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Dad post: Better frugality through appliance acquisition

August 27, 2009

We’ve had a run on appliances. . . That’s a big deal for a luddite such as myself. But these, I think really are worth the weight in coal they consume. For me it is both sad and frustrating to see such powerful devices designed for the scope and scale for use by the average homemaker to preserve, process, and prepare their own food gather dust in the corner of a cluttered pantry or kitchen while the Starbucks culture forgoes these options for the frozen meal-in-a-box, grocery store convenience of what more often than not basically amount to the modern suburban MRE; dog food for humans who are perfectly comfortable being “kept”, all the while maintaining the illusion that they are free and independent. There is no genuine independence without food independence.

First Mrs. scored us a vacuum sealing FoodSaver doohickey at some ridiculous sale price, and at such an opportune time when my home-grown hops were (I hope) at their peak of readiness and potency. With this harvest I was able to glean 1 oz. of Cascade, and 3 oz. of Brewer hops, each weighed out and packaged in single use portions. But better still it allows us to vacuum seal cuts of meat and a myriad of other stuff that I’ve seen all too often end up in the trash.

For a while I’ve had a food dehydrator that I’ve used over the many years, mainly for making a favorite jerky recipe. But, lately, Pops has been using it almost to the point of exhaustion (the appliance, not him) from preserving a bumper crop of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and some more stuff from the garden. Tomato chips, where certainly strange, are actually very good to eat as they are, put on stuff like pizza, or reconstitute into sauces, etc. He replaced my old one with a revved-up stainless steel model with an adjustable heat setting making it perfect for curing herbs. Again, very timely for drying my hop flowers! As soon as I can find some London broil or bottom round steak at a good price I’ll plan to make some beef jerky again; it’s been a while.

And then yesterday Mrs. locates a smaller chest freezer on craigslist offered for $95. So we scored that on the way home from work this evening. This, I’m hoping, will help us better manage food storage giving us more room to actually set food aside – bulk grocery trips to better take advantage of sale opportunities for the sole purpose of freezing, intentional food-saving and, hopefully, reduce the amount of produce that goes into the worm bin (worms should eat free!) I foresee cold winter days when we actually spend entire afternoons preparing sauces, pastries, entrees, and a host of other foods, together as a family, to stock the freezer as time and space allow. Yes, the dried, vacuum-sealed hops go into the freezer, ready for the next brew day!

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