jar, it's probably coming home with me. If I see a loose lid that fits my jar sizes, it comes home too.

A good amount of my deeper storage is in #10 cans (around a gallon,) that I get from the recycle bins (a bunch of weird criteria there too for choosing them,) that I seal metal lids on with tinfoil tape. Those are tough, they don't break, don't take water or bug damage. It's a fairly detailed process to make it work correctly, I can write it up if anyone wants, but when I moved I found one of those that had fallen off the shelf and was not reachable, lentils, that were 12 years old. They were totally fine, I rotated them in and we ate them. Says something good about my process
 
Gail Gardner
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I know what I call my "buy price" for the things I normally stock, and look for them at retail, discount stores, thrift stores, yard sales, or free stuff. If it's an item I stock, and it's below my buy price, I'll usually get it.



Another trick to beware of is assuming that the larger size is cheaper. After years of advertising "save by buying the larger size", now many times the larger size is more per ounce than the smaller size! I've seen this in stores and also online.
 
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Gail Gardner wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:I know what I call my "buy price" for the things I normally stock, and look for them at retail, discount stores, thrift stores, yard sales, or free stuff. If it's an item I stock, and it's below my buy price, I'll usually get it.



Another trick to beware of is assuming that the larger size is cheaper. After years of advertising "save by buying the larger size", now many times the larger size is more per ounce than the smaller size! I've seen this in stores and also online.



Yes -- I check the per unit prices if it's on the store tags, and if that doesn't work, I do the calculations in my head (need to go back to carrying a calculator in my purse -- those of you with smart phones have one already with you).

Kathleen
 
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

Gail Gardner wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:I know what I call my "buy price" for the things I normally stock, and look for them at retail, discount stores, thrift stores, yard sales, or free stuff. If it's an item I stock, and it's below my buy price, I'll usually get it.



Another trick to beware of is assuming that the larger size is cheaper. After years of advertising "save by buying the larger size", now many times the larger size is more per ounce than the smaller size! I've seen this in stores and also online.



Yes -- I check the per unit prices if it's on the store tags, and if that doesn't work, I do the calculations in my head (need to go back to carrying a calculator in my purse -- those of you with smart phones have one already with you).

Kathleen



Yup. The calculator on my phone is a busy thing. I was glad to get the calculator I have carried for years out of my purse

My buy prices are by actual unit size/weight/volume not by package. I don't buy cereal, but have you seen what the commercial cereals have done the last few years? I use them as an example of the box staying the same but the weight changing. And the price going up on that box as the weight goes down. It's a great example for people who are just starting to notice things.
 
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Years ago, my family and I lived in a place where I purchased staples yearly, and they were barged in.  Other than that, we ate what we grew, raised, or hunted.  It's the mother-of-all-shopping lists, but then you're done with that!  Now I still do this, but living a bit less isolated, I replace as things run out rather than all at one go.  I always have at least a year's worth of food on hand or on the hoof, so to speak.  

Two things I've learned over the years are to just grow or store what you will eat, and to use what you have stored or grown and not be buying fancy treats all the time.  It seems obvious, but if you don't like beets, for example, don't bother raising them, and certainly don't bother preserving them.   It took me a while to work through this, though.  It's really critical to align your diet and your food storage so they match up.  Over the years I have refined my list, and my cooking/eating so I don't waste time and money on things I "should" eat.  There are so many choices, even within your food growing area, it's not a nutritional nor a moral problem to decide you just don't really care for lima beans.  There are other things you can grow or buy that will fill the same niche.  

I also eat in season as much as possible, and eat almost nothing that wouldn't actually grow where I live, though I might not personally grow it, for whatever reasons.  This is a philosophical decision, but also turns out to be very economical.  I usually eat things that were raised on the island where I live--the three mile diet I like to call it.  Saves on transport costs!  I have developed a standard pantry staples inventory, and I cook from that plus whatever I have fresh or seasonally stored.  If you get your basic list right, you can make everything you like to eat, whenever you want to, except you can't eat fresh strawberries in the dead of winter, of course.  This system works great for me, and I am always tweaking it around, too, mind.  I love to cook and experiment, so I have anything but a boring diet.  What I do have is a comprehensive stock of basic ingredients suitable for my tastes and climate, and from there, I can go wild!  

