Budget Menu & Dirt Cheap Recipes F.A.Q Saving food in general

This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by mos December 29, 2011 at 11:28 pm.

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  • #272503

    Hello,

    I am mostly interested in finding a solution to my freezer-problem here in my house. I want to make food in advance to cut my costs, but I only have a little freezer (one of them above-fridge thingies). I can’t buy one since it costs a lot and also uses a lot of electricity I think.

    I cook soup myself, which takes up almost all the room in my fridge already.

    Are there other options? I’ve read on this forum that canning isn’t simple either (sterilizing it all and stuff, I don’t have those tools either).

    I’ve also read about vacuum machines, but then again it needs to be stored in a freezer, right?

    Does anyone have a simple way to preserve food (e.g. leftovers) for a long time?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #419498

    Boy I’m sure looking for a solution to this one! As far as I know you either have to freeze it or can it with a pressure canner. You might want to keep you eye out for a pressure canner.

    I got a nice big one brand new at a garage sale for $25 but I got a smaller one at a thrift store for $1 that we use a lot and I loan out to my son, ect. I’m always looking for canners or canning jars!

  • #419513

    Wow, lucky you to get your hands on a pressure canner for $1!

    I was wondering… my mum always puts soup and jam in jars when they’re hot and turns them upside down for a while and then keeps them in the fridge… does anyone know if this is applicable to other food aswell (sauces for example)?

  • #430461

    the best thing is figure out what your family eats in a week that are fave meals. You make two of that meal, eat one freeze one or you can do half meals like marinating chicken/turkey/pork then cook the rest of the meal.

  • #430468

    BellyJean
    Participant
    Quote:
    i was wondering… my mum always puts soup and jam in jars when they’re hot and turns them upside down for a while and then keeps them in the fridge… does anyone know if this is applicable to other food aswell (sauces for example)?

    no, it’s not safe, it’s called “open kettle canning:. it’s an old-fashioned way of “sealing jars”. the theory is that if the top seals then it’s safe.

    it’s a false theory and you can die from botulism by canning this way, especially canning soups.

    when food is spooned or poured into the jars, bacteria can get into the jar- if you seal it without processing, you’ve made the perfect home for bacteria to grow and thrive- and then kill ya or at the very least, make you feel like your insides are falling out after you’ve eaten it. my grandma had 7 feet of her intestines surgically removed after she got sick with botulism, her health was never the same.

    Other Unsafe Canning Practices include:

    • adding an aspirin to the jars.
    • using the dishwasher to seal jars (scary thought!)
    • oven canning
  • #430469

    @ulrike 115287 wrote:

    I was wondering… my mum always puts soup and jam in jars when they’re hot and turns them upside down for a while and then keeps them in the fridge… does anyone know if this is applicable to other food as well (sauces for example)?

    You can do this but you must put the jars in the freezer due to nasty bacteria in the food. Just be sure to leave 1/2 in. head space instead of the normal 1/4 in.

    head space. Food swells up more when cooked and then frozen in jars. The jars will be safe but make sure they are completely cool before doing it or you can have a jar that will break in the freezer.

  • #430470

    @ulrike 115257 wrote:

    I want to make food in advance to cut my costs, but I only have a little freezer (one of them above-fridge thingies). I can’t buy one since it costs a lot and also uses a lot of electricity I think.
    You can’t really store much in a Frig freezer for long-range planning so I would start saving money to buy a small chest freezer. They really aren’t that costly in electricity, but they are high in benefits for more food storage.

    I got a 5.7 cu.ft. one and love it. They are less costly because they are not ‘frost free’ (which are costly) and will need to defrost it manually over time.

    Even more important for long-term food storage is to invest in a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. It ‘is’ expensive, but it pays off in the long-term storage without freezer-burn.

    I have food that has been in my freezer longer than a year and it is perfect when I take it out and thaw.

    Quote:
    I cook soup myself, which takes up almost all the room in my fridge already.

    You learn to freeze and store soups and other liquids so they are ‘flat’ and can be stacked in the freezer to maximize space.

    Quote:
    I’ve read on this forum that canning isn’t simple either (sterilizing it all and stuff, I don’t have those tools either).

    Canning many foods is VERY simple and some of it does not require special tools.

    Canning gives you the ability to safely store foods at room temperature for extended periods without filling up your freezer. Canning does require knowledge of what you are doing (and why) so you do not accidentally poison yourself or others.

    There are two types of Canning: (1) Boiling Water Bath for preserving jams, jellies, fruits, and pickled items. These are known as “high-acid” foods. Any large stock pot can be used for this; (2) Pressure Canning for meats and vegetables, which are “low-acid” foods and requires specialized equipment to reach very high temperatures to kill a specialized bacteria known as C. Botulinum.

    Wal-Mart and similar stores sell a 16-qt Pressure Canner (weighted rocker) for under $70 and is ideal for the home canner. They hold 7 quart jars or up to 9 pint jars. Learn more about home canning by getting the current Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving ($6.00) available in many stores and online.

    Quote:
    I’ve also read about vacuum machines, but then again it needs to be stored in a freezer, right?

    For regular food items, yes, but the advantage is elimination of freezer burn and to allow for longer storage times.

