Sunday, October 30, 2016

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #29 - Preserve in Season

Going along with yesterday's tip to grow your own, preserving in season can also save you money.  Now, don't think that just because you don't have a garden or a massive amount of plants that you can't still take advantage of this money-saving tip.  We haven't had a garden the past couple of years, and I still manage to preserve quite a bit.  It is a fact that produce is cheaper when you buy it in season.  A quick Google search can tell you what is in season where you live, and this will change throughout the year - not everything is in season at once.  Here in Maryland, Fall is the time of year for pumpkins and apples, and there are great prices to be had on both.  We don't really preserve pumpkin in this house because I can get it for $0.89 a can at ALDI, which is cheap and I'm lazy.  Now, apples on the other hand, we make into 'cooked apples,' and can them.  This way I can serve them with pancakes or in pie.  We've also done applesauce in the crock-pot and canned that. 
The price breakdown goes like this...
1 bushel of #2 grade apples $19.98
Brown Sugar and Spices - Free (I keep them year-round, and this really doesn't take that much)
Jars and Rings/Bands - Free (I reuse them every year, and got them free from yard sales)*
Jar Lids - approximately $2 for a box of a dozen at Wal-mart*
We spend one whole day washing, peeling, coring, slicing, cooking, and canning the apples.  When it's all said and done we have about 20 or 21 quart jars of pie filling.  Now, quart jars equal about 1 and 1/2 cans of pie filling from the store, which even at ALDI runs about $2.89 a piece.  That is a savings of $66.72 or 77%!!!
Did I grow these apples?  No, but I bought them in season, at a great price, and preserved them to have for later.  
I know what a lot of you are thinking - 'that's great Laura, but I don't can' - not to worry, you can still preserve like a champ!  That is why freezers were invented.  Especially chest freezers.  If you don't have one, I serious recommend finding a great deal on one during the Black Friday sales.  During the summer as things like bell peppers and onions go on sale for great prices I buy a whole bunch, bring them home, and wash them up.  The bell peppers I slice and flash freeze on a cookie sheet before adding them to a labeled freezer bag.  This keeps them from sticking together so I can just shake out a few instead of a huge clump.  The onions I either slice or dice, as I like to have some of both in the freezer at all times.  The diced ones I run through the food processor, and then measure them out into 1 cup balls (which equals about 1 onion) on saran wrap, roll them up, and put them all in one large, labeled freezer bag.  The sliced onions I try to keep in onion-shape, if that makes sense, before I roll them, and pop them into a different labeled freezer bag. 
Did I grow either of these vegetables?  No. 
Did I can them?  No. 
Were they still preserved in season, and saved me a bunch of money?  Yes!
So, don't get caught up in the logistics of it all, just preserve what you can in season, however you need to.

*You can get a case of Jars/Lids/Rings on Amazon Here (affiliate link) the price is comparable to Wal-mart

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

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