Glass is great storage, of course, and I use gallon or half gallon stores to stock the kitchen supplies of things.  For bulk, I like lard tins, which are rat and insect proof and last forever if you keep them dry and don't store salty things in them.  Food grade plastic buckets with those lids you can get that screw on are good too, though I don't like to get more plastic in my life.  I abhor packaging, so I buy in bulk, and hardly get anything in cans or bottles unless it's essential and I can't work around it.  (There is no "away" where I live--if you make non-compostable or burnable trash, you have to figure out what to do with it, as you can't just throw it away to become someone else's problem.) Canning is great, freezing is good too (I have great solar, even in the Pacific Northwest, so freezers are an efficient tool here).  Salting and drying meat is good, and economical in storage space.  A root cellar or two is helpful, though it's possible to do without.  Store grains whole and grind as needed, whole grain keeps better.

Another thing I do that helps keep food moving through in a timely way is to keep an inventory, with dates, so I know what I have and how old it is.  You have to rotate stock, or things go bad.  I think it's pretty cool to have the food situations under control at all times, and I like knowing the quantity of food I need for a year, and best of all is to know exactly where it came from and ate before I ate it.  I've grown to feel a little weird about eating food that is from somewhere else, over the years, rather than the other way around.  

How to start?  One staple at a time, and seasonal food as it comes to you.  What do you eat, on a regular basis?  Next time, buy fifty pounds of rice instead of 5.  Keep a list, build up gradually.  Don't go shopping daily, if that's an option where you are.  Shop weekly, then at bigger intervals.  You'll soon see what your patterns are, and you can go from there.  If you list what you like to eat you'll see what the typical ingredients are, and you can start to build a stock of those in bulk.  Cook from what you have, rather than going put to get what you need to cook a certain recipe you saw on Facebook.  Learn the subtle art of substituting things in recipes.  It's a cliche where I live that at some point, you will inevitably find you've substituted every ingredient in the recipe, and thus have an entirely new food!  It's far from boring, which is what people seem to think working from a set food stock would be.  

 
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I have long ago avoided the low calorie thinking. The more calories, probably the more value for your money.  Imagine 2 products of the same price, but one has much less calories, has more fiber or water or other "filling" ingredients to make look more voluminous etc. It's actually a waste of transport, work, and ...  money.

Sure, I enjoy herbs, greens, roots etc, but I have also learned to think: how much satisfying and healthy calories can I get out of a certain amount of money/work?  It's a fine balance, and experience helps.
Hunters/gatherers had to deal with this kind of problem: for instance, digging hard for roots that would totally exhaust you, but then barely nourish you, would burn more calories than they would give.
 
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The discussion of how many jars of food does it take to feed you over winter got me to thinking of the weight and how sturdy the shelves and floors need to be...  Also looking for suggestions in how to squirrel away food in a very small place.

Speaking of which, also scoping out even big things like tractors, trucks, and tools can benefit from knowing what they cost new, new deals, and used.  Tractors keep their value well enough that I am seriously thinking of getting a new one because you only save maybe $1000/100hrs of tractor use, so lets say that a new tractor of the size I am looking at is $50K, and it 20 years old and has 500hrs on it.  The $5000 I would save at the auction does not compare well with a 0% to 2% manufacturer's loan for 60 to 80mo, when it also comes with a warranty and I know what maintenance has been done to it...  All that said I would love to find a Kubota TLB with a blown engine, or burned, for an EV conversion with the STEM kids I mentor.  If you know of one let me know ;-)

Some time I need to come up with a estimating function which amortizes these things, but it has been 30+ years since I took the engineering stats classes that introduced me to those ideas.
 
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I am going to date myself, but my first job as a stock boy in a grocery store taught me a great deal.  This was especially so when green beans that were normally 17 cents a can were put in big display the sold out in one day at 5 for a dollar.
 
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Neighbors were having a estate sale prior to moving. I spotted a whole shelf and several boxes of jars in the garage. I asked the woman running the sale the price if I bought everything. $20! Out of that we had 6 flats of pints, 5 flats quarts and two boxes of various. 5 were the old style glass gallon pickle jars. Turn some oak caps for them on the lathe to cover the metal lids and its instant cookie jars.

