Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I have a new money saving gadget. I used to own one about 15 or 20 years ago and gave it away. I mistakenly believed I would never want to can again. How wrong I was! I missed it almost immediately but it was too late to get back. I’ve been water bath canning and hoping for the day when I’d have a pressure canner again. Anyway, I finally budgeted out enough money to purchase a new one.
Why do I need a new canner? My neighbors and SIL have talked me into going with them to get the free produce at the Dare to Care distribution point around the corner. What is the Dare to Care free produce program and how does it work? Hmm, let’s see if I can describe it. You know how stores will pull items off the shelves because of the “sell by date” on packages? The food is then tossed into a dumpster and sent to a landfill. But the food is still edible! We are so gullible. Many are convinced that when a food passes the date on the package that it’s somehow become poison or something overnight. Not true!
Fresh produce from the store is tossed out if there is the slightest blemish. One bad potato in a bag and the whole bag is tossed out. One carrot showing signs of wilting and the whole bag is tossed out. A store may have a produce item on sale but there are many left over after the sale. Those foods often get thrown out as well.
There is a campaign going on across the country to prevent all that usable food from winding up in a landfill when it can be used by people in low income areas. Dare to Care and the big box grocery stores teamed up to prevent so much food going to waste. Rather than throw it away, it’s given away to those who can’t afford to buy it.
We have a Dare to Care distribution point in our neighborhood. It’s within walking distance around the corner at a church. Several of my neighbors go there to get free food. I’ve gone with them a few times and plan to start going regularly. My neighbors don’t know what to do with the food after they get it. They have only basic knowledge of keeping food for later use. I plan to show them by example how to get the best use from what is given.
Ok, the same neighbors are not likely to put out money for a canner, jars, a dehydrator, or even a small freezer. They are totally dependent on the “system” to take care of them. (or dependent on kind hearted neighbors like me) Food stamps and food banks are normal life in my neighborhood. And now they’ve added free produce to that life. I’m hoping to change the food attitude around here. This canner is a small step toward that goal.
If I show by example, maybe, just maybe, I can get a few converts to preserving food. Maybe it will convince them to invest in food preservation equipment? The biggest problem I’m gonna have is getting the jars to do the canning. Canning jars and lids have gotten rather expensive. I did sign up for free cycle to watch for any that might be given away. This summer I’ll check out some yard sale places to see if I can find any there too. In the mean time I’ll use the jars I already own and buy a few dozen more so I can get everyone started. IF they want to learn. We shall see.
Hmm…. now that I have it, where the heck am I gonna store it when not in use? Geeze, my cup (house) really does run over.