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S.O.L. on EXTREME conscientious frugality
Mon 29-Nov-10
1:56 am
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Michelle from Oregon
Oregon, USA

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growingcurious said:

Christmas hasn't even happened yet, but I looked in my pantry an hour ago and felt overwhelmed.  I'm ready to start the Extreme Frugality Challenge now.  I want to use up all the quinoa, beans, nuts, and other wonderful things that have been pushed to the back.  I want to save money and eat simple, simple foods for the next two or three months.  I'm happy to forage for dandelion greens and see how low I can keep the food bill.

 

Anyone else been thinking about this challenge?  I did pretty well last year.  I have no numbers to report, but it sure felt good to clear out and begin the new year with a productive plan for using up the odds and ends in the pantry.

 

 


Hurray! Another American! 

No way, Cathy, you are just down the road from me! I'm down the valley, in Monroe!

I'm glad your first post was here, this thread deserved to be bumped back up.

On a side note, has anyone heard from Sarah (SOL)? Its been a while...?

 

If you can't be a shining example, be a terrible warning!

Mon 29-Nov-10
7:41 am
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kayerunrig
lincolnshire

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lol....i can empathise with the cupboard of dried food i buy loads at the clearance shops , then they come into there own this time of year , just about to flesh out a big pot of turkey and orange gravy from yesterday with pearl barley lentils and some TVA , plus a few scaby leftovers from the veg basket , generally buy no groceries in January and live off the storecupboard

Mon 29-Nov-10
10:57 am
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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wave  Hi Cathy, welcome aboard.

I'll try that again!

Mon 29-Nov-10
8:14 pm
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maggenpie
Cornwall, UK

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Hi Cathy, wave I'm on the same mission. I've realised I've got plenty to eat in my store cupboards and freezer so I'm trying to use it up. All those mystery packages in the freezer that the labels have fallen off!

Never assume anything - except an occasional air of intelligence.

Tue 30-Nov-10
12:37 am
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growingcurious
portland, oregon

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Well, I'm on my way.  Tonight – "meatless monday," in fact – we're having "fancy" garbanzo beans and rice with other fancy ingredients from the pantry.    I don't think we'll starve here at all.

 

And Hi to neighbor Michelle!

Wed 1-Dec-10
7:42 am
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Welcome, Cathy. Good to have you resurrect this great thread.

I hope you don't mind me putting a link to your great web site in your sig line. People often do not see the little green globe that appears above your posts (has a link to your site too).

We need to chomp our way through our freezer contents. We do not use our freezers properly because there is no advantage in just shoving stuff in there to be forgotten about until a future clearout.

Our larder has plenty that needs consuming too. I think the project requires a little each of determination, time and imagination but the results are so rewarding and satisfying.

Good luck!

Never knowingly underfed

Wed 1-Dec-10
2:22 pm
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growingcurious
portland, oregon

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I was going to say, "If I had a larder like yours and Fiona's, Danny, I think it might be difficult to use it up as part of a Frugality Challenge..."

 

However, I have a larder/pantry with special treats in it, too, because I have a passion for preserving.  But I have a different relationship to it now.

 

Earlier this year a friend opened her pantry to show me something, and I saw about twenty jars of preserves I've given her over the last two or three years.  She has been hoarding them.

 

It upset me.  I felt as though all of my creative effort and all of the produce's goodness was just locked in time – getting dusty, being misunderstood.  All of it was meant to be enjoyed!

 

I came home and went through my own pantry, and I have been using up my preserves in a consistent way.  I will not hoard or fetishize them.  They are there to be used.

 

And same for that jar of quinoa and the barley.  It makes no sense to save it for "someday."  I need to integrate these things into our regular meals.  I also want to save money, of course, but for me the appeal of this challenge is to help the pantry become for fluid and realistic.  The amount of "stored energy" in there is overwhelming.  How would we feel if it just held what we use and what we need?

