"There is one extraordinary ingredient that goes into everything I cook and bake. Please, do not forget this ingredient for it is important to all recipes. When I am cooking or baking, I add extra spoonful's of love to all my recipes. Love added to all things good makes them just a little bit better."
"Yes, I Randi L. Levin, aka The Muffin Lady, did write my own books and did so without a ghostwriter!"
IF Your Excuse for Baking Poorly is High Altitude Welcome to High Altitude Baking and Cooking With Ease
I am sure that I am not the only one who has noticed the rapidly rising costs of daily foods. And it is not just human foods costs that are rising, feed for livestock is also increasing, resulting in higher prices to the consumer. Will we see an end to this in the near future, probably not? Will the shelves in the local groceries become empty, not likely? But in consideration that food and gas costs are escalating, that the current economy in the US is not very good and that food supplies life, it is recommended to stock up on basic daily food supplies, especially when placed on sale.
Let’s face it, as the cost of oil increases, and the use of food as bio-fuels is sought around the globe, we may not see a decrease on the daily needs for life anytime soon. But oil is not the only cause of increased food prices, various environmental issues such as droughts, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods earthquakes, crop viruses etc. also contribute to the higher price of food supplies. Until the researchers discover an alternative for energy other than using our food supplies, the only solution is to stock up and save a little.
Keep in mind that ‘stocking up’ does not imply hoarding, but it does mean buying more than you normally would while grocery shopping. For instance if flour and/or sugar is on sale, instead of buying 2 bags, purchase 4-5 bags and store them in a cool dry place or in a large plastic container. (Hoarding or buying in large quantity, i.e. 50 lbs. is not recommended, unless you are in the wholesale/retail food service, as the product may go bad before it is all used.)
Saving funds by stocking up
Just the other day, I went to buy some skinless chicken breasts that were advertised on sale. I ended up buying more than I immediately needed when I noticed the sale price. I purchased 2 packages for the same price as 1 package would have cost if not on sale. I divided the excess breasts into serving amounts, placed them into freezer safe bags and froze them for use at another time. I have done this many times when purchasing fresh Salmon, seafood and meats as well.
This is what stocking up implies, so take advantage of the sales---stock-up and save.
Although there are diverse food groups that you can also stock up on, (rice, beans, nuts) when on sale, many do not know the advantage of storing locally grown, fresh summer veggies and fruits for use during the cooler months. Many groceries import fruits and vegetables from far away places.Hence, the produce must travel for days, possibly even weeks, before becoming available to you--the consumer. Because these same products come from afar, the cost of transporting them is added onto the price. However, during the warmer months, local growers all over the US and beyond provide their produce to the public at Farmer’s Markets; Flea Markets and produce stands close to their farms and orchards. Their prices are reasonable and the produce is fresh, juicy and delicious.
On Special note to neighbors in Colorado
Sure Colorado has a limited growing season, but several fabulous orchards and farms do provide some of the best homegrown produce available. The small town of Paonia grows some of the best cherries and peaches I have ever tasted. Palisade has divine grapes and plums and I have seen a zucchini grow up to 16 inches long high up in the mountains. Raspberries and rhubarb grow wildly among the creeks and rivers, while pea pods, spinach and squash dot the fields and gardens with vibrant colors. I admit, strawberries do not freeze well, nor does rhubarb, but a well prepared pie does!
Just imagine the glory and smiles elicited from a homemade hot cherry/peach crisp during a winter blizzard, or a blueberry pie on New Years day. Frozen berries and grapes make great snacks, and can be added to a simple bottle of water for a fruity flavor. Fresh frozen veggies help make life easier when preparing meals in a jiffy.
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Freezing fresh delicacies is easy, see these tips for how to stock up and enjoy.
***Make sure to squeeze out all excess air out of freezer bags before sealing.***
The following fruits and vegetables will stay well in a freezer for up to 9 months or until the climate begins to warm the winter chill, allowing the blooms for harvest to grow once again.
Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines:
Wash and blanch the fruits in boiling water for 1-1.5 minutes. Remove them from the water, drain, peel, pit and slice in half and then freeze accordingly in freezer bags.
Simply wash, pit and place in freezer bags and freeze.
Wash and freeze
Wash and freeze
Use firm apples, peel, slice into 4-6 sections, remove seeds and freeze.
Tip: apples can get grainy when frozen.
Cut the peel, slice accordingly and freeze with excess juices.
***Use freezer bags or thick, sturdy plastic containers (do not use dairy containers). Wash, chop and blanch or steam the veggies partially; then cool them quickly under cold water and drain thoroughly before freezing for best flavor and appearance. The blanching time varies depending on chosen veggie!
Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green/wax beans, carrots, peppers:
Cut into 2-3 inch pieces, wash, blanch, cool and freeze.
Trim off the bottoms and remove the coarse outer leaves, then blanch, cool, drain and freeze.
Wash well, chop up, blanch until dark green, cool, drain thoroughly and freeze.
Remove husk, wash, blanch, cool, drain, scrap off kernels into container and freeze. For use as cream corn, after draining, cut into about 1/2 the depth of the kernels and scrap with a knife into freezer bag/container. Then with the back of a knife, scrap the remaining kernel into same container and freeze.
Zucchini, eggplant and squash:
Wash, cut into 1/2-1 inch sections, blanch, cool, drain and freeze.(Pumpkin and Winter Squash, remove the seeds before blanching)
Milk, butter and eggs are much higher in price than a year ago. Cooking oils have almost doubled in price since last December. Poultry prices are almost comparable to a sirloin steak, and flour and sugar prices are as high as I can ever recall. And fruits and veggies come from afar, so stock up when the offerings are good!