Sunday, August 13, 2017

Being frugal while filling the holes in the pantry

Top shelf is 26 pints of enchilada sauce and 26 half pints pizza sauce.Enchiladas one week, pizza or calzones the next.

Next shelf down is pasta sauce, red sauce( 32 qrts pasta and 12 pints red sauce)6 store bought alfredo sauce and 4 #10 cans of tomato sauce to change into pasta sauce or go in chili...chili will be first.

Third shelf down is diced tomatoes (60 pints) and 6 cans of stewed tomatoes my son gave us and 6 cans of Rotel tomatoes a friend gave us.

That bottom shelf was full of tomato juice that is old enough that I decided to convert it to pasta sauce that will be used first of the sauces and using this year's tomatoes to make fresh juice.

I have holes in a few places that make me leary of the coming year with Hubby retiring and insurance going through the roof, not sure how much money will be coming in and we have to live below what is coming in ( in the last year I've cut the budget by 50%)...but after inventorying all 401 varieties ( yes that is varieties not items....when fully stocked there is 20,852 items( yes you read that correctly) in the pantry not including freezers) in my pantry (not including 3 deep freezers and 2 refrig freezers) Hubby and I was able to pinpoint where my focus should be to fill in. FRUGALLY of course!!

Tomatoes... I need 20 qrts of pasta sauce  and at least 8 qrts of tomato juice. I should be able to get this from the tomatoes in the gardens. IF I get that and still get tomates I will make red sauce. I can bread and slightly deep fry some green tomatoes for the freezer or make green tomato sauce if it turns cold before they ripen.

I have NO chili. Hubby eats hot spicy and I eat mild. I can pints of these for quick meals or snacks of nachos.  I need at least 26 pints of each, 52 would be better...depends on the meat prices.The one small store near us does buy 3 lb sausage get 6 lbs free...if I can hit that sale it will be a definite big help.

Garlic powder. I grow my own garlic so I can dehydrate some of them and blend to powder.This will be done this fall as the dehydrator is running daily with other things now.

Onion powder. If we get bulk onions(25-50 lbs) at the Amish auction I can dehydrate and blend for powder otherwise...not going in the cabinet. My onions I grew this year did better but not enough to carry us through until the next season. We usually get 25 lbs for $5 sometimes in a bad year it might be closer to $15.

Applesauce, I have 36 qrts...that means we can have 1 qrt every other week. I would like to have 52 which is 16 more qrts but that depends on the price of apples and if anyone gives us apples.  More would be better as we used to eat it at every meal.but I haven't been able to find apples in my price range.

I have 12 half pints of butter canned.I got some butter at $1.99/lb. I'm going to can it(no room in freezers and I grew up with canned butter since we didn't have a frig for a while, neither parent had ice boxes growing up). Last week I saw butter at almost $5/lb. I don't eat margarine due to my health issues. We "Eat" 1/4 lbs a week, a half pint is almost 1/4 lb. BUT we use over 10 lbs from Thanksgiving to Christmas so hopefully the prices will be down by then or there are going to be some traditional foods not made or given.

Eggs... I got 5 dozen for 75¢ a dozen to dehydrate. We go through 5 dozen a month with me baking and making pasta and eating. I use 15 dozen at Thanksgiving and 15 dozen at Christmas ( 6 kids, 22 grandkids and one great grandkid). I have 12 dozen dehydrated right now. My goal is to have 20 dozen dehydrated by Jan when Hubby retires. Eating fresh eggs might become a treat instead of common meal. Though a fried egg on homemade bread is a pretty cheap meal but I've seen eggs hit over $3/dzn.

In the dehydrated cabinet the holes show the most...I need bell peppers (garden) tomatoes (garden) oregano(garden) rosemary(garden) carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, mushrooms,ginger and pumpkin. I blend the pumpkin to powder, easier to add to dry mixes or water for pie filling/custard.

The root cellar is close to empty. I have a few potatoes and sweet potatoes left in it that will be dehydrated if I find them at reasonable price. I'll be calling the produce farm that grows potatoes at the beginning of Sept for prices along with looking at the Amish auction.

We will buy our winter squash from Hurley's produce market. They grow them organically and usually are the lowest price unless we can get them at the Amish auction.

Pumpkins will come from the Amish auction. We get a pallet (usually 25-35 pumpkins) to share with the kids. Last year we spent 50¢ per pumpkin and they weighed in at 25-35 lbs each. Depending on prices we will get sugar pumpkins (pie pumpkins) and jack be littles or wee be littles.... usually used for decorations but can be cooked for single servings.I love baking molasses custard in them.

I would like to learn how to make orange marmalade, lemon curd and lime curd,possible orange curd LOL, but that's low on the list and might end up being a Christmas present from my kids instead.


  1. It seems like you are well on your way to filling your pantry. I have quite a bit of canning to do myself. I went up to visit my sister today. She has a peach farm, and I was helping her with the u-pick stand while we visited. She was given 3 huge boxes of pears and could only use1 of them, so gave me 2. I was going to buy some to can, so I am delighted. Once they get ripe, there should be quite a few quarts. I don't know exactly how many, because I may dry some or make pear butter with part of them.

    Happy canning!

    1. I use the taco spice blend I make using The Tightwad Gazette recipe with my home canned tomato sauce that has 1/2 tsp salt/ pint for my enchilada sauce

  2. WOW! I am seriously impressed! That is amazing. I am a city girl - just retired - and while I do keep a pantry in my small apt. I can't even imagine all the work that you must do - the organizing alone must take you a long, long time.

  3. Butter is always bought when less than $2.50/ lb