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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Urban Homesteading; City Food Preservation

Everything that I have done to preserve food {drying, canning, freezing} can be done in an urban environment. To acquire a pressure canner and jars, look in a local paper, an estate sale in the country, relatives, Freecycle, Internet and local stores. Once you have your canner, take it to the county extension office, they will test your seals and the weight gauge to see if they are correct/safe. {They do this free}

Now that you have your canner, dehydrator or cheese cloth and baking sheet, now what? Now you need to come up with the food to preserve. Urban and suburban homesteaders do not have the room required to grow the abundance of food needed to live harvest to harvest. Even rural Homesteaders can find themselves falling short because of the unpredictability of raising food stuffs.

You need to try to plan ahead. Take time to sit down and decided what types of veggies and fruits you eat the most, and how often. Still, once this is completed, you may fall short of the true amount. This is when your first year needs some experimenting. Keep a journal of how fast or slowly certain preserved foods go. This will help you the next year and the next.

Buying your fruits and veggies in bulk will run you cheaper than daily or weekly buying, even though your pocket book will groan with the one time expense. This can go back to planning ahead. Its apple season, and you really like apples. Of course you can by apples all year round at the market. But they are not fresh and are covered in pesticides. Either find a dealer at the farm market or road side, talk to them about your plans of preserving food. {Do you have that list? How many apple items will you be using?} If you are an apple pie addict and plan on canning your mom's apple pie recipe, make arrangements with the dealer for the next year. See if he would be willing to hold you required amounts ready for you. {Of course to seal the deal, buy as much as you need, or as much as he has right then and there} Some dealers will keep back the amount of apples {or other foods} for you. Talking to them before hand is good for the both of you. You are assured a certain amount of the finest apples, and the dealer has a secure buyer.

Most the grocery stores I have been in, will sell "about to turn bad" food items very cheaply. They rather see them go, then to throw them out. Here's your chance to get more of your food items. I wouldn't suggest canning old green beans, but blanch and freeze them instead. Other items can have the soft spots removed and used to can soups, stews, sauces, pie filling. You don't have to stay with fruits and vegetables, I will buy cream cheese when it's on sale so I can, "can" my Alfredo sauce.

Preserving food as a homesteader, no matter your locale, takes planning. Have an idea of the types of meals you would like to have over the next year or the few months between harvest. You'll need to set time aside so that you can prep and preserve your bulk food items. Be creative with your flavoring so that you don’t fall into a taste lull.

I wish you all luck in your food preservation endeavors. Just please, try and learn from my mistakes.


I switch to Blogger Beta and it ran havoc on the LiveJournal Syndication. I don't know about the others. I apologize for this, and if it happens again, please let me know. A Head's up, I will be playing with the layouts today. It's shouldn’t be a problem...but you never know.

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