Sunday, February 7, 2010

Using It Up

One of the prompts for Frugal February was a post I read somewhere, sometime, about the huge waste that is most people's experience with buying a chest freezer. That is, most folks fill it up, thinking they're being careful and frugal and all in all good planetary citizens. Then they lose track of what's the deep recesses of said freezer until too late -- all this fine food gets tossed away.

Last summer I canned and dehydrated and froze fruits and veggies from my garden. I purchased a quarter of beef from the finest grass feeding ranchers in the state, not to mention some similarly fine pork. I bought bulk grains, oils, and spices through my native nutrition community buying group. It was all in service of creating a functioning home economia, and the hope was that we would have the best foods, as local as possible, as organic as possible, bought and preserved or used in season. And I would get it all at the best price. Moreover, I hoped we would be less subject to the vagaries of a crazy economy and possible disruptions in food supply (whether from natural disaster, ordinary weather patterns, zombie invasion, or whatever).

But somewhere along the way I did a poor job of measuring. I think I simply stockpiled too much. I did not quite realize how much could be grown on a fraction of an acre in my climate, given good soil and lots of labor on my part. So I still have quarts and gallons and more quarts of frozen and canned fruits and veggies in store. Too much jam and jelly. Excessive amounts of beef. And there are other things that I've run out of all year long, things I've had to buy lower quality versions of because I didn't produce enough. So in the month of February, as I go through our cupboards and freezers, I hope to measure, plan, and reevaluate for the coming year.


  1. You were so smart. And you must have worked yourself silly in the heat of summer! But there's nothing better than your own produce and jam.

    Could you e-mail who you got your beef from? To verokat(at) . It sounds like the best idea. I can't come by grassfed beef here, have to Austin, which doesn't compute.

    In the spirit of diversification, I have a surplus of roasted Hatch New Mexico chilies (frozen packaged in 2-3 chili packs) to trade if you decide you'd like some in place of jam/jelly/whatever.

    Will be watching to see what you fix from your pantry.

  2. Hey Kathleen,

    I'm sending you an email.