By Lisa Shaub
My grandparents were from Brooklyn and they lived through the Depression. They were always nagging me to save my pennies. They would tell me, “Be like Benjamin Franklin; the guy was so smart, he knew how to save money." As a teen I couldn't quite embrace that philosophy, but as a grown woman with college to save for I find wisdom in his and their words. I located the actual quote, which is “A penny saved is a penny earned."
I think of this every time I pick up the massive amount of food I get every week from our wonderful CSA. Even though we are a family of three, with one very picky nine year old, I always get a full veggie share with a fruit share. I just can't resist!!! Everything is so yummy, smells so good and I love opening my fridge and seeing it bursting at the seams with delicious, organic food.
Every week there is a marathon in my house to completely use and eat the whole week's CSA before Tuesday rolls around, and there is a fridge full of new food. In the four years that I have been participating in the CSA, I have come up with some strategies. Here are some helpful hints about using all of our resources. If Benjamin Franklin were living in my brain, in my house with that fridge full of good stuff, I know he would think using it all would mean the savings.
Herb rendition - We can count on one or two fresh herbs a week. Instead of wracking my mind for recipes to use them I immediately do one of two things: I either pin them to a bulletin board to dry them, or I blend them with walnuts, garlic and olive oil and freeze them into ice cubes. Sage is good for burning, and Rosemary is always neccessary. You can even take your dried herbs and render them in olive oil or vinegar to create aromatic salad dressings. Dry chilis on a plate, or string them up and post on a board until they are dry, then store in a container.
Dehydrate it - If you have a dehydrator, you can dry fruit, radish, beet slices, or zucchini. Season with herbs and you have yummy a low calorie snack. If you lack a food dehydrator, just roast them in the oven on a cookie sheet on a low temperature with a little olive oil and seasoning.
Juice it - Any left over greens can be juiced. If you don't feel like drinking that, you can dehydrate and make your own green powder for smoothies.
Pickle it - I keep an ongoing jar of pickles, kimchee and saurkraut. As you use it add more. I always taste them, to re-adjust the seasoning. The liquid keeps forever and has loads of probiotics. Throw your extra cucumbers, radish, carrots and cabbage in there, and you can enjoy for quite a while. I also like to make a “chilli elixir." This is used as seasoning and to fight colds in the winter. Chop up chilis and add to a clean glass jar with a well fitting lid. Add Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and fill to the top. Leave it in the fridge. Add more chillis and apple cider vinegar as you use it.
Dry it - Anything with seeds can and should be dried and saved. In ten years it might be hard to get organic seeds, Everyone should have their own seed library. Just put miscellaneous things with seeds- beans, peas, chilis, sage, etc, on a plate and let them dry in the air. Label and date, and keep in the freezer. You can also dry chillis on a plate, or string them up and post on a board until they are dry, then store in a container.
Share it - Kindness is a virtue, keep it cultivated.. If you know you are not going to eat everything, or there are things that you don't love, put together a bag for someone else. Give to a friend or drop it off at a food pantry. Someone will definitely enjoy it.
I hope my grandparents and Benjamin Franklin would be proud of me for sharing this, and proud of you for reading. It is a great and wondrous thing to have a full pantry, full fridge and know in your heart that you can save money too.
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