To see why it was odd, read my book; One Season at the Farmers Market.
This week at Farmer's Market was a little odd.
To see why it was odd, read my book; One Season at the Farmers Market.
Freezer Bags: A Continuing Cost
Recently I was packing some meat into freezer bags. In the end I used 10 bags. As I put the meat in the freezer, I thought "it stinks that in a couple weeks I'll use this meat and then throw the bag away." I love frugality, but there's no way I'm washing and reusing plastic meat bags.
Then I got around to thinking about all of the other plastic bags I use for freezer stuff. Vegetable bags, bags for bone and fat scraps, bags for bread and bread crumbs, bags for fruit, meat, and anything else I want to freeze, even if it's only for a few days or weeks. Was there a better way to keep food in the freezer without filling our dumpster with ziplock bags every year?
Finding Some Boxes
What ever happened to those plastic freezer boxes that my mom used for strawberry freezer jam? It seems like you never see them used anymore! Was it a fad? Did the plastic taste leach into the food? Did they not seal right? Did they melt in the dishwasher? Whatever the problem, I thought it was worth a try using reusable freezer boxes. I was tired of trying to stack flat bags of veggies and having them fall back down on me. I found a three-pack of plastic boxes at Walmart, but they were expensive. Like VCR players and old Christmas lights, I knew that I could probably find a ton of these boxes if I looked around.
Sure enough, I found my first stack of boxes in a garage sale free box. Unfortunately the boxes didn't come with lids, but I figured I could find some on Ebay. A couple weeks later, people in town were throwing their junk on the curb. Hubs and I went "junking" at my request to see if there was any good stuff. Sure enough, I saw some plastic and told him to pull over. It takes some humility to wade through someone's dirty junk right in their front yard by the street where everyone can see you, but I did it anyway. And I scored!!! Hubs came back around the block and I was waiting with two cardboard boxes and some paper bags filled with freezer boxes AND lids.
Free Stuff Takes Some Work
The boxes sat in my back room for a couple weeks until I finally got around to washing them all. It was a daunting task, but I ended up with 87 free, clean freezer boxes and a pile of lids. Woohoo! I already love using the freezer boxes more than bags. I'm not sure if they'll work perfectly, but we'll see. I can always use the boxes as storage containers (mice won't chew through!) or plant pots.
One handy thing I've done with the freezer boxes is use them for goat's milk. Lately the milk has been more "goaty" due to fresh pasture, and it seems to be going bad before I can use it. Previously, I couldn't collect enough milk before it went bad to make even a pound of cheese. Lately I have been freezing the milk straight out of the udder, and when I've collected a couple gallons in the freezer I'll make several pounds of cheese. This will be more worth my while, and I don't have to worry about using up the milk before it goes bad.
Do you use freezer boxes? Why or why not?
Welcome to this first episode of couponing with Bethany. Bethany has never been a coupon cutter/printer, but she's decided to try it at the suggestion of several friends.
A Disclaimer: There are some drawbacks with couponing in order to save money. 1) You're pushed to buy things you don't need. 2) Most of the time the deals are something like 10% or 20% off (not worth it), and 3) it takes time every week, unlike other "once and you're done" frugal accomplishments. It's not worth it if you are spending an hour surfing, printing, and cutting to save $1 on stuff you shouldn't be buying in the first place.
However, if done right, couponing can be a great way to get non-perishable items (that you would use anyway) for free or extremely cheap. So far I have not been attempting to save any money on things like shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc., but I've decided to give couponing a try for the next couple months.
An Easy Intro to Couponing
Recently I've been following the Krazy Coupon Lady, who does all the deal-pairing, so all I have to do is print off the coupons, upload receipts and/or "earn" rebates on sites like Ibotta or Checkout 51. This week I didn't need any of the Coupon Lady deals, but we did have some Kroger coupons to use on free stuff, and pop cans to return.
The following items were "purchased" at Kroger's last Sunday. We used a free coupon for the toilet paper and candy bars (these came in the mail), and a $0.40 cents off coupon on the cottage cheese. I was hoping to find a $1 manager's special cottage cheese for an even better deal, but we didn't. Hubs likes cottage cheese, so I bought him one.
The five pineapples were $2 each. These I cored, cut and canned to use throughout the year on meals like Pineapple Salsa Chicken, which Hubs loves. Especially if it comes served with cheese, fresh cilantro, and a tortilla. Each pineapple yielded about a quart of fruit. That means that each pint cost me $1. It's not a great deal (except these were technically free!), but I do like the taste of home-canned pineapple better than store-canned. The fruit tastes fresher and is not so sweet. I was able to can the bits in their own juice. In addition to using the "rings", I also cut any extra fruit off of the outsides and bottom. You can re-grow the pineapple tops, and supposedly you can use the core like charcoal, to grill with. I've never tried the grilling, but have grown the tops into decent houseplants with leaves several feet long. This time I saved some core chunks to try grilling with.
Funding for this shopping trip was provided for by the coupons and also a $13.70 bottle deposit. Thus, everything was free and we even got some money back.
Join us next time for Couponing With Bethany!
Chives are extremely hardy and easy to grow. It seems like they are the first thing up in the Spring and one of the last things left growing in the Autumn. And it would be a pity not to have chives during the winter as well.
You could grow chives from seed in a pot, but you can also dry chives to use in soups during the winter. Chives dry relatively easily. I chop mine up in 1/8" - 1/4" pieces, spread them out on a cookie sheet and leave them in my (gas) oven. The pilot light keeps the oven warm and dry so you don't have to even turn it on. I usually leave my chives in the oven for a day or two, until they are brittle. Then I store them in an airtight container.
It doesn't take a lot of these chives-chopping/drying sessions to have enough chives to use over winter. The plants are very fast growing and recover from a "haircut" within a week, sending up new shoots and even flower heads.
I use dried chives for soups and savory spice mixes.
Do you grow chives? What do you use them for?
This week was rainy and cloudy, but sales weren't too bad. I tried...
To see what I tried, read my book; One Season at the Farmers Market.
A housewife; cook & bottle washer, cleaning lady, hobby farmer, seamstress, eBay seller, and amateur botanist.
The Housewife's Guide to Frugal Food
How to Eat for $10.00
The Housewife's Guide to Menu Planning
A Weekly Menu to Save
Time & Money
The Housewife's Guide to
Frugal Fruits and Vegetables
No Garden? No Problem!
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