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Food Cheep food easily obtainable food preps
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  1. #1
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    Cheep food easily obtainable food preps

    It has been a while since we have done one of these and it might be helpful to newbies. With the state of the world and country there are probably more than a few who have had a sudden epiphany and decided it was time to start putting a few things by .... just in case.

    I'm not prepping like I once did. If there is a few months food storage I'll be happy. If little or no food is let go out of date or at least to far out of date I'll be ecstatic. So this is not an exhaustive list just a few ideas on how to have a little extra on hand with out destroying the budget or using the plastic. Most of the stuff comes right from the grocery store or Amish bulk food store.

    I ignore the serving size on the packages and use the serving size of what we actually eat. I figure what that comes to and call it one family meal. Then I multiply that amount by the number of that type of meal I want on hand.

    Breakfast items
    Oat meal (the round containers with the happy Quaker not the packets - to expensive!)
    Grits
    Tang, Instant Breakfast and generic multi-vitamins
    Tea & Coffee
    Brown sugar, cinnamon, honey
    Canned Spam, corned beef hash, our hens keep us in eggs
    canned fruit

    Lunch
    Peanut butter
    Strawberry jam, grape jelly
    crackers are a staple here, bread we freeze
    canned soup
    Hot coco mix* (some times packets are easier than scratch)

    Dinner
    Rice, dehydrated potato flakes, pasta
    Canned soups, spaghetti sauce, clam sauce, Alfredo sauce*
    Teriyaki, stir fry sauce*
    Canned meat*, SPAM, small canned hams, canned salmon and tuna
    Canned veges, apple sauce

    Desert
    Instant pudding, box cake mix*, canned apple pie filling

    *A lot of stuff I can and have made from scratch but in an emergency or when exercising mature wisdom (Too d@## tired to care) ready to eat or almost ready to eat can be a nice to have option.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  2. #2
    I agree with your list but would add the basic ingredients for bread, cornbread, muffins, cookies etc. I want the option to make my own in case the freezer supply runs dry.

    I have home canned meats primarily chicken, but some beef and pork. A pint of chicken added to rice or noodles can provide a lot of servings.

    I also like to have a good assortment of freeze dried fruits on-hand to add to my oat meal or muffins. I discovered shelf stable milk for $1 per quart at Dollar Tree and try to keep that on-hand. I don't drink milk but the milk is quite good on cereal and I'm sure would work in puddings or as an ingredient in other dishes. One thing I discovered is that the use by date for the shelf stable milk is one that you need to pay attention to...it isn't good much past that date.

    Since I do not have chickens, I try to always have 3 to 4 dozen eggs on-hand plus I have dried egg powder. I'd also add canned broth to your canned soup. I make a lot of homemade soups and often use canned broth as a base.

    Popcorn makes a good snack. Its cheap when you buy the bags of corn and not the microwave stuff.

    Don't forget cooking oils, shortening, butter etc. as fats are an essential part of our diets.

  3. #3
    Good suggestions. I would add:

    Canned meat: Spam, chicken, roast beef, tuna, ham

    Plastic bags of mashed potatos

    cans veggies - potatos, corn, beans, mixed veggies

  4. #4
    Pancake mix (or the ingredients for it) and syrup or jam should be included. Its pretty cheap. I can buy 20 pounds and a gallon of syrup for $25. There is something about pancakes that makes life better. If tshtf, then the little things count.

  5. #5
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    Powdered milk can be made a little more palatable by adding a drop or two of vanilla flavoring.

    A minister I knew claimed that powdered Jello could be watered down and used as a beverage to encourage people to drink to help in hydration. Some people refused to drink straight water. She found buying this in bulk to be a less expensive alternative to drinks like Gatorade. YMMV but I think it has a longer shelf life as well.

    Polenta, corn meal mush, is cheap, easy to make, can be served like grits or oatmeal or after being allowed to stiffen in a refrigerated pan can be sliced and fried.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  6. #6
    I recently discovered canned diced potatoes. They sure are handy.

  7. #7
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    There is a allot of goods on the shelf many don't know about like vaccum sealed packages of tuna and chicken and that have a desent shelf life of about three years.

    Do home canned foods count? Look for sales on chicken and you can it up at home. Its easy! Debone and remove skin place in jar leaving the normal space from the top of jar and fill with water, and into the prissure cooker for 90 munutes or 1 1/2 hour works out the same and its done.
    Now we add a boullion cube to the botton of each jar for a quart jar and cut it half for pints, beef or chicken does not matter both work. We do make a fair number of pints with canned meat's and the timing is the same for all meats.
    You can also can home grown or store bought potatos just look it up on YouTube and they can last for years on the shelf.
    Last edited by Publius; 02-24-2018 at 05:17 PM.