Sadly salvation army stores used to be a good source for used canning jars. They still come up with them from time to time but they have become wise to their value. Most around here are asking $1 a jar with no rings or lids, near retail. Told one clerk, "50c a jar is my top dollar price". They stayed on the shelf.

What you eat can have an impact on how much you can. Over time we have drifted to stable foods that require little in way of preservation in winter -- winter squashes, certain pumpkin types, irish and sweet potatoes. As fall comes on our canning  tends to shift to meats rather than vegetables. That helps us keep the jar count down, but alas we are no where near 1500.

 
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It was a bit of a fight here but I gradually got the woman to accept getting rid of pretty much all of our 1/2 gallon jars. Two people just don't need to open a 1/2 gallon of something. Even a quart is too much for two people with something like green beans so I'm now chipping away at that too. She was raised in a big family as was I but all we need now is pints and even 1/2 pints. When company calls we can just open however many are needed instead of always having too much for just us. Jars are still easy to find cheap or even sometimes free at yard sales and the like around here. Getting rid of unwanted ones, without just throwing them away is the hard part.

It also helps, I think if the lids are all the same size so have been replacing all of the wide mouth jars. My grandmother sometimes canned corn on the cob, chicken and beef and the wide mouth is better for that but we don't do that.

 
Anne Miller
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Since this is in the Frugal Forum, I would suggest looking for the best deals every time when out shopping.

To me, one of the best financial strategies is stocking up on food that your family will eat.

I have read at several places that there are going to be food shortages among some other items.

Each source sites a different reason which probably all stems from a similar source.

A lot of the forum members may not be affected because they are growing, canning, and raising their own food.

Since I have done food storage for years I feel I will not be affected.

Here are some of the items I have read that will have shortages:

Canned goods, turkey, chicken, etc.

Now is a good time to stock up, if you can.

The easiest way is to buy a few extra items each time when shopping.



 
john mcginnis
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Mark Reed wrote:It was a bit of a fight here but I gradually got the woman to accept getting rid of pretty much all of our 1/2 gallon jars. Two people just don't need to open a 1/2 gallon of something. Even a quart is too much for two people with something like green beans so I'm now chipping away at that too. ... snip



I can relate to the "what do you do with a half gallon of XXXX". We were gifted with a box of 4 from a friend and scratched out heads as to what we would use for that quantity. Finally came up with one -- we store our dehydrated goods -- onions, peppers, carrots, bananas, apples and the like in them.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Mark Reed wrote:It was a bit of a fight here but I gradually got the woman to accept getting rid of pretty much all of our 1/2 gallon jars. Two people just don't need to open a 1/2 gallon of something. Even a quart is too much for two people with something like green beans so I'm now chipping away at that too. She was raised in a big family as was I but all we need now is pints and even 1/2 pints. When company calls we can just open however many are needed instead of always having too much for just us. Jars are still easy to find cheap or even sometimes free at yard sales and the like around here. Getting rid of unwanted ones, without just throwing them away is the hard part.

It also helps, I think if the lids are all the same size so have been replacing all of the wide mouth jars. My grandmother sometimes canned corn on the cob, chicken and beef and the wide mouth is better for that but we don't do that.



That's a shame that you got rid of your half gallon jars!  They can be used for much more than canning -- dry food storage that is safe from mice is a top priority for me right now.  I keep traps out, and sticky traps, but still have problems with mice at this time of year. Thankfully, I have an empty small freezer (empty of frozen things, that is), but have it just about full of things like cornmeal, rice, and dry beans.  I've got several gallon jars that I keep out on the shelves to use out of.  I'm adding to those as I find more jars, or picking up things like the big Christmas tins that come full of different flavors of popcorn.  Anything that the rodents can't get into.

And I keep all of my wide-mouth jars and -- if I'm getting rid of any jars at all -- get rid of the regular mouth ones because I can get my hands inside the wide-mouths to wash them.  I have to use a bottle brush or something to wash inside most of the regular-mouth jars.
 
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We buy local honey in half gallon jars. I was going to return the empty ones to the apiary but now will keep them. So many uses here discussed.

