One of the keys to feeding your family wholesome meals for less is to know when to buy and at what price. And then… what to do with all that food?!
Nell asked “How do you balance using your stockpile? I mean, does it burn that you have to use zuchinni, zuchinni, zuchinni right NOW or are you able to just wait for the right time and HOW on earth do you do that? If I have a lot of something, then I just feel like I have to hurry up and use it right NOW and I know that’s kind of been counterproductive for me and I’m not getting the best out of the sales and coupons, etc. I’d love any hints you could spare.
Thanks for the question, Nell!
And yes… we are getting a little tired of zucchini around here right now.
Here’s how I balance my stockpile, and I can’t wait to hear all of your tips!
- I am blessed with two refrigerator freezers and a large chest freezer. I don’t know what I’d do without all of my food storage space!
- I don’t can… yet. I have made and canned jelly, but it’s been many years and 3 children ago. My goal in the next year or two is to gather canning supplies so I can take some of the load off of my freezers.
- When I find a screaming deal on produce that can be stored for the long-term, I buy it up. That’s how I ended up with 30 pounds of apples in a few short weeks. We ate some of the apples fresh, I tossed some in muffins and oatmeal, then I made lots and lots of applesauce. The applesauce is stored in my freezer in 2-4 cup containers. I can use it all year to make apple fruit leather, sub applesauce for some oil in baking recipes, and… of course… to eat with meals or after school snacks.
- Other produce I’ve stocked up on this summer: zucchini (obviously) strawberries ($1/lb.) and blueberries ($1.29/pint). We’ve eaten a lot of zucchini in every which way this summer, but I’ve also shredded and frozen plenty that will last me throughout the year for baking. I laid the strawberries and blueberries out on cookie sheets, froze them, and bagged them in gallon-sized bags. (I only bought 4 pints of blueberries. Keep hoping to find them at a better price.) Frozen strawberries are $1.77/lb. at the store, so I jumped on the $1/lb. fresh ones. Strawberries are a main ingredient in the smoothies that we love so much. I can also use them for ice cream and strawberry topping for pancakes and waffles.
- While it’s tempting (very tempting) to eat up all the strawberries and blueberries as fast as we can, we don’t. We eat some, but we also eat other in season, low-priced fruit. Soon we’ll have dozens of cantaloupe from the garden. We’ll be eating lots of that, so the strawberries can wait.
- Our tomatoes are just starting to turn red. I sure hope I end up with enough cherry tomatoes to flash freeze and bag this year. They came in so handy last winter in soups and chili.
- Sometimes there will be a sale and coupon matches for packaged food items that I normally don’t buy. When I can get a box of granola bars for under 50¢ per box, I go for it. Last spring I purchased a dozen boxes this way. We still have several boxes, and with all the coupons I’ve seen lately… I’d bet that another sale is coming soon. The granola bars (and any other not-so-healthy packaged food) are stored on shelves in our basement. Out of site, out of mind. Then, when I have a food emergency (spur of the moment trip out of town, healthy-food friend’s hungry children visiting) or need a special treat for our ballgame bag, I’ve got a supply ready.
Basically, I buy at the right price and then store the food to be used as needed. What tips and tricks do you have for making the most of your stockpile?
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