I noticed yesterday that Bushy Park had tomatoes for 49 cents a kilo (around 22 cents a pound for U.S. readers). That's a really good price so of course I bought some - it will be a few months before I have tomatoes to pick from the garden. They were ripe-ish but not really ripe, so they're on the bench for a couple of days. Once they're properly ripe I'll quarter them and put them into the dehydrator for semi dried tomatoes for the summer. I love them in salads or on crackers, but refuse to pay $20 a kilo (or more) for them.
I have plans to make relish too. Some for us and some to put in the Christmas hampers.
These two grocery items will be added to our food stockpile, extending it and adding variety, but even better giving us more tasty food to enjoy for less.
Pellegrinos have 10 kilo bags of onions for $2.99 this week. I use a lot of onion and nearly always buy them by the bag. I also use a lot of onion flakes, especially in spag bol sauce, onion gravy, meatloaf, rissoles and meatballs. I have been buying onion flakes from Hindustan Imports but this lot is going to be sliced, dried and then crushed into flakes. http://www.hindustan.com.au/
I've been thinking about long-term food storage this week, the tomatoes and onions were a good reminder that there are alternative methods of preserving that I (or you) can easily utilise. We don't often have a blackout (I can only remember one in all the time we've been in this house) but I do often wonder what would happen if the power was out for more than a couple of days.
The freezer is always full of meat, chicken, vegetables and fruits and while cooking and eating some of it would be possible, saving all of it before it went bad would be nigh on impossible, especially without power.
Dehydrating is a simple way of preserving food. One big advantage is that dried foods don't take up a lot of space. You can use the oven to dry food, or you can use a solar dehydrator (easy to set up and use, and ideal for Australian summers), you can smoke meats, you bottle fruit and some vegetables using the hot water bath method, you can can food, including cooked meat dishes, using a pressure canner. There are a lot of options for homemakers.
I have a bottling outfit and the dehydrator that I use. I could make use of them more and that's what I'll be doing from now on.
During the next week I'll be busily drying tomatoes and onions (10kg for $2.99 at Pellegrinos) to add to the stockpile, content in knowing that I've saved us a lot of money.
What methods do you use to preserve food for your family stockpile?