When the year’s harvest comes around at the end of summer and early fall you’ll find that these are great times for making certain that your family can eat local, seasonal food all year long. You’ll have a bounty to eat fresh. But what if you relied only on fresh produce and goods for your dinner table?
Sure, you can buy milk, eggs and meat all year long at the grocer but those vegetables and fruits at the grocer, during the cooler months, are going to be trucked in from a warmer location. Besides, the fact that the food is trucked in and not the freshest you also need to consider ‘what if’s’. What if you lost some income and couldn’t buy groceries? What if there was a weather event that kept the roads impassable for weeks? What if the income producer became sick?
You prepare for the unexpected and act as a good steward of your resources by preserving that bounty while it’s available. Start with something easy and simple and cheap.
Have you ever seen a family on the side of the road with buckets in hand picking berries? I see it every year when the wild blackberries are ripe. Imagine how good those will taste this winter with breakfast!
Does your neighbor have a pear or apple tree that they let the fruit just fall the ground and rot? Ask if you can pick the fruit in exchange for a jar of preserves or jelly. (Most often they’re glad to let you have them.) Are there farms around? Often times farmers will let you glean the fields if you ask.
You continue to prepare by preserving and putting by the summer and fall harvest. Can some green beans. Make and can tomato sauce. Make applesauce.
Once you’ve gotten your feet wet you might want to try more adventurous ‘putting by’. I’ve made beef jerky sticks out of ‘on sale’ ground turkey. You can can vegetable soup. Basically, if you can buy it canned or frozen at the grocery store you can put it by yourself. Think of all the money you’d save!
Don’t know how to can, preserve, dehydrate or put by? Many counties across the US have classes and often times they’re free! Do you have an older relative that could teach you? Ask around. Try a new method of putting by. The more knowledge and experience you have the better off you’ll be. You’ll save money, feed your family better food and make the best use of the resources available to you.
Waste not, want not.