Rhonda mentions the freezer in the June chapter of The Simple Home as an ideal place to preserve abundance, maybe even stockpile and manage your food resources throughout the year.
I think that in the past, many of us thought of the freezer only in terms of sides of meat or loaves of bread that may or may not have proved to be a saving. The important thing with the freezer is to have it serve you well, to ensure that it makes your cooking from scratch easier, that it offer you a means to manage fresh produce well.
The Europeans seem to set the pace in so many aspects of being green, I suspect that living in an area of high population density where you have many neighbours — literally and on your national borders — makes you more conscious of the outward effects of your personal decisions.
Though I’m not a girly girl I do use skincare products as well as some makeup, I like to know what I’m using, what’s in it and where it came from. My serendipitous stumble onto Nath’s blog last year has been a total win.
In June of The Simple HomeRhonda discusses food preserving and food storage. Preserving can be a big deal, I think many of us who live simply have a mental image of a lovely huge pantry filled with colourful jars of preserved food but we may not have the time and the resources to produce this. Similarly, food storage can suggest a massive prepper-style stockpile which isn’t my personal goal although it is for some, as always, Rhonda encourages us to preserve and store what is right for us.
Currently my time is limited by my outside job so I preserve less than I’d like, all the same I do make small batches of jams/marmalades, pickles etc. As we don’t produce large amounts of fruit and vegetables my preserving produce comes from buying cheap end-of-season produce at the greengrocer’s or markets, or the bounty of kind friends.
With small batches we can enjoy eating or giving away superb food items, there is simply no comparison between home preserved and bought items.
I also use the freezer as a preserving tool. For us it’s not worth investing in sides of meat but it is worth occasionally doubling a purchase if the price is good (particularly at the fishmonger’s), double cooking also means that I have a meal for another night (no prep!) or multiple single portions for lunches.
A couple of months ago a friend generously gave me a few kilos of black cherries which are still languishing on a freezer shelf as I didn’t have time to make jam then but they are waiting to become a winter treat. Over at the Forum I learned that I could simply pack them tightly in a sturdy plastic bag and flash freeze for future cooking. No blanching!
I have a good dehydrator but am yet to exploit it thoroughly, I’d be interested to know if you have tips in that area.
My stockpile consists of pasta, grain, flours, tinned items that help me to cook well and easily from scratch. I rarely shop for supermarket items more often than fortnightly, sometimes less often, which saves my time, sanity and money.
I don’t know about you but I have a terrible time trying to buy winter clothes of good quality that are made from natural fibres — preferably wool! — in a sustainable way. Although I don’t sew (yet) I do knit but my list of projects hasn’t included a garment for me for a while.
Over at the DTE Forum we’ve been rocking along with our Simply Organised Challenge. One of the ideas we’ve been discussing is the once-a-week plan where we look to the week ahead anticipating when we’ll wash (do laundry), do cleaning tasks, pay bills, go the supermarket, fold/iron dry clothes, menu plan etc.
I’ve planned household tasks for the last fifteen or so years, I plan not to produce an extensive to-do list but to cover the essentials and then some so that my mind doesn’t become a stage for a mental siege on “Will I/ Won’t I?” It’s easy to fall into the trap of procrastination — surfing the Web, checking email or Facebook status and find that not only have you not achieved very much you haven’t actually benefitted from that diversionary activity on the most mediocre of entertainment levels.
The avid gardeners among you will be entertained by my hesitant start with The Simple Home Year. Rhonda’s April chapter deals with Food gardening in containers offering a careful guide on how to get started, one that even novices like me can learn from.
For years Tony has worked our small vegetable garden area, he was the obvious choice because he’s the one with “green fingers”. Until now my gardening skills amounted to looking at seed packets, occasionally dropping a seed into soil, harvesting and telling him when the Gardenate email had arrived.
But skills need to be built so, as the relaunch of the blog and my project for The Simple Home Year occured in April, Food gardening in containers is my first blog Simple Home Year project.