Advantages of eating in season

Advantages of eating in season are many, but If you are willing to harvest from your backyard orchard, and/or vegetable garden or visit your local u-pick farm and preserve your food you can save a great deal and eat better too. Even purchasing in season at your local grocer can save your family money.

Here is a quick list of some of the benefits:

  • Your produce will taste better.  Produce harvested when it’s naturally at its best will mean it will also taste its best and give you the optimum nutrients.
  • It will save you money. In-season produce is often on-sale produce and or less expensive for a quick sale. Especially, if you are willing to visit the local farmer’s market or visit the local u-pick farms and replace money with a little family work and exercise.
  • You’ll discover new, fruit and vegetable choices. The world of fruits, vegetables, and roots is a larger one than most of our shopping habits indicate. Eating in season will introduce you to new types of fruits, vegetables, and roots and give you more knowledge of nutritious choices. Many heirloom varieties do not ship or store well and therefore will not be in the supermarket.
  • Eating in season also tends to support local growers, which helps the local economy and reduces pollution. Also, as you get to know your local farmer and you will be helping to keep what remains of the local family famil alive for the future. In speaking and making friends with your local farmer you may find there are other opportunities to broaden your diet as many raise heritage livestock, which can make their way to your table. They can let you what crop will next be available and when.

Top 5 Ways to Preserve and Store Your Garden Harvest

Garden Vegetables
Garden Vegetables

There is always a special feeling attached to planting in a garden, seeing it grow, harvesting, preserving, storing, and then enjoying the fruits of your hard work. The periods where you have more great yields from your garden harvest are indeed a blessing, but for you to enjoy your garden produce all year round you need to learn to preserve them. Food Preservation and storage is fast becoming somewhat of a lost art, and it is quite embarrassing. Our great-grandmothers and grandmas all witnessed the basic economic movements and placed real value in learning and teaching food preservation to their daughters to take similar actions.

Some may be of the view that such skills are not as significant in this modern era, but I believe self-sufficiency is at all times very important. What necessary actions you take when you see an excellent deal at farmers marketplace or the grocery store? What is your response like when you get offers for agreement on a bushel of the harvest that always gets your attention in one way or another? What steps do you take when you get a bountiful harvest of green beans, berries, and others? There is only so much of any one food you can eat before you start losing your appetite or it begins to go wrong. If you know much about preserving your garden harvest, you can apply it and use your preserved produce all year round. Learning to protect and store your garden harvest is a practical skill we all need to utilize.

Dry Pack Frozen Strawberries
Dry Pack Frozen Strawberries

Freeze your Harvest

An excellent place to begin preserving and storing your garden harvest is by freezing it. Freezing is a unique way of storing fruits such as berries and peaches that have short lifespan especially once they are ripe. It is quite comfortable and straightforward, and anybody can do it. All you need do is cook your harvest into some preferred freezer friendly meals, or wash and blanch them before preserving them by freezing. Blanching veggies are essential for the reason that it stops enzymatic action (preserving color, flavor, texture) and eliminates bacteria.

The only real drawback of freezing is that you have a limited amount of space in your freezer. You can also develop the habit of placing labels (with dates) on frozen food as well. By taking this step, you would know the content before pulling it out to defrost and how long you preserved it in there. The following fruits freeze particularly well:

  • Blanched apples and beans (including runner and French)
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb
  • Raspberries

Homemade Jam
Homemade Jam

Can your Harvest

Canning is amongst the most useful ways to preserving food. Most of us still have memories of our grannies canning fruits and vegetables. It is almost a lost skill that needs reviving. There are two known canning approaches:

  • Pressure Canning. And
  • Water Bath Canning.

The water bath canning is safer for most produce like fruits and jams. Nevertheless, if you wish to can meat or low-acidic veggies like green beans, you will be required to make use of pressure canning to make sure the preserving is safe. If you live in areas with considerable altitude, you also are expected to pressure can.