My problem with canning jars is that I tend to give away jams, pickles, etc. to neighbors, the kindly vet, family, people who are fond of some special thing like spiced beets. Some people will return the jars but many don't. So I end up buying more every season, especially the half pints.  (The above mentioned kindly vet sometimes gets me a box of a dozen new ones. What does he do with the used ones, I wonder.). Long and short, I don't mind having to replace the ones I enjoyed sharing.
 
Mark Reed
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Yes! I forgot about other uses for the 1/2 gallons, we do use them for dry things and some of them are wide mouth. However, I bet we easily had fifty or more of them with no real use, I'm glad to have some storage space freed up.  

I also have become fond of those two liter pop bottles for some dry things and they are free from many sources. They are light weight, don't break and seem to seal very well. You have to use a funnel to fil them but most dry beans, corn, store bought rice and many other thigs store very nicely in them. Smaller sized ones work for seeds, dried herbs and lots of things.
 
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Walmart was out of jar in 2019, so we went to another Walmart, they had stacks of them so DW stocked up on them & we have jar we still have not used.
She gives the little 3 inch jars of jelly/jam as gifts.
 
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I have one tip for the person who asked about storage in a small space: we're mostly talking about jars, which are pretty much invariably round, but that wastes a lot of space on a shelf. Square containers can use all the space. I use some of the containers WalMart sells peanuts in. You could stack these two deep, too. But I mostly use jars as my space isn't that tight.
I also argue that nobody needs 1500 canning jars. My freezer space is limited and I don't use the dehydrator much as it takes a lot of power (we're off-grid), so I do a fair amount of canning, and I probably don't have more than 200 or so. The thing that takes the most is tomato sauce--two of us use about 50 quarts a year...we like spaghetti sauce, and use about 2 1/2 jars per batch, filling a Dutch oven. I run my tomatoes through a strainer, so they are all liquid, no peels or seeds, then cook them down to half volume before canning. We use quarts for a lot of other things too--meat, soup, applesauce, some fruit and some pickles...I might use pints more if I weren't always running low on them, in part because, like others here, I often give away salsa or maple syrup and people mostly don't think to return the jar. Some things like syrups, jam and pickles may take months to use up but will keep that long in the fridge. Using more than one pint or half pint jar means wasting lids, in my view, BUT--because of the shortage of lids I investigated and found a source of REUSABLE lids, Steig Tattler. It's a hard white plastic disk with a ditch around the rim on one side, and a rubber ring that fits in the ditch. You use the same rings as non-reusable metal lids. They have a slightly higher sealing failure rate, but since the lids wiil last a lifetime and the rings for ten years, I think it's worth it.
 
john mcginnis
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Maybe the collective wisdom can help me find a source.

Back in my youth 50's & 60's we had a thing called a 'jelly glass'. It was an 8-10oz glass, has whatever jelly or jam in it and a 1 use lid. I have looked around the 'Net from time to time for a supplier to no avail. Dear Mom like it since we had another glass for me to use. If I broke it, no loss. Does anyone know a source or if they are even made any more?

Not looking to relive my tender years. But if they were cheap enough I would buy them to give as gifts or as items for food banks. When I make jam/jelly I always seem to end up with extra that could fill up a glass or two.
 
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Hi John.  Many people still drop them off here for us to use.  We are known for canning, maple syrup, and sorghum, so they come in handy.  At any given time we have between 750-1000 full ones.  Not because of the times we are in, but because we have always been this way.  Three jars of food a day, we go through them quickly. They are not as common as they once were.  My wife get flats of them at auctions and they usually are full of nails and screws.  Our local flee market almost always have some.  Put the word out and many people seem to want to give them to you.  We also find high quality jars for pennies at yard sales.
 
Mary Cook
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I have two kinds of half-pint canning jars, The ones with straight sides and narrower than quart size, are what you describe I believe. The others are shorter, wider, and usually square. That is, I assume you mean canning jars with a properly sized rim and not just a small jar that could store something in the firdge.
 
Anne Miller
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john mcginnis wrote:Maybe the collective wisdom can help me find a source.

Back in my youth 50's & 60's we had a thing called a 'jelly glass'. It was an 8-10oz glass, has whatever jelly or jam in it and a 1 use lid. I have looked around the 'Net from time to time for a supplier to no avail. Dear Mom like it since we had another glass for me to use. If I broke it, no loss. Does anyone know a source or if they are even made any more?

