Preserving Food: 4 Moms

Food, food, food, sometimes it seems that half of my life revolves around food. As we work toward eating more natural, whole foods, I’m learning more about food preservation. moms of many manage

Note: We do not own a pressure canner and we so our food preservation has, until now, been limited to freezing, dehydrating, water-bath canning and bulk storage in our garage using diatamaceous earth.

Diatamaceous Earth

We store several hundred pounds of grains in our garage. We use 5 gallon food grade buckets to store our grains. While you certainly may purchase them, we’ve gotten all of our buckets free by asking for them at places that purchase food in bulk.

We’ve had success at Krispy Kreme, sub places and some grocery stores. (If you get buckets which previously housed pickles, be sure to clean them out thoroughly, otherwise you may end up with pickled oatmeal, seriously. )

If you’re going to be regularly dipping out of your 5 gallon buckets, it may be worth it to invest in some gamma seal lids . The outer rim of these lids attach permanently to the bucket and then you are able to simply screw the inside of the lid on and off as needed.

To preserve our grains from creepy crawlies, we use diatomaceous earth. Not only does DE safely eliminate pests, many people claim it has health benefits and take it as a supplement.

Dehydrating

Matthew (13) is our resident dehydration expert. We purchased a good quality, super capacity food dehydrator and have since enjoyed a huge variety of dehydrated fruits and veggies (okra, green beans, pineapple, apples, grapes, cherries, squash, tomatoes, onions, etc.). Dehydrating is a super simple way for us preserve and store food. We’ve found that we enjoy eating nearly all of our dehydrated food as is. It’s also easy to throw it into a soup, stew or casserole.

Freezing

We have three freezers and keep them stocked with grass-fed beef, on sale meat, made ahead meals, chicken and beef broth, homemade breads and frozen fruit and veggies.

Freezing meals

I like to always have at least a week’s worth of meals in our freezer as this makes it easier to take a meal to a neighbor, invite company over or just get busy with a project. We used to bulk cook for our freezer with several other families, but these days I just try to double or quadruple a recipe that I’m serving for dinner and put the rest in the freezer.

Freezing homemade stock

I make up chicken and beef stock in bulk whenever I get a batch of bones. I love my large roaster for roasting chicken and then making lots of stock. I can roast several whole chickens in the roaster at one time. When they are finished, I de-bone them and put the meat in a separate container placing the bones and skin back into my roaster. To this I add a splash of vinegar (to help get all those great nutrients out of the bones), onions, garlic, ginger, etc. and lots of water and then I cook it for the rest of the day and all through the night.

I cook my broth waaaaay down so it’s super concentrated. My broth is so concentrated that when I take it out of the freezer I’m able to double it’s bulk by adding water and it still has plenty of flavor.

I freeze our stock in quart-sized plastic containers. When the broth is frozen, I pop it out of the container and store it in a freezer bag so that my containers are free for the next batch of stock/broth.

(I prefer to steer clear of plastic, but the convenience in this instance is just too much for me to resist. Do you have any suggestions?)

Freezing bread

Last year we began making all of our own bread products with sourdough. Not only is this super yummy, it’s also healthier and we’ve noticed the benefits of eating bread products that our bodies are able to digest more easily.

To manage this I find that it’s helpful to make things in large batches and freeze what we won’t eat within the first few days.

We keep our sourdough English Muffins, breakfast muffins (cocoa almond muffins are my personal favorite), sandwich bread and pizza crusts in the freezer. We’re able to simply pull them out when we’re ready to use it.

For lots of help with sourdough, I strongly recommend GNOWFGLINS sourdough course!

We also use freezer space for putting up fruits and veggies that we don’t dehydrate.

Water Bath Canning

I use this for jams and jellies. I’m not an expert and have only one tip: Don’t forget to acquire your favorite fruits when they’re in season, otherwise your kids will lament the fact that there is no strawberry jam for an entire year.

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8 Responses to Preserving Food: 4 Moms
  1. Liza
    October 18, 2012 | 9:55 am

    I really enjoy your posts, I’m curious about how you use DE to prevent bugs in your grains, do you just sprinkle it in the bucket/container you have the grains stored in? How much do you add? Thank you so much

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Liza,

    We use 1 cup DE to each 5 gallon bucket of grain. The grain must be thoroughly coated with DE so we mix it up with our hands, put the lid on and roll the bucket around a bit, then mix with our hands again. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Twisted Cinderella
    October 19, 2012 | 10:18 am

    I am only just beginning on my food preservation journey. (well beyond the freezer anyway. I bought a canning kit. I intend to learn to use it. I am going to be purchasing a dehydrator. I would love to know your recipe for your own broth. I use bullion quite a bit and would love to move away from it and all those chemicals.

    [Reply]

  3. Emily
    October 19, 2012 | 5:19 pm

    I like to make my own stock too! I usually freeze it in ice cube trays, and then pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. Since each cube equals about 1 ounce, I can quickly pull out exactly what I need for a recipe. =)

    [Reply]

  4. Betsy
    October 20, 2012 | 2:16 am

    Hi Kimberly. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom on this blog. I have been helped and blessed by it many times over!

    I was wondering what your expectations of your little ones are during family worship time. My little boys are 4 1/2 and almost 3, and we are having a hard time getting thru Bible time – it’s becoming unpleasant. We have them sit in their own chairs while we pray, sing, read, do memory verses and catechism. It takes about 30 minutes or so. Is that asking too much, do you think? We sing songs in between each part, and try to make it enjoyable. I am just not sure if we should lower our expectations and make it more casual, or if we should view it more as an issue of obedience.

    I would really appreciate any thoughts.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Betsy,

    Our little ones sit basically still and quietly during our family worship. Sometimes this can be a long time because we get into discussions with the older children. If it gets longer than usual, we will occasionally pray to close, allow the little ones to go play and continue the discussion. We do allow the 2 year old to sit on a bigger person’s lap.

    I don’t think that 30 minutes is too long for your little ones to sit still. However, if your oldest is 4 1/2 you may be able to make the time shorter. (not saying you should, just that it’s a possibility)

    These posts may help:

    Keeping little ones in worship and Specific tips for training little ones in family worship

    [Reply]

  5. Gigi
    October 22, 2012 | 7:33 am

    thanks for the advice!! Much appreciated. Hope you are well. Your kids are getting sooo big. =)
    Xoxo
    GiGi

    [Reply]

  6. Nicki
    October 28, 2012 | 12:15 am

    I love using my big roaster for cooking chicken and making broth. I like the idea of putting the frozen broth in freezer bags. I use empty Peanut Butter containers for my broth right now. Like you, I freeze most everything. I like your ideas, and I look forward to trying more of them. We just moved into a larger home with 9 acres, so I plan to GROW more of our food, too! I’m so excited!

    [Reply]

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