Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On saving food...

  Something I’ve wanted to talk about in my other blog but haven’t wanted to give away the “big secret”. It’s that we have started hoarding food. Now that I think about it it’s been a longer process than I realized, however, this year it’s become more of an obsession that I can’t explain.

It started a while back when I was introduced to our local “grain lady”. I wanted to get oatmeal in bulk as I made it a lot for our 2 and 4 year olds (at the time). I also discovered that she could find 1 gallon containers of molasses instead of the 3 cup containers I was finding at the store. My grandmother’s cookie recipe called for a whole cup and I liked doubling it. Once I decided I’d like to try wheat flour so I gave the bucket of Prarie gold wheat a try. It was full of seeds/grains/ berries, what?! Seeing as I was mad at that bucket for not being what I thought it would be (flour) I let it sit for a year. Then one day I called up my neighbor and asked her if she had a grain mill, of course she did. One day I’ll write a separate post on what it’s like to be a friend/neighbor to the woman who can do LITERALLY anything. She lugged over her huge heavy old wooden mill, told me what to do and left. I ground up about a quarter of my bucket and froze the extra flour as she instructed. Thus began my love for freshly ground wheat. Not as much for the health factor, I’m really not a health nut, but for the economic sense that it brings to only grind what you need when you need it and the berries are much cheaper. And it tastes pretty good too.

About two years ago my sister and I purchased a grain mill together. We then purchased bags of soft wheat, hard wheat, spelt, kamut, and corn (and more quick and whole oats). She located buckets at the local bakery and we split our purchases. I still have much of this grain as I don’t use it a ton when I bake bread, mostly wheat. So now I have about 7 buckets (small to large) of grain. Around the same time I decided to start buying beans in bulk also, (even millet) so I have (in kitty litter containers, the green ones) garbanzo beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, soy beans, and kidney beans. Inside of my house I have an extra 25 bag of pintos because we use them most. I also have a bag of brown and white rice. I keep my beans handy in my 1.25 gallon icecream buckets that I can’t throw away.

After buying the mill and enjoying the fact that I had so many grains, it gave me this fuzzy feeling of sustainment. I told this to my other neighbor who encouraged me to buy extra of everything and then just date it so I use up the older stuff first.

At first I got just little extras here and there, and then I began systematically trying to purchase in duplicate or triplicate everything that we already use. Trying to turn my garage into something like a little grocery store just for us. At first it was hard because it cost so much more. But the last 2 pay checks worth of grocery money, I have probably not even used half. I stick what I don’t use into my “bulk” account so that I have it when grain or large items need to be bought.

Just this winter our friends helped us to get hooked up at the local Mormon cannery and their prices on grain, flour, beans, etc are outstanding. Much better than through our local grain lady or the Azure orders we’ve tried doing. My husband went on the first canning session and brought home about 5 boxes of large canned products including wheat berries, flour, dry onions, dry apples, sugar, oats, beans, etc. We also purchased about 150 more pounds of wheat berries in bags and 75 lbs of white flour. They even had mylar bags and oxygen absorbers for sale so I hope to (soon) get a set up and get those all bagged up tight and put into some buckets or boxes and stick them away for a rainy day.

In addition to the chickens who lay eggs and goats who produce milk we’re not nearly as bad off (prepared wise) as we were last year. There are many issues we still have to undertake to be really prepared for the unknown, but I know that if we plod along and do what we need to do, God ultimately provides.

Country Jane, wanna be prepper


Linda said...

I've been curious about the Canneries for a which now. Do they have a minimal amount that can be purchased?

Country Jane said...

Yes, just some basics. But cost wise if you can do it it's really worth it, at least up here in Alaska because the shipping cost is subsidized by the Mormons to Alaska. If we get things through Azure up here we pay around $16 for a $25 lb bag of grain and another $17 for the shipping. A friend of mine won't buy from the Mormons because she wants nothing to do with any GMO foods, but I'm so new at even figuring out what GMO is that we still have purchased some there. I'm pretty close to making the switch myself, though. I've already quit buying regular vegetable and canola oil at the store, I have some stocked up, but I really love the Organic coconut oil I got last year...and I'll start to render my own lard when this bucket I have runs out.

Linda said...

Oh, I didn't realize that the Mormons didn't avoid GMO's! That does change things a bit for me. I actually have been going direct to organic Amish farms and getting things either from them or through them. Both options are cheaper in the long run, but I like to keep all resources open. I am sure the Mormons have food that isn't yet affected by GMO's though.