We had the opportunity to buy organic strawberries this week for 1.25 a lb- freshly picked, too. I was short on help, so I was only able to buy 25 pounds, which really isn't much for a family of 7 people living at home. I have been regretting the circumstances that limited me to 25 pounds. So I have been astonished by the reaction of so many people upon hearing I bought 25 lbs. They look stunned and ask, "Why did you buy so many?"
Planning ahead is a vital skill for frugality, and that I am hearing this question from so many people- mostly in their twenties, but some of them are married and starting families. Storing up quantities in season to hold over for use when no longer in season is the basic lesson in Aesop's fable, the ants and the grasshopper:
THE ANTS were spending a fine winter's day drying grain collected in the summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ants inquired of him, "Why did you not treasure up food during the summer?" He replied, "I had not leisure enough. I passed the days in singing." They then said in derision: "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter."
The concept has been part of religious instruction for millennium, as well as just basic common sense. However, I feel the ease of convenience has clouded our judgment and ability to plan ahead. Because we can buy strawberries in and out of season with no more trouble than it takes to grab the keys and run to the grocery store. Even if I only buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, I won't be able to see this price for organic produce very often. So I could scrape together the money from another part of my budget now, or I could spend two or three times as much on fruit buying it in smaller quantities at a time. Sometimes you just don't have the ability to do that, as we know from sad experience, but knowing that you're spending more over the long run is great incentive to find creative ways to reach a point in the food budget where you don't have to pay more over the long run again.
The strawberries were stemmed and rinsed, then spread on trays for flash freezing in our large freezers. We have two because we also either raise or buy our own grassfed cows each year. Later the frozen berries will be used in smoothies and to make our own strawberry yogurt. If I had purchased more, we might have made strawberry jam, or taken time to dehydrate them.
I also made my own yogurt this week using this crockpot recipe and our own raw milk. I haven't had success with the crockpot yogurt versions before, but this recipe worked really, really well, and I didn't even follow the directions precisely. I fell asleep at one stage so the crockpot milk was left cooling far too long. I just turned the crockpot back on for fifteen minutes, then stirred and continued as directed.
This month we will also be saving some money in the produce part of the budget as lambsquarters and day lilies are in season. Lambsquarters grow wild, and the greens are easily identifiable. I use the leaves in omelettes, soups, and stir fries, and I dehydrate them for later use in omelettes and stir fries. I use day lily buds and blossoms in salads and stir fries, and kimchi pancakes.
How do you lay by in store and plan ahead?
More about eating organic and frugal here.
More about eating easily identifiable wild edibles like day lilies here.
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