Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I can can in the New Year

I have made it one of my New Year's resolutions to learn how to preserve and can my own food this year....I believe this was one of last year's resolutions as well but it just never happened.  With the rising cost of food...not to mention the questionable ingredients in much of what we consume today...I've decided to go ahead and give it a shot.   I know many of you fabulous ladies are very resourceful and have already been canning your own food for years now....any tips would be greatly appreciated.

2010 found me diagnosed with high blood pressure so I really need to watch my sodium intake....I have become quite a label reader and I am vowing to cut out processed foods from the BittersweetPunkin household.  I am beefing up my pantry...I'm getting ready to buy large glass containers to store things like rice, beans, oats etc that I will buy in bulk and I am making it a mission to never serve a boring meal again.  Sometimes I find myself being very redundant in the meals I serve, and my family's lack of enthusiasm is very telling. Hopefully this is the year that we can buy a chest freezer to store excess meat in.....right now I am at the mercy of a tiny over the fridge model that doesn't hold much.

Our grocery bill has absolutely sky-rocketed and I am getting alarmed at how much it costs to simply feed this small family of four...and trust me, I am no stranger when it comes to buying generic or store brands and reduced price meat.  Our family hasn't taken a vacation since about 2003 when we went to Mount Rushmore...so sad isn't it?

I would love to hear any and all of your tips for frugal living.....won't you share?


Liane said...

Great minds think alike...I'm not going to be canning but we are going to try harder at keeping a garden this year. I've been reading what I'm consuming too, there's salt in almost everything! And I'm down to a 1/2 cup of coffee/day!! Of course, the chocolate is what's gonna be tough for me :o) Keep a look out for canning jars and equipment at Goodwill. Go on Amazon and find some good used books about canning and freezing and have FUN!

Suzanne said...

Canning isn't really hard but it is alot of work and time consuming. Do you have an agricultural extension center anywhere in the area? They sometimes offer classes in how to preserve food.

As for budgeting, I watch the sales closely and buy in bulk when the price is low. When the local food store has a 10 for $10 sale, I load up the cart! Being organized and having enough storage is sometimes a problem too.

Good luck with your goals!

Vee said...

You and Liane both? Oh well you shall be a great support to one another! I marvel at those who can. I really do. I can't abide the mess that it makes. Canning takes over the entire world, but I am certain that it is worth it. I think I'd prefer to freeze things. Maybe. I know this, I found my farmer's market much less expensive than growing my own garden. Not sure if this still holds true. Prices are positively scary right now. Out of this world and now with no "help" from the grocers because the holidays are over...even more so. I did stock up when things were better priced, but even the sales of this year were fifty cents higher than the sales of last year. Yikes!

Take good care of yourself now...

Donna said...

We are very diligent when it comes to shopping. We buy on sale, get senior discounts, and use coupons. We used to have a chest freezer a couple of decades ago, and now have have an upright. They are MUCH easier to store food, rotate your provisions, and see them clearly.

One trick that really helps is to prepare, for the items you normally buy, a standard price list that includes unit pricing. With packaging getting smaller, it really helps you figure out if the sale item is really a good deal. Sometimes the bigger container is not the bargain. DH was reaching for a huge jar of pickles yesterday and I saw where a small jar was less per ounce. And with a price sheet, we know that pickles are less expensive at Wal-Mart than they are at Krogers, even when Krogers has them on sale.

We used to do a lot of canning and freezing when we had a garden, but won't be doing that now that we are in a villa home and have no room for gardening. It's the price of getting old, LOL.

Grocery prices are going to be outrageous by the end of the year. New federal requirements are going to make things worse and also inflation is hitting thanks to the Feds printing up close to $1 trillion in funny money a couple of months ago. China is also playing a big role in shortages of commodities.

Sunny simple life said...

We have to watch salt in our house too for my hubby so we can tell when we eat elsewhere. We feel all swollen. I hear you on the grocery bill front. I coupon lots but for food it doesn't always work as we eat a lot from scratch but meat, which is so expensive is often more of a condiment in meals. I use it mixed in with other items or with pasta dishes. I think it is only going to get worse with the food prices though.

FarmHouse Style said...

Food preservation is on my list of Goals this year as well. Ball makes an excellent guide entitled "Ball Blue Book."

I made Strawberry Lemon marmalade last year... it was to DIE for:-) I just hope it will last us until I can make some more.

Let me know if I can help in any way.


Becky K. said...

Have fun with canning. My Mom and I used to do it when I lived at home....eons ago. Now my Mother-in-law brings her canner to my house when she does peaches because it doesn't work on her flat top stove.

I don't can though. Maybe one day.

We freeze corn and I eat my MIL's peaches. Yum!

Chanda said...

I think having a garden and a few chickens really helps with the grocery bill. I freeze alot of garden produce instead of canning it. We seem to like frozen better, but I do enjoy canning jams and jellies and I have found when I can whatever is abundance, I can can enough that will usually lasy us about 3 years and I don't have to can the same items each year. It helps it to not be drugery and keeps it fun. Good luck, be safe canning and have some fun. Just remember, its sorta like child birth, women been doing it for years no matter how scary it seems at first. Ha ha

Terri said...

I would love to learn to can myself. I hope you post your experiences!

Joy said...

I am a big coupon user and bargain shopper. I love using coupons and know many don't like to take the time to clip but it really does help you save if you it up over the course of a year. I think I have seen canning supplies at Dollar General too. Have a great weekend!

Life on the Edge said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment! Your's is one of the blogs that I have always enjoyed so very much. I've really missed visiting!

I wish I had some good tips for you. I also have high blood pressure and have to watch for sodium intake, but have ended up having to take a water pill as well as my BP meds. I'm just glad that I was one of those people who never cared all that much for salt in the first place.

Food really is getting so expensive. We do the same here...buying generic, watching for sales.

Anyhow, going to read some more of your posts!

Life on the Edge

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

I have been complaining forever about the cost of groceries and finally I am hearing others complain about it. I mostly prepare meals from scratch but the more I cut back and not buy, it still seems the bill just keeps going up and up. I am appalled at what some fresh veggies cost. No way will I buy anything that is not in season. The price is too high even in season. xoxo Have missed you!

myletterstoemily said...

oh sweetie, i could never help you with this,
but there is a lady who gives great deals
online, called "together we save". she is a

good luck with the canning. it could be
fun, even though it will be hard work.


HI Robin
Your blog look wonderful~!!
Sorry about the BP But sounds like you will control it __
Stove Element fire -I thought we could just get a new element too..but we were advised to toss the oven since it wouldn't stop burning on its own.. (may have just been messy stuff on the element)(:) LOL
But the stove is kinda old and I am happy to get a new one ..ordered a flat (not burners) one last night the element is even hidden ~!! YEAH for that
.. my fire was tiny too about an inch square..but it kept crawling along the element and scared us.. Storing big bags of dry food- good idea I watch Glenn Beck and ya never know how it might be needed(:)
big hugs P..