  8. #8
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    Do remember anything with a germ and bran once cracked is not suitable for long term storage. Flour, coffee, mixes etc, all are subject to this. Once ground, cracked, or roasted it starts the chemical process of going rancid.

    How long they last depends on the item and storage conditions, but I've never known any of it to go past ten years.

    I would suggest a four stage stage system.
    1. Perishable - Anything that last less than two weeks.
    2. Short term - Anything that will last longer than two weeks, but not more than two to three years.
    3. Mid term - Anything that can go three to ten years favoring the longer term.
    4. Long term - Anything that will go ten to indefinite years or a minimum of fifteen.
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  9. #9
    Re: Jello - It can be used to help with diarrhea - mix it with boiling water, allow to cool to a temp that won't burn your mouth when you sip it, and drink it down.

    A tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding mixed with dry milk prior to mixing it improves both flavor and 'mouth feel'.

    I stock a lot of the little milk carton shaped packages of Hungry Jack dehydrated hashbrowns as they are very versatile. Throw a few dehyrated onions in the top of the container when you rehydrate them for added flavor when you make hashbrowns, and once you have your hashbrowns almost to the cooked state you want them, crack a couple eggs on top and then stir them in - stretches the eggs and adds some protein to the dish. They can be used for scalloped/au gratin/cheesy potato dishes; and also can be used in cassaroles and soups; and to make mashed potatoes in a pinch (they have a slightly 'gritty' texture.)

    Chicken breast gets about a 1/4 tsp of salt per pint jar; and I have canned some chicken breast with a scant half teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning (the 'secret' ingredient in my chicken salad lol!) per jar but prefer to season the chicken afterwards rather than be tied down to certain recipes by the seasonings. Cubed beef and ground beef are both canned with a broth made with a packet of onion soup mix diluted x 4.

  10. #10
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    Okay...maybe a thread drift here but can anyone suggest a decent canned ham? I have the freeze dried ham chunks but I don't have any ready to go stuff. I like to have all three states...fresh to use for right now meals, canned for "whoops, I forget to buy some but there is some canned so I CAN finish that recipe, and freeze dried for ts has hit tf and a nary a pig in sight.

    TIA!
    Needs more cowbell.
    "The Constitution only gives people the right to persue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." --Benjamin Franklin
    Proud member of fly-over country

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Josie View Post
    Okay...maybe a thread drift here but can anyone suggest a decent canned ham? I have the freeze dried ham chunks but I don't have any ready to go stuff. I like to have all three states...fresh to use for right now meals, canned for "whoops, I forget to buy some but there is some canned so I CAN finish that recipe, and freeze dried for ts has hit tf and a nary a pig in sight.

    TIA!
    I'd split that canned ham into three categories - whole ham in the 1lb cans - pulled pork by a packer like Keystone - then some Spam or the cheaper grade luncheon pack ....
    Illini Warrior

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie View Post
    Okay...maybe a thread drift here but can anyone suggest a decent canned ham? I have the freeze dried ham chunks but I don't have any ready to go stuff. I like to have all three states...fresh to use for right now meals, canned for "whoops, I forget to buy some but there is some canned so I CAN finish that recipe, and freeze dried for ts has hit tf and a nary a pig in sight.

    TIA!
    Does it have to be canned ham? The Original Smithfield cured hams keep for a long time without refrigeration. Yeah they have to have the outside layer of mold scrubbed off and be soaked in several changes of water each day for a few days to get rid of some of the salt before cooking and eating. It can be hard to find north of the Mason-Dixson. Yes I've had it, add a small amount to beans while they are cooking.... mmmmmm good.

    Pilot bread, hard tack or ship's biscuits is another old timey food than has samples over a hundred years old people have reportedly nibbled on. They can be bought and are still a thing at historical reenactment and in Alaska. There are how to videos on Youtube to make it at home. Warning: there is a reason Civil War Soldiers called it Tooth-Duller. Make and eat it at your own risk.

    Found this thread on hard tack.
    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...6837-Hard-Tack
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 02-24-2018 at 10:18 PM.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josie View Post
    Okay...maybe a thread drift here but can anyone suggest a decent canned ham? I have the freeze dried ham chunks but I don't have any ready to go stuff. I like to have all three states...fresh to use for right now meals, canned for "whoops, I forget to buy some but there is some canned so I CAN finish that recipe, and freeze dried for ts has hit tf and a nary a pig in sight.

