Preserving Food

We have to pinch pennies wherever we can, including the food bill. This can be difficult when you only have a $20.00 to $30.00 food budget per week, but we all do what we can. The room that I rent has a dorm refrigerator with a tiny freezer that does not work well, so freezing sale items is out of the question. Also, I’m trying to keep my diet a healthy one for health reasons. This means I am mainly eating vegetables, protein, a healthy fat and one piece of fruit a day when I can. This is not always the most affordable, so I cut corners in other areas.

I used to preserve more food by freezing, and plan to again in the future, as well as learn to dehydrate and freeze foods.

Here are some things I’ve learned.

 

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Strawberries:

I purchased these, after hand-picking them. I sent some home with my sister for my nephew, ate a bunch fresh, and froze the rest. Here is how:

I cut off the tops, rinsed them all well, then patted them dry. I then packed them into quart size freezer bags, about 2/3 full. I have three bags in the freezer, labeled, that can be used for smoothies, shortcakes, or to top ice cream with during the winter months.

Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce: (Learned from my mom)

1 can tomato sauce

tomatoes that are starting to go soft

First, I boil the tomatoes just until the skin splits a little. I then plunge them into cold water until I can handle them with my bare hands. I then take them and peel the skin off. I chop the tomatoes and put them into a pot with a can of tomato sauce. I can use more than one can if I need to.

I let this cool and pour the mixture into sandwich bags, putting a bunch into a gallon size freezer bag, filling them about 2/3 full. Sandwich bags are a lot cheaper than freezer bags.

These are also labeled, and I will add herbs/spices when we reheat the sauce for pasta or rice.

Zucchini:

I only use it shredded in things like breads, muffins and cakes, so I do this quickly and easily.

I rinse the zucchini well and cut off the ends. I do not peal it, though. I grate the zucchini, then I put it into quart size freezer bags in one cup measures. This makes it easier to take out what I need.

Apples, Peaches, Plums:

I make sauce out of these, that can later be eaten like applesauce, used in baking, or warmed and served over ice cream.

I peal, core and chop these coarsely. I have never mixed them, but you can experiment if you like. I add them to a pot with a little water.

This is time consuming, as you continue to cook them down. Keep adding a little water when there is little left. Toward the end, you should be able to mash the fruit to help it along. I do this right in the pan while cooking it all down. Some people will like the chunks, others won’t. Do whatever you prefer. I add spices when thawed, rather than before freezing.

To freeze, pour into sandwich bags, then add the bags to a gallon size freezer bag and label.

Eggs:

These are easy. You have to break the yolk in each egg. I do this by cracking the egg into a bowl, piercing the yolk and giving a couple quick beats with a fork, then pouring the egg into a snack size baggie. If you knew that you would be using more than one egg at a time, you could freeze these in bigger batches. I can fit about 2 dozen of the snack size baggies into a gallon size freezer bag, which prevents freezer burn.

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10 thoughts on “Preserving Food

  1. Google amish receipes… you will find many new ways to preserve food.. there friendship starter recipe is great basically this base can be stored in cabinet used later to make bread..muffins..cake..pancakes. plus the amish are very frugal people almost all recipes are low cost with a large quanity so you always have left overs. I personally love amish muffins made with raisen bran cereal. 15oz box raisen bran (generics fine) 5 cups flour 1-3 cups sugar adjust per preference.. (we use 3) 5 tsp bakin soda.. 1 tsp allspice put all in a big bowl and add 1qt buttermilk 1tsp vanilla extract fill buttered or sprayed muffin tins 3/4 full bake at 350 for 20min yeilds about 50 muffins. these taste great with chili.

  2. go find older betty crockers cookbooks and they have tons of “basic” recipes which are so necessary and always cheaper than buying from the store. I make my own bread (way cheaper) and it talks about preserving too!

  3. Hello all,
    Enjoyed viewing the site and lots of good information… very much appreciated as always looking for ways to cut corners and save a penny or two.. Keep up the good work on the site and hope we all have a wonderful healthy frugal new year!

    1. Look into local food cupboards. They are your best bet, plus soup kitchens and churches with free meals. You do NOT have to be a member of a church to get help with food.

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