Last Saturday, I just quickly jotted some ideas down about food storage. Yesterday I sat down with those ideas and really made it specific as to what I want to begin working on in the kitchen for our Fall and early Winter food storage. In January, I will do this again for the Winter and early Spring. I know this is what I need to be doing right now. It's not just a feeling (although I have that too), it's something within me with the changing of the seasons that just seems natural.
I know this because for the past week - as much as I love to craft and sew - I go down to my "studio" space and have little desire. The pull to the kitchen is strong right now and I really need to go with that. But in order to be efficient, I also knew that I needed to take the time to actually sit down and think things through. I needed to be specific in my kitchen time.
When first beginning to try making food for food storage, I just randomly picked things that sounded good but ended up throwing them away because we just weren't using them up in time and that is wasteful and I didn't want to go through that again. So, in being specific, I needed to take out the notebooks and recipes that we really do use on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and go from there.
The other day I posted about the modern conveniences that we have in our home to make food storage easy so I just went with that but expanded it a bit. Because of these conveniences, none of these things will take long except for the prep work and I'm willing to do that! I really wish that I would have spent some time in the Spring to do this as it would have come in handy for the Summer months. There have been several times when we were working outside and didn't feel like stopping to cook that my husband just went out and grabbed some fast-food instead. That made me uncomfortable. First fast-food is not good for us AND it's expensive. And I'd rather that be an exception, not the rule. So, looking back, I should have had freezer meals available that I could have taken out in the morning and by mealtime they would have been thawed and only needed to be heated up. ALWAYS LEARNING!!!!!! 😊
Here is a glimpse at my notes from yesterday and what I'll be working on today (not all of these, of course, but will pick and choose according to what I have on hand right now):
I know I've shared some of these already, so I hope you're patient with me! 😏
*The bread machine: I think having bread on hand is good hospitality. There is something about breaking bread together that is satisfying and cozy and homey. I just make the bread dough and freeze it because baking bread in your home screams comfort! So, things like our Raisin bread dough, regular bread dough, pizza dough, and there are a myriad of bread dough recipes to choose from. We have our favorites, I know you have yours. If you don't have a bread machine, I encourage you to make your own dough by hand. I know a lot of people have gluten sensitivities nowadays but there are recipes for that too.
*Homemade mixes: This really works for me. To have pre-made mixes on the shelf is a blessing. And you know what the ingredients are because you put them together! You can limit the salt and the sugar if you need. But the convenience is amazing. Here is our list of what I try to keep on hand:
-a variety of cake mixes
-a variety of pancake mixes
-a variety of pudding mixes
-seasoning mixes such as taco, pizza, dill dip, stuffing, etc.
-our morning oatmeal packets
-cookie, brownie, and muffins mixes
Again, these are wonderful to have and pull of the shelf when needed or when you need a quick dessert. So much better than to have to buy them at the store. Of course, you will need the ingredients to make them, but having the ingredients on hand is savings in itself. Flour, sugar, oil, cocoa, oatmeal, spices, vanilla, etc. should be something we have on hand anyway so why not just go the extra mile and prepare the mixes ahead of time?
*Dehydrating: I know I posted about this last time, so I won't say it again but dehydrating food is an excellent way to preserve real food. Read up about it so that you do it properly but I hope you can try it. Dehydrators can be inexpensive or expensive depending on what type you get. But how about getting together with a group of friends or neighbors and buying one together and share it? How fun would that be?! You could share what you dehydrate and learn together.
*Freezer meals: I went through the recipes that I knew would freeze well and have decided to one or two meals a week until I'm done. Most freezer meals last for about 3 - 4 months for optimal taste, so that would take me through November and into December which is perfect. Here are some of the meals I'll be working on:
-Beef stew (keeping the potatoes out because potatoes do not freeze well)
-Hamburger soup (again, without the potatoes)
-Pre-patty the hamburgers into 4-packs
-Beef barley soup
-Marinated chicken breasts
-And, as always, keep making beef and chicken stock
I always try to buy frozen shrimp and other fish for the freezer too for something besides red meat in our diet. I buy whole chickens and turkey breasts so that I have the bones for stock and soups and the meat can be turned into wonderful casseroles.
*Jams: We like to have these on hand. It takes us a long time to go through a jar of jam, so we don't need to have a lot around, but things such as: (for the freezer)
-crockpot apple butter
-small batch grape jam
-even the bread machine has a recipe for strawberry jam that I want to try!
-small batch blueberry jam
*Other miscellaneous things that are nice to have in the freezer:
-sweet breads such as pumpkin, banana, etc.
-small 8x8 cakes
-homemade flour tortillas
-pie crusts and even a baked pie or two
-ice cream desserts
Just some sweet things you can pull out when you know someone is coming over or your own family feels like having a treat.
Well, that is the list I have in my kitchen as of yesterday. We don't have unlimited funds to do all this, so part of the process is to do what I can right now with what I have right now and then plan as I go what I should be doing next within our budget. This won't happen overnight - it takes time and energy and some of these things might not get done. But the whole idea is to get us all thinking about what we CAN do. The "something is better than nothing" attitude is very important so I really do encourage you in this.
Just like with getting together with friends or other family in buying and using a dehydrator, maybe a group of you can get together and start working on these food items. Sometimes it's more fun and motivating if you work together for a common good. To spur one another on in the kitchen.
That's it for today! Thank you so much for your visit - I hope it helps. 😊 God bless your day and weekend.