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To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Stockpiling Food for my Working and Long-Term Pantry

 It's that time of the year when we begin again seriously start filling the larder back up again. As if it ever stopped over winter. It didn't here with pots of soups, chilies, stews, dry beans, and fruits.

And yes, I'm finally converting to reusable lids. I spent the summer and fall months researching and comparing brands. Harvest Guard lids won out because of the comparable quality of the lids and price point. Both are made in the US. I've monthly bought 100 sets of regular mouth lids each month since October. The plan is to replace all my need for flats for homestead use. Sometime this summer, I'll be starting on a spare set of silicone rings for all the lids since they only last for about 10 uses. Yes, I have that many jars!

The news for the last year has been bent on continued instability for the future so I'm preparing to can and dehydrate even more this year. I'm not a die-hard prepper, but a failed vegetable garden two years in a row has made me rethink my previous method of "stockpiling foods. It's only common sense, right? 

I ran across  recommendations for a local butcher who runs several weekly specials of meat.  They were only 40 minutes away so I decided to try them.  I bought the $110/> 50 lbs  variety pack of beef, pork, and chicken. I wanted to try everything they sell in their shop regularly before I committed to a larger purchase of meats. They also sell whole and sides of butchered meats too. Ours, when I looked at I picked it up, totaled 55 lbs of meat. I spent $2 a pound for good meat! What was the $110 package?

10lbs. 80/20 ground chuck
5lbs. Beef roast
1 whole Boston butt (average 8lbs.)
1 whole slab St. Louis Pork Ribs (average 2-2.5lbs)
5lbs. Boneless pork loin
10lbs. Chicken leg quarters
10lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breast

The meat looked good! Hardly any extra fat. The one concern I do have is with the chickens. The 10 lb breast package held only 8 split breasts. Each breast weighed 1.25 lbs. They were what I categorize as Dolly Partons (to me that meant hormone feed for the birds). Not that extra Estrogen would hurt us two sexagenarian females, but it's the principle. So we won't be ordering their chicken again.

We spent the afternoon breaking the packages down into meal size portions for us. The ground beef was divided into 2lb portions, the beef roast (bottom round) was divided into four meals, the leg quarters were split into two thigh or four leg packages (10 packages), the 9 lb Boston butt was left whole to be ground into breakfast and Italian sausage, and the 3 lb pork loin was cut into 1/2" boneless pork chops (6 packages) and the breasts were wrapped separately.

Yes, I'm still buying our usual half and whole of beef, pork, and chickens, but the specials when combined with what I have would allow me the comfort zone I'm looking for our homestead.  This year's preserving goals have doubled (if not tripled in some areas) my regular amounts. It's my stimulus checks in action while my regular money is untouched. Makes sense and cents, right?

My plan for some of the meat is freeze drying the beef roast and sausages, and chicken breasts. I'll store them in Mylar bags and sealed in pint jars. Why pints? It the bulk of canning I have on hand and I won't have to open a big bag to get a week's worth of chicken exposed. Makes sense, right? A pint jar of dehydrated chicken reconstituted makes about four cups of chicken. It's perfect for casseroles, pot pies, and chicken salad during a week. Why double seal it in pint jars too? Rodents and bugs cannot eat their way through the glass and metal. I mean if I plan on putting it aside for years, isn't it worth the extra effort?

I think I told you that I bought a Harvest Right food freeze dryer on halves with another homestead before.  It made the price of the system more budget friendly. For seven years I've used both my freeze dryer and regular dehydrators to dehydrate our food. After two years of trading it back and forth with the freeze dryer, I paid the other homestead to own it outright. I brought it with me along with my regular dehydrators with me when I move up here. Yes, it's an older model without all the bells and whistles that the newer models, like different colors, have, but it still works well. If it ain't broke, don't fix or replace it. It has more than earned out its cost in that time.

Well, that's the plan. Don't worry about tomorrow, be prepared.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Cockeyed Jo



  1. You're so smart with your preparing Jo. I was thinking about those lids too, I go through SO many of them...I need to find time to start a big pantry. I won't have a garden this year, so I have to rely on markets and sales for my canning. I love your Dolly Parton reference! :)

    1. Rain, With times so iffy these days, I've felt the need to get my food stores in order. I've been watching prices double over the last two years (even buying meats in bulk). I can remember the high inflation of the 70s. It doesn't hurt to have extra.

    2. Rain, my jar stock pile sits at right at 1500 jars. I don't actually can that much a year, but I can if I need to. That's a whole lot of reusable lids.


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