Saturday, July 18, 2009
This is my still.
This is my still making wild black raspberry juice.
J.J. (just joking) this is a Steam Juicer that DH bought me like about a zillion years ago @ a Good Will store for under $20. Normally retails for upwards of $130 new so I can't really say that it's a must but if you score one for a great price it's one piece of home preservation equipment that's nice to have. Otherwise the old school method of cheese cloth/white cotton pillow case to create a jelly bag works just as well.
I actually am only using it because my girl group (church not a song & dance act), is working on making jams & jelly's. So rather than having numerous jelly bags strung out all over the church kitchen I recalled that this contraption was in a corner of the cellar.
The reason I wrote still is that is what the gals all asked me when I set it on the stove during a PW work day. Apparently I look like the type of urban homesteader to have a still.
Even more droll since the average age of my gal pals is like 6o. Kinda makes ya wonder what they were up to in their youth huh?
Plan is to freeze what I collect until I have enough of a good size batch to create something. Really already have enough jelly from last year's canning season so I am thinking perhaps juice.
Which is what I really need allot of since daughter's cleared us out of all the previous years grape juice a total of 54 quarts plus 5 quarts found hidden which = 59 half gallons.
The Steam Juicer didn't come with a manual so I am winging it. Steamed the berries for 30 minutes to extract the juice. Need to see about either buying a copy of the manual or downloading a copy. I'm sure there is more to this "still" than I realize.
Here's the picking field err spot really. By spot I mean a tiny spot. Behind the garage where there is very little sun & I haven't fertilized.
Gotta love totally free & easy!
Update on Urban Pantry Challenge - All the produce that I have either frozen or dehydrated this week either gifted or from DH's garden.
Canned up 9 pts. of Almond flavored Cherries that came from the same canning factory as last year. Difference this is year that I bartered for a smaller amount with my bbgf. Still have canned cherries left from last year. Cherries came pitted. Traded a new granyware canning pot with rack & a jar lifter. My accessed value for the canning equipment was $20 although I had only paid under $5 @ an auction. Threw in a dozen Ball canning jars NIB that was gifted to me.
Sunday DH & I went to the local Mega Mart to pick up a few items since we both were craving grilled burgers. Ended up spending $54.48 for the following items; one cuke @ 50¢ (dumb on our part as in a week or so we will have cucumbers from our garden), four ears of Sweet Corn @ 30¢ each, one tomato on the vine 62¢ (refer to the foolishness of buying a cuke), boneless pork loin discounted to $1.99/lbs. bought 2 packages which totaled slightly over 17 lbs. Cost of pork was $32.90. Also bought a package of Italian Sausage $7.02, and ground beef patties that were discounted $12.24.
All the meat was repackaged in to family size servings. The pork loins worked out to be 6 packages. The Italian Sausages 3 meals. Ground beef patties 2 packages of 8 burgers each.
Within the next week I will be spending in the neighborhood of $300 on a 1/3 of a cow. This should be the last time I need to buy beef until next July.
Since it's just the two of us for the rest of the Summer I have been crock potting meals for later eating. Cooked one of the pork loins in White Wine, Garlic, Rosemary, (garlic & Rosemary both from garden). Combined with a garden salad & wax beans from DH's community garden allotment it was a nice dinner.
Few weeks ago an avid coupon shopper gave a seminar on couponing/rebating after church service. We exchanged emails to arrange possible bartering opps. This is a better alternative for me than dragging out to the store coupons in hand for the small percentage of items that I do buy.
The conversation went as follows -
I was wondering if you would be interested in bartering? Since my household runs on more of old fashioned methods couponing really doesn't work for me.
Oh, but it could. What items do you buy on a weekly basis?
Don't really shop weekly. What I buy is items like toilet paper, bleach, vinegar, really items that I can't make myself. Sugar is a biggy since I can. I was wondering if you might consider bartering. Gallon of bleach for a loaf of homemade bread? I bake rye or a half whole wheat loaf.
Well here's an offer for Domino Sugar 50¢ off if you buy 10 packets of Kool-Aid. Kool-Aid is on sale this week...
At that point I really hoped I had a good poker face on.
I stopped discussing my method of food preservation in times of bounty because this was a woman who fed her children colored sugar water. I was talking Apples & she was busy filing store receipts for later rebate use.
Don't get me wrong coupons work great. The concept would work magic for me if I could find coupons for items such as canning lids. Washing soda. All the items that I can't buy in a store brand/generic version. Hmm the only thing that jumps out @ me is washing soda. Beer. Primo coffee. And tp ofcourse. I'm not that much of a homesteader to make my own.
The other aspect is of course if my trading commodity costs me less than what I traded it for.
Can I bake a loaf of bread for less than the cost of a gallon of bleach?
Well I did score 100 lbs. of locally grown wheat of which I still have 2/3 left... and I still have 1/3 of a bushel of organic rye. Will need to barter for butter, dry milk, white flour, yeast, & salt too. If I'm savy enough we just may be eatting our bread for free.
Provided that the wood stove is installed this fall which will provide the means to bake.
Otherwise will have to factor in the electricity that my 1949 Hotpoint stove sucks down.
~~ pelenaka ~~