    I also dehydrate many foods, which then can be stored indefinitely at room temperature as long as they are kept away from moisture. the american harvest/nesco dehydrators are great to start with and are not that expensive. again, the benefits are worth the initial expense.

    dehydrating eliminates tossing out ripe food that will otherwise spoil. i love doing tomatoes, onions, celery, garlic, beet and other greens, zucchini, potato slices, etc.

  • #430483

    FreebieQueen
    Moderator

    @armymomof2 203644 wrote:

    You can do this but you must put the jars in the freezer due to nasty bacteria in the food. Just be sure to leave 1/2 in. head space instead of the normal 1/4 in. head space. Food swells up more when cooked and then frozen in jars. The jars will be safe but make sure they are completely cool before doing it or you can have a jar that will break in the freezer.

    The jars are only “safe” if you KEEP them frozen. Freezing does not kill all bacteria, yeasts and molds present in food, but it does prevent their multiplication if the food is held at 0°F or less. When thawed, the surviving organisms can multiply again. So don’t stick them in the freezer thinking that you can freeze them for 24 hours and then stick them in your pantry, you can’t.

  • #430950

    mos
    Participant

    I agree with Armymomof2 with cooking double meals of family favorites and freezing them. Depending on your family size, you should be able to stock the freezer with a week’s worth of meals. I may mean that for two weeks you are eating the same meals as the week before, but you can change things a bit with your choice of sides.
    If you continue in this fashion you should be able to cut your budget and only shop twice a month!

  • #430953

    After dinner, instead of shoving leftovers into the fridge until they rot, make up individual freezer meals. I stocked up on small trays, ect. and I can put a main dish in and add other side dishes into the compartments and if I’m short side dishes I just pull frozen veggies out and pour a little in for a serving and add a pat of butter or whatever I think it will need.

    I label what is in it and how to reheat and the date and toss into the freezer. Whenever I’m having one of those days and just can’t pull myself together to get dinner made I go pull a selection and let them pick their meal for the night. Always a good selection so everyone can find something they like.

    I always make huge batches of soup so I can freeze several bowls of that too! Not big on storing food in the freezer but I do keep those freezer meals and baked goods in it to make life easier! Still got 5 frozen cakes ready to fill and frost but out of cinnamon rolls and cookie dough so next time I have a free day and feel like it I will make those up.

  • #430965

    mos
    Participant

    Hey brchbell! How goes it with you? I know that you are the Mistress of Planning so all of your suggestions are good;-D

  • #430969

    Thanks MOS! Don’t have much online time anymore but try to check in when ever I have time. I always thought retirement was a time to slow down but I’m running much more than I ever have!

    Life is good and I love each and every day! Hope things are going well your way!

    Cherlynn

  • #430979

    mos
    Participant

    Maybe you should come out of retirement…giggle… I continue to plug along;-D

  • #430983

    Well I guess when DH buys 99 acres to retire to I should of known we were coming out of retirement before we really got into it! We’re not up to the regular farm thing so have been very creative in new farming ideas. People are starting to take notice so we might get busier than we’d planned!

    Every day gets more interesting! Every new day is truly, a new day!

  • #430990

    mos
    Participant

    Oh it sounds exciting! A member of my team has a farm and they grow all of their veggies, most of their fruit, AND most of their meat! Since she has seven children, ages 3-22 — all living at home, she has decided that she can take a break from the farm life and sell Avon!

    lol! she’s up at o’dark-thirty to do the tasks that she likes and leaves the rest to her dh and children while she’s out doing her avon business. she returns home in time to do the ‘afternoon’ chores that she enjoys, gets dinner started, and then spends time with the family.
    her dh always wanted to be a farmer (grew up a city boy) and fortunately for him she grew up on a farm and knew what had to be done.

    they bought the farm about 10 years ago for a very good price — someone else had the same idea, but no clue what to do — with some livestock and equipment, and have made a success of their investment. I keep threatening to move in with her! LOL!

  • #430995

    We have 99 acres but our farm project is in a fenced off 100 foot X 70 foot area that we have 32 organic grow beds. We grow all our own produce plus supply restaurants in Des Moines and KC that have contracted with us and 2 of our neighbors and we make way more than regular farmers. Hard work for 6 months but this time of the year we get to chill and enjoy ourselves.

    Now folks are looking at what we’ve done and want to get into the act too! We can take on maybe 3 more families but then any others will cut into our business. I’ve mentioned to our Ag agent that many others could start a contract basket service to people in the city where they get fresh produce once a week during the grow season for a flat fee, hashing out lots of other options.

    We contracted out our crop lands and just take a percentage from the farmer who does the crops. Several others are thinking maybe they should do so too! Several of our dairies are backing out and doing their own organic milk in glass bottles or going to making cheese instead of selling their milk to companies.

    Getting these old farm communities to thinking along new lines has been interesting!

  • #431012

    mos
    Participant

    Oh My! You really have become quite the entrepreneuring family! I’m so impressed!

    Have you shared this with Liss? I’m pretty sure that your endeavors would interest her. And ya know…we are sooo off-topic here (sorry members) that maybe we should take this to the PM level.

    Still have my info?

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Budget Menu & Dirt Cheap Recipes F.A.Q Saving food in general