Everything you make can be canned, from chili and green beans to peas and pie filling too. Canning is feasibly most splendid due to its zero-space requirement in your freezer or fridge. You can also store canned foods in your basement, pantry, root cellar, or on kitchen shelves. Heck, you can preserve canned foods underneath the spare bed if you do not have enough space! Properly canned food lasts a lot more than any other means of preservation or storage.  Canning offers a great way to preserve your garden harvest and feeding your home.

If you have not done the canning process before, it is best you learn from trusted guidelines available. One of the things to bear in mind with the canning process is that higher levels of heat can affect part of the nutritious content of your canned food. So, it is worth discovering other food preservation and storing types.

Jars of Dehydrated Fruit
Jars of Dehydrated Fruit

Dehydrate your Harvest

If you lack enough space for storage, you can also consider dehydrating your food. You even can begin by making use of your oven pre-configured to its minimum level. Try drying some slices of apple, cereal, or any other food type you use in baking all through the year. You can make further exploration and make fun finger food like fruit leather, kale chips, and even dried vegetables that you can use in making soup.

Pickled Vegetables
Pickled Vegetables

Pickle  your Harvest

Another old-fashioned favorite, this method preserves and stores food by pickling it. When you hear somebody say “pickling” veggies, it at most times often implies they are keeping the vegetables in vinegar. Due to vinegar’s acetic acid constituent (should be no less than 5%), several sources say that produce conserved in it do not require to be chilled. Pickling involves dipping them in salt water made from salt, sugar, water, and other pickling spices. You also can make use of fresh leaves by inserting them in vinegar, then letting them stay close to 2 months in the dark. At this stage, you can strain them out and leave a pleasing flavored vinegar which you can use in dressings and other things.

The most frequently pickled item is obviously pickling, and it is an exceptional place to begin. But do not stop there. You can also pickle cabbage, carrots, okra, peppers, and a wider variety of other fruits and vegetables. Play with it and discover more choices you might like. Pickled plants make an excellent addition to snacks and salads all through the year. Once you begin pickling, you might just resolve to try fermentation on a bigger scale. It is a slippery slope, and you have been cautious.

Dry Beans Stored in Pantry
Dry Beans Stored in Pantry

Cold Store your Harvest

Another excellent method is the least Cold Store. It is the most straightforward means of preserving and storing food. Fruits like apples, cabbages, and root vegetables can be stored well in a cold, dark, and dry place. This storing option is the reason most houses have root cellars. Nowadays, your pantry might also be an excellent location for storing and preserving this type of product. If you are lucky to own a basement, you could smartly arrange some shelves around to keep loads of food for the coming months.

CONCLUSION

Learning a preservation and storage process for your garden harvest is vital to enjoying your hard work. Preservation and storage process for food during the harvest months are created to make your produce last long into the winter periods. Although some means might best be suited for some garden produce, you would always find a method to meet your demands. They are lots of information online relating to how to safely and adequately preserve and store your harvest. You can learn and apply such steps towards self-support and economic freedom. Learning new ways is always fun, and I can assure you would enjoy the processes involved in each of the techniques mentioned above. Yes, practice makes perfect, so whenever it is time to enjoy your garden harvest, always remember to set some aside and apply these storage techniques.

Pantry – Why buy beans in bulk?

Bulk Pinto Beans
Bulk Pinto Beans

Buy dried beans In bulk 

To save money

  • Compared to meat, beans are an economical source of protein. This is especially true if you compare them our price per pound basis.
  • Also, because of their room temperature storage potential, you can buy more at one time and store them longer without the need for refrigeration or freezing. So, you can take more advantage of sales and seasonal availability.

For Long-term storage

  • dry beans, also known as pulses, can be stored at normal room temperatures for years and still retain their nutritional value.

For Nutritional value

  • beans are a convenient source of protein and can be combined with other vegetables and foods to provide a holistic protein source.
  • Beans have a low cholesterol rating, basically, nonexistent.

Provide food Versatility

  • beans are very versatile, being only really limited by your creativity and your cooking capabilities.
  • Almost all beans, if properly prepared, can be used in soups, stews, and chilis
  • beans can be ground and added to other flours to increase the protein levels of baked goods
  • beans can be a centerpiece of a meal all on their own. For example, cattle beans with cornbread could be the centerpiece of a nice breakfast or lunch. As a matter of fact, I like cattle beans and cornbread for breakfast.

