Homesteading How-To

Today I am going to write a little about my idea of homesteading and how I do it. Every person is different and each household has unique needs and tastes. Comments are always welcome! Please share your tips and tricks and suggestions.

I think homesteading really goes well with earth based religions. It keeps us connected to the earth all year long; changing from season to season. It gives us the power to tune in to the earth and choose whole food to nourish us mind, body and spirit.

My idea of homesteading includes canning your own vegetables, fruits and jams. My vision is that majority of your canning, if possible, should come from your own garden. A lot of folks don’t have the luxury of having their own vegetable gardens, so work with what you have. