I often wish I could do my part to financially help support our large family. As I let my mind begin to follow that thought process, it doesn’t take me too long to remember – if I was out working, who would do my job?
So just for fun, I’m going to do a series on looking at the financial benefits of a stay at home mom. I’m not sure where all this will lead, but for today I’m going to begin with groceries.
This last week, Mark came home with several cases of vegetables. In the past, we have always had a walk in cooler, which easily held several boxes of produce. But presently, we don’t have that option (although the temperature on the back porch is about perfect right now). Even so, I end up walking a fine line of trying to make the produce last (getting the most meals out of the vegetables), while using them fast enough so as not to let anything spoil.
This last summer, we experimented with the lacto-fermentation process. If you have never heard of it, it’s worth researching. There are a number of web sites that are chocked full of information on this particular subject. I was introduced to it through a book a friend gave me called Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. In a nut shell, it is a natural process of preserving produce using lactic acid. “The proliferation of lactobacilliin fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances” (Nourishing Traditions). Not being a chemist, I will say no more and let you research it yourself, if interested. All that being said, today I processed several heads of cabbage, filling gallon size pickle jars, for the purpose of making sauerkraut.
Cabbage , shredded – enough to fill jar
2 Tablespoons of caraway seeds
2 Tablespoons of sea salt
1/2 of whey
Mix all of these ingredients together in large stainless steel bowl. Pound with a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to let the juices release. Pack into a clean jar, making sure the liquid covers the top of the cabbage. Clean the mouth of the jar and place lid on tightly. Let sit in room temperature for 3 days, then store in cold storage. Should keep for several months. Flavors improve with age.
Another recipe I tried today was a Mexican sauerkraut. My hope is that it may take the place of lettuce on Tacos. We’ll see. In addition, we were able to preserve almost half of the case of green peppers with this method! So, you might wonder what all of this has to do with “the cost of being a stay at home mom”?
Although we spend a tremendous amount on groceries, as a result of buying in bulk, gardening, processing our own food, and cooking from scratch, we spend a fraction of what it could be. If I were working full time, many trips to the grocery store and quickly prepared processed food would be mandatory. Not only would the quality decline (and likely our health), the grocery budget would skyrocket and we would would miss out on the lessons and fun of working together!
I’m sure I’ll come back to grocery subject again and again, but for today I chalk one up for being a stay at home mom!