Reduce wastage

  • with a little bit of planning and care, beans can be worked into nearly any meal.
  • Depending on how they were cooked, beans can even be reprocessed and use an entirely different way. For example, cattle beans can be turned into refried beans.  Refried beans can become the filler for bean and cheese burritos and the list goes on.
  • Because beans can be cooked and eaten and as large and small quantities as is necessary, you can control the portion you cook and/or allocate across meals.

Pantry Essentials – Why you should consider Box Milk

Box Milk On Pantry Shelf
Milk On Pantry Shelf

Box milk is not something you with likely think of as a pantry item, however, it is an excellent pantry item.  Box milk is healthy, wholesome, and keeps for months at room temperature within the ‘Best Used By’ date.  Additionally, keeping a supply a properly maintained box milk in your pantry will reduce the need to make trips to the grocery store to replace refrigerator milk.

How to Use Box Milk

Box milk can be used for numerous purposes in the home and in the kitchen.  Not only can you drink it, put it on your cereal, and use it in your cooking, but we also use it to make homemade yogurt and certain types of gelatins.

Storage of Box Milk

Storage Unopened In the pantry

You do need to be sure that you apply the FIFO stock rotation rules to ensure that your box note use used the force boils to prevent waste.  Also, inspecting your box milk helps you keep an eye on it to ensure you are using it in a timely manner.  Additionally,  wherever you choose to store your box milk (e.g.kitchen pantry, root cellar, kitchen cabinet) a consistent moderate should be maintained, otherwise, the milk’s shelf life may become compromised.  This is especially true of freezing and frequent large temperature changes.

Once opened in the refrigerator

Once opened box milk should be stored in the refrigerator at around 33 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The milk should be consumed with about 3 to 5 days from the date it was opened.

How long does unopened box milk last

Shelf life can vary depending upon many factors, such as, from production date to time of purchase.  Box milk, if properly cared for can be safely stored for several months. Basically, I would use the ‘Best Used By’ date and apply the FIFO rules based on the ‘Best Used By’ date, not the date of purchase.

Related References

What is FIFO and how it applies to pantry?

First In, First Out (FIFO) Pantry Stock Rotation
First In, First Out (FIFO) Pantry Stock Rotation

My family has been practicing the FIFO method of panty and root cellar stock management since before I know what it was.   My grandmother and mother before me were both very attentive to the organization of our shelves and the age of our foods, nowadays commonly known as the ‘use by date’ and commercial grocery items.   Particularly, as we managed many pantry and root cellar item across multiple years.  Property canned fruits, vegetables, and meats can be stored and consumed for several years.  This is also true for some dried foods from the garden, fields, or even from local foragings, such as dried fruit (apples, apricots, plums), cereals (e.g. corn, wheat, barley), legumes (beans, bean britches, cowpeas) and so on.

What is FIFO?

First in, First out (FIFO) is an inventory management system in which, the first (or oldest ) stock is used first and the stock which has most recently been produced (canned, dried, etc.) and/or received (e.g. purchased) is only used after older items have been consumed. This ensures that the oldest stock is used first and reduces the costs and losses from spoilage.  This rule should also be applied to your freezer and refrigerator, as well.

How to implement FIFO in your pantry and/or root cellar

Implementing the basics are simple enough.  You really need to pay attention to a few things and be consistent.

  • Store items in the same place, and put newer items behind older items, moving older items forward (please see diagram above), on the shelf or wherever you stored  them
  • Make sure you store only undamaged items and properly prepared items
  • That you understand the relative shelve life of your pantry and root cellar stocks.  Even within a class of food, some items have shorter shelf lives than others.  For example, a cold stored acorn squash will, usually, only store a few months (3 or 4), where a butternut or neck pumpkin may last as long as a year.
  • That you plan your meals and canning schedules in a way that takes into account when foods are likely to spoil and how much of a given food your family can and/or will eat in a given period of time.