Not looking to relive my tender years. But if they were cheap enough I would buy them to give as gifts or as items for food banks. When I make jam/jelly I always seem to end up with extra that could fill up a glass or two.



John, I remember those jars as I used to give them away as gag gifts.  You know, drinking from a canning jar.

They still have them though they now have a screw-on lid making them to be used with regular lids.



Amazon link to Ball Quilted 8oz Jars



Amazon link to Ball Elite Collection Embossed Jam Jar 8oz

 
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For years my husband thought I had too many canning jars.   He would tease me about being able to start my own store selling them.   I had a couple hundred jars at this point.  Little did he know that wouldn't be anywhere close to enough once our permaculture garden matured enough to start producing insane amounts of food.  

I had been slowly collecting them when I learned to can when we lived in the city.  I would buy them on clearance, at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and Craigslist.  I have friends and family that keep an eye out for jars free or cheap canning jars for me. This has gotten me quite a few jars for little or no money!

I also encourage people I gift canned goods to return the jars so I can give them more food in the future.  

Lids were purchased in large quantities when discounted at the end of the season.  I miss the days of sales, clearance, and coupon on canning supplies.   Having a good stash of canning lids purchased a few years ago saved me last year!   I save my good condition, once canned lids to use on jars that hold dried goods or things that are frozen like pesto.  I have been doing  a lot more dehydrating of veggies and herbs this year so I am reusing a lot of lids.  I picked up some Tattler lids this year

Now that we have been in our current home for 8 years and the permaculture garden is bearing lots of fruits, veggies, herbs, some mushrooms and some nuts we had to buy more jars and lids this year.  I tacked a case or 2 and a couple boxes of lids on to each order of random stuff I was having shipped to my house last winter and early spring.  It was a good way to slowly add to canning supplies, get free shipping, and not wipe out a store in one shot to cover my canning needs.  

We added a green house to the property this year.  On the list of projects for the green house is to design and build a drying rack on pullies that can hang out in the peak of the green house.  
 
john mcginnis
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Maybe the collective wisdom can help me find a source.

Back in my youth 50's & 60's we had a thing called a 'jelly glass'. It was an 8-10oz glass, has whatever jelly or jam in it and a 1 use lid. I have looked around the 'Net from time to time for a supplier to no avail. Dear Mom like it since we had another glass for me to use. If I broke it, no loss. Does anyone know a source or if they are even made any more?

Anne,

Not quite, but close. Here is an example --

image
 
Kate Muller
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I don't think they are made anymore here in the US.  I would check thrift stores, antique shops, estate sales, and check with older friends and family that are looking to downsize.   My mother in law  still has a few of the smaller straight sided ones but I know she is keeping them.
 
Anne Miller
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john mcginnis wrote:

Anne,

Not quite, but close. Here is an example --



Now I understand giveaway glasses that products came in.

My grandmother had  "Juice" glasses that cheese spread came in.

If you want glasses like that you might have to shop at estate sales, antique stores, and/or thrift stores.

They are now considered antiques and also there might be some on Etsy.

If you just want a similar glass made of glass, here is something similar:



Crate and Barrel link for Otis Glasses
 
john mcginnis
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Thanks all for the replies. Shame they don't make them anymore. A reusable product after first use.
 
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john mcginnis wrote:Maybe the collective wisdom can help me find a source.

Back in my youth 50's & 60's we had a thing called a 'jelly glass'. It was an 8-10oz glass, has whatever jelly or jam in it and a 1 use lid. I have looked around the 'Net from time to time for a supplier to no avail. Dear Mom like it since we had another glass for me to use. If I broke it, no loss. Does anyone know a source or if they are even made any more?

Anne,

Not quite, but close. Here is an example --

image



You are looking for "quilted" canning jars.  A quick search shows them readily available on amazon in 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 12 oz jars.  Don't see the 16's but they used to be available too.  The other major market for these is freezer storage.  Because they are straight sided tapered clear to the top they can be frozen without breaking with freezer jam and some kinds of fruit freezes.  They are also good for certain meat canning as stuff is easier to get out of them cleanly
 
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