Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Low Carb Frugal Shopping 2009

Let's face it.......buying food in 2009 is very expensive! Switching to low carb eating has changed the kind of food I purchase. I had plenty of food stored in my pantry and now my poor husband ends up eating it! Potatoes, beets, carrots, dried beans, rice, pasta, cornmeal, bread flours, etc. Look at the kind of food I was eating! All very high carbs! It's no wonder I felt so bad. Now I am changing the way I buy and what I can store. I would like to see my husband switched over to this Low Carb plan too. He could just start on the maintaining program. He is a willing subject as he thinks the other way of eating is not healthy.

I have always grown lots of salad vegetables. Especially greens and different varieties of lettuce. They are very easy to grow and can be started early directly in the ground as soon as your frost date is reached. I have two planters that are like is a double sink that is used in milk houses for washing the milking equipment. It is above my waist so I do not have to bend down or squat to pick. I have another one that is a double galvanized sink that is what people used for washing clothes and they would attach a wringer to it. Both of these I use for growing my salad greens. Just fill it up with seeds. They grow close but I like it that way. I can pick them every day through out the summer and some of the fall. You can plant in any container you find. I get my compost from my manure pile. With three horses you get alot of manure! Our horses do not take any kind of drugs or medications so it clean compost.

I have raised beds all over the place. I fill them with tomatoes, green beans, spinach, swiss chard, green peppers, hot peppers,onions, zucchini, yellow summer squash, pumpkins and winter squash. Some of them will not be ready in the summer......more like late summer or early fall. So what I do is to go to my local farmer's markets and buy there and get enough to eat fresh and to can for the winter. If you can find heirloom seeds you can save the seeds from your plants and not have to purchase them next year. I have one cherry tomato that I bought about 4 or 5 years ago that grows wild all around us. It is wonderful! Then when my plants come up I have more to can or store (I have an old fashioned root cellar and can store fresh vegetables and fruits down there as well as some home made cheese).

I have two raised stone beds that I planted strawberry plants in last year. I am waiting to see if they come up this year like they are supposed to. They kind of took over the beds and I wasn't sure if they would survive. Last year I also planted a huge garlic bed with some awesome garlic I got from my friend. One other plant I started last year was my Rhubarb and I am looking forward to seeing how that comes up. I am hoping to add berry bushes. I already have wild blueberries, elderberries, raspberries and strawberries, but would like to add the domestic kind. The wild ones are good, but so tiny. Asparagus beds is something I need to add as well.

I love the idea of growing most of our food. This year I would also like to put in some Stevia plants. My friend had it growing in her garden last year and that was the first time I tried it. So I could see drying alot of that. I have always grown herbs and will just throw a handful of different ones in our salads. I dry them for the winter and use them mostly in cooking but also make teas or infusions with some.

All I would have to do then is to order fresh meats from local farmers who offer it for sale. Anything you want that you don't grow or need more of, you can buy at the local farmer's markets or farms. Sometimes you can get good deals on it if you buy it in bulk. Put "Local Harvest" in Google and you will find a search engine that will give you a list of local farms and markets and CSA's right near where you live.

All of this food is less expensive than what you purchase in a grocery store......and much better quality. I am making a plan for purchasing the meat as I do not own a freezer or a refrigerator. So I have to bring it home and can it immediately. According to NY state law I believe the meat has to be flash frozen by the processor anyway, so I have time to let it thaw out a bit before I cook it for the canning process. Canning meat is not as hard as many people think it is. I really like it as it flavors up real good in the jar and it lasts for years (if it makes it that long!). Remember when you do this know what is in it!