Over the past couple of weeks, I have realized that our pantry is much better stocked than I had considered it to be. I have been sorting through my recipes and separating out the ones that are best for the style of meals we enjoy. Mostly good ol’ farm cookin. When I read through old recipes in cookbooks that are from the Depression era, Colonial times, and even those used by families in the mountain areas known as the Osarks, I find a commonality between them. The recipes are simple, use few ingredients, and are based upon what they grow locally and in season. How far we have come in our society from this way of eating!
It makes no sense to eat foods out of season when prices are highest. So, I am changing things around so that we are only eating fresh produce that is still in season. I also am buying it at a local farm where I can also buy fresh eggs. The eggs are nearly half the price of store bought, yet are more recently gathered when compared to the stores. I am looking for a similar resource for farm milk also.
As I have been going through the recipes, I found that with the assortment of dried beans, lentils, rice, flour, sweetenings, and other basic pantry items, along with the canned vegetables, we have enough food stored that at this point, I have only needed to buy the milk, eggs, butter, cheese, and occasionally some meat. What a blessing!
On YouTube, I found that there are very well made instructional videos that demonstrate cheese making, including how to make your own cheese press. I am planning to make the cheese press as soon as I have the ability to do so. Then, I will be starting to make some cheddar cheese. I was especially excited to see the instructions on YouTube for making your own starter from cultured buttermilk. If that works, then I will have a steady supply of starter. If I don’t make my own starter, then I will simply purchase it by mail order from Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.
So many plans, but I am taking it slowly. I am gathering as many self-reliance recipes and instructions as I can so that I can begin honing the skills. I don’t know how much I will have true need for the skills, but I want to know them anyways. You never know when they will come in handy. Our daughter is eager to learn cheesemaking with me. It will be fun to teach her how to do it.
I am excited about the idea of building a pantry that is simpler and will contain many of the foods that we always seem to have to purchase. Once Joe is able to work closer to home, we will be able to get more done on the homestead. We will be able to turn it into a little family sustaining farm.