Tuesday, March 24, 2009

not 'ur grams tissue box

Busy putting my home inorder in ancipation of spring arriving soon.
Last week I came across a stash of plastic canvas bought last Summer @ a nearby street sale, no the street wasn't for sale just a group of neighbors who staged a massive street long tag sale. Now that I have all this free time on my hands I finally got around to converting these to useful food preservation tools.
I scored each plastic canvas for a dime. If your unable to catch a good find don't forget that some of the major chain craft stores offer coupons. Pick a canvas with a small patterned mesh since you'll want these screens to dehydrate items such as herbs & diced celery.
Directions : Take the 1 mesh screen that comes with your dehydrator and use it as a pattern to trace and cut more screen using plastic canvas. Instead of using a marker to trace the circle I pined a screen using clothes pins as my guide. If your screen less from the get go then you'll have to trace a pattern using one of the dehydrator trays. Trim to fit.

I've been trying to work up a barter deal for ingredients to make gourmet brown mustard. Thought I would kick off this year's canning season early using a recipe from Ball Complete Book of Home Preservering page 274, Oktoberfest Beer Mustard. I can already taste this on a white hot !
I found a bottle of beer in the cellar but am still short on brown mustard seed.

UPC update: Third straight month that I've been wrong.
This month the main reasons have & will be due to pork. Last week my bbgf (barter buddy/girlfriend) was shopping @ the local mega market & came across a loss leader sale on pork. The catch was that the pork was packaged in "family packs" of 10 pounds each having a varied assortment of chops & bone in roasts. Long story short after calling me and getting no answer she made an executive decision & bought me a "family pack" too. There was added stress since these were the last two on the shelf coupled with the fact that $ is tight I am on sabbatical after all.
$26 over budget for pork @ $1.38 per pound.
In the next few days I'll be spending $108.50 for half of a half pig that will be butchered this coming week. Same bbgf was cut in on this deal unexpectedly when someone else backed out.
If our math is good should work out to $1.40 per pound (really need to generate more savings to offset this expense).
These two deals got me to thinking about creating opportunities to take advantage of food opps.
Here's what I have come up with - giving a gift card to that one person who thinks & shops as I do (that being my bbgf) so when they're in the right place @ the right time they can snag me a deal too without a cash flow issue.
I'll ask her if she wants me to hold a gift card for her in the same way.

~~ pelenaka ~~

P.S. 3/26/09 My share of the pork came to $128 after all was said & done with the cost of the pig, butchering, & wrapping. So far there's 25 pounds of pork neatly tucked in my freezer.
Along with 17 pounds 5 oz. of pig fat. Anyone besides me see a post on rendering lard in my future?
Everything from Polish & Italian sauage, Chops, Loin Roast, Shoulder steak, & Spare Ribs.
Works out to $5.12 per pound as of right now.
Not sure if the lard was figured into my cost share.
Baccon and hams as being smoked so it will be interesting to see what my share will be of those and the over all final tally.
This pork along with the last purchase that my bbgf scored should with planning last a year other than needing an occassional slab of baccon now & then.


  1. OOh, making your own mustard. Great ideal. I did that once, not canning it but just to make it and it was HOT! How did you get a barter buddy, is that just between the two of you or did you sign up for some website or something.

  2. Excellent idea...And those are really good pork prices.

  3. Thanks, Dianeax00 I sure hope so on the pork.
    It's giving me stress since purchasing meat on the hoof is alot different than viewing packages on a shelf.

    Patrice, give me a few days & I'll pst my methods for finding a barter buddy.

  4. I think the gift card idea is a great solution to taking advantage of sales while avoiding cash flow issues.

    I guess I do have a barter buddy, in a sense. I got to keep half the harvest from her pomegranate tree in exchange for teaching her how to process them and how to can the jelly (using my canning equipment - she bought her own jars - and energy). We harvested prickly pear fruits together and again processed them at my place. When her neighbor's lemon tree was loaded, we both went over and harvested the upper 2/3 of the tree - fruit that is usually left to rot. We kept what we could use and donated the rest to the Food Bank. She juiced a bunch for the neighbor and gives it to her frozen. I gave the neighbor some lemon-honey syrup as well.

    My goal when we move to a new community is to develop many bartering relationships!

  5. By the way, thanks for the great idea on the mesh. I've a few that came with yard sale dehydrators but need more. (Picked up two extra dehydrators with lots of trays at yard sales for 5 bucks each. Sold one of them, with only the standard two trays, for 5 bucks.)

  6. I'd like to take credit for the idea of using plastic craft canvas but it was actually Husband who suggested it one day when I was over loading the orginal mesh insert that came with my good old Roncho dehydrator.

    Chili, what I wouldn't give to have a barter buddy with a pomegranate tree!
    On the concept of exchanging grocery store gift cards doesn't this work out great for those of us to bike or simply don't get out often enough to snag those great deals?
    I wish that thrift stores such as Aunt Sally's a.k.a. Salvation Army issued gift cards.

  7. Should I admit that my friend is going to ship me pomegranates after I move? And another will ship me fresh citrus? I, of course, will be shipping them jellies made with fresh berries and fruit from the Midwest.

    Yeah, I know: postage costs. But, we plan to do flat rate boxes to keep the cost down as much as possible.


Thanks, good to know there are other's with this interest