Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The demise of the grocery list

On our trek to self-sufficiency a major key in development is to stop relying so heavily on going to the store. The wear and tear on the car, the gas consumption, and man hours alone spent each week restocking the coffers won't get us to our farm any faster. Once we're out there, we'll be further from store fronts so travel times longer and competitive shopping harder so weekly trips will cost even more. 

I've been working towards learning how to make the things we need from basic ingredients that will be inexpensive and easy to stock up on. Items like milk, flour, and sugar. And even planning to reduce those down further on the farm when we have a cow and grain mill. Baby steps for now.

It was our first year growing some of our own things too. I've been experimenting with dehydrating as well. I now have a nicely stocked dried basil supply, completely from the garden I planted from seeds. Some jars of dried fruits and veggies bought on sale in season stock up the pantry. So far I've used them on pizzas, in breads and chicken bakes as well as just eating them right out of the jar. Being able to use every last bit of produce purchased reduces waste and the need to buy more and more often. It also gives us an alternative to in-season produce.

The breads are coming along. French toast, dessert breads, scones, muffins, pizza, practically every baked good imaginable is edging closer to being black listed from shopping. I'm pleased with the progress but the next investment will be a better bread book.  Haven't mastered sandwich type breads as mine tend to come out dense but it's happening. Ice cream has been taken off. The investment in the KitchenAid maker was well worth it. I've been making all our dried and frozen fruits and some veggies too. I've gotten away from grabbing Starbucks by pre-brewing my own coffee and chilling it in the fridge. Last night I made cheese. I bought a kit from Urban Cheese Crafters on Etsy. A gallon of milk and 45 minutes later and we had fresh mozzarella for dinner. I'm working on learning how to make jams to utilize inexpensive seasonal fruits.

The list is getting whittled down though there is still an enormous list to tackle; pasta, butter, sauces, yogurt, juice, those pesky sandwich breads, are all on the chopping block. It gives me a good feeling to make food that I've grown or made from scratch. Learning how to make these things now, even if I have to buy the ingredients from the store still, will be a good building block for our homestead when we can either replace or supplement the ingredients for things from our farm. Baby steps.


Anonymous said...

If you've already made cheese and have a dehydrator, you should definitely try yogurt. Our dehydrator has a recipe for it right in the book it came with. So easy, and SUPER delicious!

Sounds like you're doing well with your baby steps! :-)

Crystal said...

Actually, I have attempted it but it didn't work out so great *blush* I have a yogurt maker thing. Can you recommend a good yogurt making book? My dehydrator needs replacing, works ok but not great.

Claudia at Urban Cheesecraft said...

So great that you made cheese so soon after receiving your kit- crazy easy right? That's what I'm trying to show everyone :). All the best to you and your family!