Wed 1-Dec-10
2:31 pm
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kayerunrig
lincolnshire

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They do say most people only have food for 9 days in there homes , at least if the power goes which it inevitably will, the freezers safe in this weather and if all else fails we will crank up the barbecue , looking in the cupboards and hidey holes around the house i think we could last at least 3 month , though it would get pretty boring towards the end , my dad use to insist we always had a sack of rice in the house for emergencies think he was a bit of a Boy Scout , but i think its rubbed off , plus theres about 50 cabbages out there under the snow  a lot of leeks , tons of parsnips , a few carrots plus the last few beetroot , snow is a great insulater and the ground underneath is quite soft still

Wed 1-Dec-10
2:50 pm
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growingcurious
portland, oregon

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Yes, while I was writing my last post here, I felt conflicted because we are trying to keep the pantry stocked in a frugal way because D and I are unemployed/starting the farm, and money is very tight.

I want to find a better balance between keeping supplies for emergencies and having too many odds and ends in there that never get used.

I envy you your cabbages out in the garden, kayerunrig, because I haven't been successful in growing them.  Like you, the garden is full of leeks, and I also find it comforting to know they're out there.

Wed 1-Dec-10
3:12 pm
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Toffeeapple
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I wonder how long I could last on the stuff I have in my tiny kitchen?  I know there are cans of smoked fish, beans, tomatoes etc and there is at least one bag each of white and wholemeal flour and some dried yeast but not much else I feel.  I'll perhaps have a look when I next brave the kitchen.

I'll try that again!

Fri 17-Dec-10
10:25 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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growingcurious said:

Earlier this year a friend opened her pantry to show me something, and I saw about twenty jars of preserves I've given her over the last two or three years.  She has been hoarding them.


 

We have a friend like that too, Cathy. But at least she proudly presents her basket of our stuff when we go to visit and does give it away as gifts etc.

 

I reckon we have enough rice, lentils and so on to last us maybe 60 days at a pinch. trouble is, some of it is quite old. Can rice go out of date?

Never knowingly underfed

Fri 17-Dec-10
11:58 pm
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mike.
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We've probably only got about a fortnights food in the house. We have one cupboard of jars and tins, and one Ikea Billy Bookcase with assorted jars and packets. Of course by the end of the 2 weeks we'll be reduced to eating food colouring, balsamic vinegar and dried fruit...

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Sat 18-Dec-10
9:02 am
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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Danny said:

 I reckon we have enough rice, lentils and so on to last us maybe 60 days at a pinch. trouble is, some of it is quite old. Can rice go out of date?


 

Not if you are hungry enough! big_laugh
Seriously, not if it is dry and bug-free.

Sun 19-Dec-10
1:07 am
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growingcurious
portland, oregon

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I laugh because I may be reduced to eating food coloring, too.  Frugal that we are, why do we have that in the cabinet anyway?  Oh yeah...  the 6-year-old...

 

And I agree with Danny about how long one can use whole grains. For the fourth time, this morning I talked to my husband about getting a grain mill (hand-cranked?  good for the apocalypse or when we can't pay our electric bill) so that we don't have to worry about flour going bad anymore.  I have heard that hard red wheatberries last somewhat indefinitely (meaning three or four years at least).

 

Ideally, we'd like to use our whole grains much earlier, but – in a pinch – I think they're good for awhile.  Dried beans last a long time, too, but – truthfully – they lose so much as they age.  This year I ate some "fresh" dried pintos and thought they were a different food substance entirely.

 

This is another reason for using up the pantry:  I want to feel able to buy fresher ingredients.

 

Today from the pantry I have had: quinoa, tinned tuna, raw walnuts, and stored winter squash and onions from the garden.  What have you all pulled out from the pantry?

Sun 19-Dec-10
10:05 am
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paperman
Saxmundham, Suffolk

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Reading all of this, I had a look in my cupboards and reckon I have got just about 6 or 7 days max in food but what I do have is a large selection of part used jars and packs of herbs and spices for recipes I have tried or forgotten - it would be an idea if I made a list of 'interchangeable' spices and herbs so that if one runs out then rather than buying a new pot, substitute something else maybe.

I have reached an age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me...

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