    TIA!
    We store DAK brand for mid term. Unopened, undamaged, stored at 68-72F we've found it to goes eight years before noticeable degradation. We shave two years off of that to be safe. It's best by date is usually 2-3 years as coded on the can.
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  14. #14
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    Keep an eye on the SPAM cans. I had one that the lid bulged and was was still in date. Tossed the can without opening it. We still eat SPAM now and then.
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 02-24-2018 at 10:03 PM.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    Keep an eye on the SPAM cans. I had one that the lid bulged and was was still in date. Tossed the can without opening it. We still eat SPAM now and then.
    Out of curiosity, was the can dented or otherwise damaged other than the lid bulge?
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayku View Post
    Out of curiosity, was the can dented or otherwise damaged other than the lid bulge?
    No. Not that I could see.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    No. Not that I could see.
    Thanks. I try to keep track of incidence of that sort of thing I hear.
    Facts?? We don't need no stinkin facts...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    Keep an eye on the SPAM cans. I had one that the lid bulged and was was still in date. Tossed the can without opening it. We still eat SPAM now and then.



    It can happen but I've seen or hear about very few that do go bad before it due date.

  19. #19
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    I plan to try my hand at making ghee. Ghee is unsalted butter that has had water and solids removed using heat. It is supposed to be shelf stable for a long time. Have any members experience with making, using and storing ghee at room temperature, especially at room temperature in a warm climate? Please share your experiences. Butter can get pricey and it would be nice to have a shelf stable equivalent. Jars or cans of ghee are available at ethnic grocery stores but seem a little expensive.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  20. #20
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    We finally got one of those memberships at one of those warehouse grocery stores. We had one with another warehouse store years ago. DH And I took a hike thru the dang thing seeing what they had. It will take some time to figure out whats worth the special trip there. Smart phones for price comparisons are a wonderful thing. Rice was less than half the price as the rice for sale at the Amish store and there was a much bigger selection. That was a win but the cost of the membership has not been covered yet.

    The strange thing I noticed was back when we had our old membership, people would leave the store with over flowing carts. No so with this store. The carts all seemed to have a handful of small items. There were some good prices but, people were not buying like they used to. It may have been an off time, day or not close enough to the end of the month?
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    We finally got one of those memberships at one of those warehouse grocery stores. We had one with another warehouse store years ago. DH And I took a hike thru the dang thing seeing what they had. It will take some time to figure out whats worth the special trip there. Smart phones for price comparisons are a wonderful thing. Rice was less than half the price as the rice for sale at the Amish store and there was a much bigger selection. That was a win but the cost of the membership has not been covered yet.

    The strange thing I noticed was back when we had our old membership, people would leave the store with over flowing carts. No so with this store. The carts all seemed to have a handful of small items. There were some good prices but, people were not buying like they used to. It may have been an off time, day or not close enough to the end of the month?

    if you hunt around and work it a bit - you can get a deal on one of those membership warehouses .... check to see if an association membership - like AARP - has a deal going .... also these warehouses like group memberships - see if your non-profit group - like a church or veterans - can get the entire bunch a membership deal .... some companies even include their employees with their warehouse membership - stock up on TP and cleaning supplies - give the employees a cheapie benefit .....
    Illini Warrior

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illini Warrior View Post
    if you hunt around and work it a bit - you can get a deal on one of those membership warehouses .... check to see if an association membership - like AARP - has a deal going .... also these warehouses like group memberships - see if your non-profit group - like a church or veterans - can get the entire bunch a membership deal .... some companies even include their employees with their warehouse membership - stock up on TP and cleaning supplies - give the employees a cheapie benefit .....
    I did try that with our old church. The bulk of parishioners were too posh to see the benefit or too proud to admit the need.

    Restaurant supply companies, commercial bulk food suppliers and food processors might be added to your list. Yes, I looked into doing this.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  23. #23
    Its much better to store individual ingredients rather than things like pancake mix, biscuit mix, cake mixes etc. After a time the leavening gets old and doesn't work.

    Cans with pull top lids will lose the seal if dropped or even bumped a bit. I hate the darn things because of that and the difficulty of opening with my arthritic hands. Spam has pull tops now. Anyone remember when they had a key?

    There are a lot of U-Tube videos about making ghee, canning butter and canning cheese. I haven't tried it myself yet.

