I started another Facebook group called More With Less a few days ago and invited about 25 of my friends. We now have over 100 people, many I don’t know personally, who have joined us in the effort to offer tips of all kinds and funny things to help us all get through these unusual times. Join us.
My husband posted an easy recipe to make glazed donuts and opined he wished I would make some. So, anyone who knows me appreciates that I like to bake. I have a sweet tooth. This is an ongoing issue and my weight exhibits my hobby. Over the past few years, I made a decision to stop baking so often and started only baking when we were planning to go somewhere for dinner or having guests here. (I dropped 50 pounds but that was not the only change I made.)
So the ONLY way I will attempt to make those donuts is if I will share output…because heaven knows I have no off button and would eat more than a reasonable person without this addiction would.
So that got me thinking about all food preservation end results. The recipe ALWAYS gives you more than you need to eat at one time. I’ve collected a lot of recipes to consider for Can-Do Real Food and they might produce 2-12 jars. Super! Two jars are perfect for immediate use and shelf storage, but once you get above that, you just don’t need that much jam. Pasta sauce is another story.
My point is, plan that once you get into preservation, you will have a partner to trade with. Neither of you needs to prepare 100% of your own food need. In fact, I would love to pair up with someone who has skills I have not perfected, like fermenting. I could make pickles but I just don’t. So, it would be fun to trade. And perhaps your food partner could be the grower of the garden and you preserve for that family and YOURS.
Each winter a group of people has gathered in the Carnegie Room at the McMinnville Public Library for a swap session. Over the years I have enjoyed other people’s apple cider, jam with fruit I never have been able to access and a few other vegetable concoctions. I even scored a small container of homemade deodorant! My point is that while a swap session is out of bounds right now, an arrangement with one of two other friends can lighten the load and allow for sharing the surplus above the amount you prepare that you can reasonably expect to eat.
I’ve read with a bit of discomfort that some people eat home-canned items that might be 5 or 6 years old. There are ways to be mostly certain that the food is safe to eat, but if you preserve the amount you do eat and only preserve those items in high quantity that you know you will consume, you can keep your home pantry to a reasonable amount. Over producing leads to storage space issues AND increases your risk of food decaying in QUALITY over a long time before you might eat it.
I’ll talk more tomorrow about those “expiration” dates on commercially packaged foods and how to think about them safely.