We moved into our first house this month. And without unpacking anything more than the bathroom essentials & our bed, I decided it was the perfect time to start a canning marathon because….why not? So we bought 4 bushels of apples from a local orchard less than 72 hours after getting keys.
That ever happen to you?
Just me then. ☺️
I’m Claire. 👋🏽
And what you’ll find out about me is that I frequently suffer from shiny-object syndrome. Just about anything homesteady, book-ish, food or kitchen related will INSTANTLY grab my attention.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for stainless steel appliances, glass dishes & sweet treats.
My husband says I have the perfect shenanigan because any way I spin it, the house usually pays for it. 😎
More on our recent move.
Well, the short of it is this. My husband & I wanted to move to a slower pace of living & be more independent. That desire kickstarted our journey to being more self-sufficient. And we ran with it. Starting in the kitchen for me & with auto maintenance/repairs for him. (Check out where I recommend starting here!)
As we started learning those things, we realized we’d eventually need to leave the East Coast (USA) altogether. So, we picked 3 states. (We considered international, but decided to forego it at the time. It’s still something we’d love to do though). The Big Three were Missouri, Ohio and Michigan.
No real rhyme or reason. We’d been to all 3 before and on paper they were more affordable than Maryland (MD). Sadly, there aren’t too many places in the States that aren’t cheaper than MD. According to this data, MD is the 10th most expensive state in the country. Right up there with DC, Cali, Hawaii…Are you getting the picture now?
As part of the pick, we began looking into the details of life in those places. Governance on farming, homeschooling, political and religious climate, weather and of course – the job market. (More on this little nugget in another diary post. Stay tuned for all the entrepreneurial faux paz!)
So, we dabbled in the move-making mindset for a couple years. Then, got serious about it early 2023. My husband began applying to several jobs and landed one in OH at the tail end of summer.
Here we come, Buckeyes!
There were 8 weeks from his first interview to our very first settlement. And in that time, it felt like life moved so fast. We packed up & moved west. Like you read about in cowboy stories.
And when we got to our newest patch of dirt, in the midst of a house newly filled with boxes from our 1-bed apartment, we bought 4 bushels of apples.
Now, here’s something else about me. I rarely can resist a challenge. Even more so if that challenge comes at a deal & involves preserving food.
So when my husband found a local orchard up the street, we jumped.
Well, maybe I jumped. He paid. *cha-ching*
But the bottom line is this.
I’m on a mission to put my newfound skills to the test. Since learning to can last year, I have been pushing the limits of our space & my ability. Maybe our budget too! 🤭 But all for a good reason.
I want to preserve 1-year’s worth of food for my family.
That would be ultimate self-sufficient living for us.
The 1-yr timeframe is just a start. It’s always been my dream goal since getting serious about decreasing our dependence on grocery chains many years ago. But realistically, we were space challenged (and skill challenged). So, now that we’re in a house with more storage, it’s possible we’ll be able to do that.
Mind you, I had this goal when “my family” was just me & my husband.
Now, it’s us & my son – who eats like a half-grown man at just under 2 years old.
I know that the amount of food stored will be arbitrary and reside on a moving slope. And then there’s my Sweet Girl, who’ll be almost 2 by the time we’ve been settled in a full year. But it’s a starting point.
How much food does it take to feed my family of 4 then?
Great question. Easy answer is I don’t always know. It’s trial & error. But I’ll write up some tips I used to show you how I determined it soon.
In the meantime, I bought 4 bushels of apples. The hope was from that I would make enough applesauce to last us until next year & next apple season. Learn why I believe in seasonal eating here.
Here are the details on this crazy-timed project.
|Variety||Bushel Weight (lb)||Time to Process (Hr.)||No. of Canned Jars (Qt)|
The cost analysis would look something like this. (All values shown in $USD)
|Cost of Apples||Jars / Lids||Labor||Spice/EQP|
Without counting labor – because I really don’t know how to do that yet, it cost $0.14/oz. The equivalent (unsweetened, cinnamon applesauce that we were buying from the store) was $0.07/oz the last time we bought it. The organic version was $0.19/oz.
So, in the end we won. Yes, it cost us twice the amount to make applesauce vs buying conventional stock from grocery stores.
Here’s what makes it worth it.
- The apples were locally grown in a small orchard vs mass-produced
- The jars that we bought (full-price) will be recycled for many other projects over the years, reducing this value in the future (to near zero)
- If we were in the habit of buying organic applesauce, we’d have saved in this exercise – $78 actually.
- We’ll be good on applesauce for 2024 – the whole point of the adventure in the first place.
But remember, there are other ways to preserve apples this fall. Read more about how to select the right apple variety for your chosen food preservation method!
Now to buy some more for apple slices…
🌱 Start Small. Start Now. Start where you are with what you have. The rest will follow.🌱
Is being more self-sufficient is something you’re interested in but you’re not sure where to begin? Check out the Traditional Skills Starter Guide, designed to help you eliminate some of that overwhelm.
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