  24. #24
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    I have gotten back to canning and put by a few quarts of chicken. I don't use pints because quarts store more meat and take up just a little more shelf space than pints. A pint had maybe enough meat for a day for a person but not worth it for a family. Shelf storage real estate and my time and energy are issues, so there is a need to prioritize. I use raw pack in my pressure canner, because unless I'm doing it wrong, more meat gets packed into the jar. Right now, boneless, skinless chicken breast meat is less than $2.00 a pound.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    I did try that with our old church. The bulk of parishioners were too posh to see the benefit or too proud to admit the need.

    Restaurant supply companies, commercial bulk food suppliers and food processors might be added to your list. Yes, I looked into doing this.


    hell - pick out a good day for everyone and load up the church bus - Costco would love to help load up the rear of a bus ....

    on the way home you can divide up that 200 count bundle of TP rolls ...
    Illini Warrior

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illini Warrior View Post
    hell - pick out a good day for everyone and load up the church bus - Costco would love to help load up the rear of a bus ....
    So not happening. I offered to give a class at the church on food preservation, canning etc. There was interest so I got all the equipment, ingredients, books, etc together and set a time and date. Two people showed up.

    Why go to all the bother of preserving food when you can buy it fresh at the store?
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    So not happening. I offered to give a class at the church on food preservation, canning etc. There was interest so I got all the equipment, ingredients, books, etc together and set a time and date. Two people showed up.

    Why go to all the bother of preserving food when you can buy it fresh at the store?
    Canning is pretty time consuming. That right there will knock out a good number of folks who would/could attend. I know how to and used to, but I have to work 40 hours a week to support myself, plus do all the other crap that comes with living..laundry, trash to the dump, house cleaning, ect...
    So yeah, I'm gonna buy my canned goods while I still can do so.
    "Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we will all face the choice between what is right, and what is easy."
    Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire.

    Luke 21:36

    A people who no longer recognize sin and evil, are not a people who will recognize tyranny and despotism either. Invar


    “During the course of your life you will find that things are not always fair. You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. But you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. Never, ever, ever give up!”

    - President Donald J. Trump

  28. #28
    A pint of home canned chicken can easily be stretched to feed a family. I use one pint of chicken, 2 or 3 cups of rice, cream of something soup (prefer chicken or mushroom), milk as needed to keep moist enough. Also can add broccoli or peas if you family likes them. A pint of chicken and homemade noodles served over mashed potatoes. A pint of chicken made into creamed chicken served over rice, biscuits, noodles or even toasted bread. A pint of chicken, a pint of tomatoes, diced potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, green beans, peas (fresh, canned, frozen or dehydrated), plus broth or tomato juice to make soup. To make the soup more hearty add rice, lentils, beans, barley or pasta. Scalloped chicken. Chicken/broccoli/alfredo sauce on pizzas.

    Most of the older ladies at my church spent their lives as farm wives gardening and canning. They now consider that work is what they've retired from.

    My dh's grandmother lived in a retirement home that also was a home for missionaries home on deputation or furlough. There was a farm attached to the home and I recall visiting one time when all the old ladies were sitting around a table in the kitchen snapping beans. I know gram loved being useful. I thought at the time, that is where I'd like to live when the time comes. It wasn't a nursing home but not exactly independent living either. Probably .gov has put in place rules that closed it down as this was over 40 years ago.

  29. #29
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    In season wild edibles usually do not come with a price tag. Fiddle heads, morale mushrooms and dandelions will be popping up soon. Trout season will be opening in a few weeks and a fishing license is not that expensive if used well and often.
    Last edited by Old Gray Mare; 03-24-2018 at 04:58 PM.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  30. #30
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    DH found canned chicken at Sam's Club that is a few cents cheaper per pound than the boneless skinless chicken breasts I've been canning. A side by side comparison might happening in the near future. I'm betting on my lean chicken breast canned in homemade broth. It is nice to have an option that does not include cooking and canning. Trade offs.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  31. #31
    My dh would not eat dark meat chicken, but when I cooked, picked off, diced and canned chicken hind quarters he never complained about the results in casseroles, cream sauces or soups. I have canned both turkey and chicken breasts, but actually prefer the hind quarters both for cost and taste. They do take more work canning them but the cost trade off makes it worthwhile for me.

  32. #32
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    I have a question, and can't find another suitable place to ask it other than here. My question is.....Is anyone else besides me finding that these new cans of veggies and cream of anything that have the pop top lids are going bad within a year?

    I use a lot of cream of chicken, cream of celery, and cream of mushroom soups. I had a huge supply of each in my pantry room, and thought I would use them down, before restocking. Now, I can't seem to find any brand that doesn't have the pop top lids. I bought a few of them, and within a year, they were ruined. I don't think these type of lids seal very well, and aren't meant to go past their expiration date. That doesn't help when I want a few cases of each to last a couple of years or longer.

