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.
This time of year I like to watch for sales on dry beans which I then cook and can them while the weather is cooler and I’m not swamped with veggies appearing in great abundance. Why do I can beans instead of simply cooking a batch for a meal each time? Well, its like this, a jar of already cooked beans can be opened, heated, and served in very little time but simmering a pot takes awhile.
Even using a pressure cooker to fix quick beans is still longer than opening and heating. As a single person a whole pot of beans is a bit much to eat in one or two meals. I’m able to put them in small single serve size jars for canning. Also, canning my own tastes much better than the commercial cans do. To me the commercially canned beans taste like the metal they are in. Sort of metallic tasting. I always have to rinse them well before using. In my opinion that’s taking away a lot of the nutrients from the beans.
Well a few days ago I went to the local Meijer grocery where I usually stock up on my dry beans and I couldn’t find them. I asked a stock clerk where the dry beans had been moved to because they were not in the usual spot. The stock clerk says they are no longer going to carry dry beans. WHAT!? Why not? The stock clerk didn’t know why but the store would only carry a very small variety in the Mexican foods section from now on. He said the store would only carry commercially canned beans. I looked and there was only 3 types of dry beans on the shelf in the Mexican foods section. The factory made cans of beans were $1.25 up to $3.50 each depending on type and brand. Ouch! That’s gonna really hurt my limited budget.
I decided to go to another store to look for what I needed. Kroger this time. Well, guess what? The Kroger stores won’t be carrying dry beans anymore either except in the Mexican foods section. The few remaining packages of dry beans were marked as discontinued and on sale to clear the shelves. I bought all I could afford and I’m really, really hoping they won’t all be sold out before I come up with a few more dollars for my shopping trip next week.
I usually buy in three separate shopping trips over the winter and bottle them while the weather is really cold outside. What I put up through the winter will last throughout the hot summer months when I really don’t want a pan of beans simmering to heat up the house.
Is it just my own thinking but are all the really budget friendly foods gone from the shelves now? What I mean is that when I was younger and my money ran out a few days before payday I could always go to the store and purchase some cheap chicken backs or a soup bone or a package of dry beans and fix a budget stretching meal. I believe that the dried beans was the last remaining budget stretching foods available for the very low income people and now those are going away too.
If a food is NOT available for purchase there’s no way you are gonna buy it. Right? So, where the heck are all the low income staple foods going??? If food is not available for us to purchase then who the heck is getting it all? Am I missing something? Has the drought killed all the bean crops? Would my few readers let me know if I’ve missed something and please let me know if dry beans are disappearing from the stores you shop too.