    Does anyone know where to find these items in the non pop top lids? The only place I haven't searched is Aldi's.

  33. #33
    IMO....it's a purposeful move to stop long term storage...…..if they won't "keep" what is our choice? I shop a salvage store which often has canned/jarred foods from Canada and U.K...….the Canadian foods taste better and last longer IMO...…..buy glass jarred items and they'll last longer when stored in cooler/dark places...…..better than canned unless it's home canned...…..
    Sapphire

    myopically challenged

  34. #34
    This is not an answer to your question, but you might want to consider making a cream soup base to keep on hand.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBreeze View Post
    I have a question, and can't find another suitable place to ask it other than here. My question is.....Is anyone else besides me finding that these new cans of veggies and cream of anything that have the pop top lids are going bad within a year?

    I use a lot of cream of chicken, cream of celery, and cream of mushroom soups. I had a huge supply of each in my pantry room, and thought I would use them down, before restocking. Now, I can't seem to find any brand that doesn't have the pop top lids. I bought a few of them, and within a year, they were ruined. I don't think these type of lids seal very well, and aren't meant to go past their expiration date. That doesn't help when I want a few cases of each to last a couple of years or longer.

    Does anyone know where to find these items in the non pop top lids? The only place I haven't searched is Aldi's.

    it's no secret - the pop top can lids are both thinner and that "peel curf" is an overall weak spot >>>> what's worse that's coming on fast are poly bags - the industry predicts that cans will be gone entirely within a decade >>>> the food packaging industry luv it - the retail stores take the peg board over shelving any day - and they like the cost savings ....

    eventually it'll be re-canning if you want long term ....
    Illini Warrior

  36. #36
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    Thanks, All. For our food pantry prepping guide, I have several different quick and easy recipes that we like. I include in my preps all the different ingredients to make those recipes. The creamed soups are vital ingredients. Either I'm gonna have to come up with different recipes, or figure out substitutes for the cream soups. Not all of our food prep recipes depend on these, but a lot of them do. Maybe I can come up with more recipes that are bouillon based instead.

    I'm gonna check out a few more grocery stores, before I give up.

  37. #37
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    Spices such as dried or powdered onion, garlic, ginger, oregano, chili and cayenne pepper can significantly enhance and provide a variety in the taste of basic ingredients like beans, grains, pasta and rice. So can spice mixes like poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning and curry. They are not that expensive when bought in bulk. Sauces and flavorings like Worcestershire, Tabasco (or your favorite hot or BBQ sauce) and soy are also good for the same reason. Vanilla is getting a bit pricey.

    With mayo, olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and bits and bobs common to most pantries many types of commercial salad dressings can be duplicated in a home kitchen.
    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

  38. #38
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    [QUOTE=

    The strange thing I noticed was back when we had our old membership, people would leave the store with over flowing carts. No so with this store. The carts all seemed to have a handful of small items. There were some good prices but, people were not buying like they used to. It may have been an off time, day or not close enough to the end of the month?[/QUOTE]

    We have seen the same. People are getting comfortable. Not always a good thing

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    Spices such as dried or powdered onion, garlic, ginger, oregano, chili and cayenne pepper can significantly enhance and provide a variety in the taste of basic ingredients like beans, grains, pasta and rice. So can spice mixes like poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning and curry. They are not that expensive when bought in bulk. Sauces and flavorings like Worcestershire, Tabasco (or your favorite hot or BBQ sauce) and soy are also good for the same reason. Vanilla is getting a bit pricey.

    With mayo, olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and bits and bobs common to most pantries many types of commercial salad dressings can be duplicated in a home kitchen.
    We pick up large tubs of such things so that we not only save, but have the ability to spice up our bland items that are in storage.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Gray Mare View Post
    I plan to try my hand at making ghee. Ghee is unsalted butter that has had water and solids removed using heat. It is supposed to be shelf stable for a long time. Have any members experience with making, using and storing ghee at room temperature, especially at room temperature in a warm climate? Please share your experiences. Butter can get pricey and it would be nice to have a shelf stable equivalent. Jars or cans of ghee are available at ethnic grocery stores but seem a little expensive.
    You can pressure can butter, I am wondering if you can pressure can ghee? That would extend the life a little. Make sure that the jars have absolutely no grease left on them, or they won't seal. Don't use the same side of your wiping napkin on more than one jar, and you should be safe.
    No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson

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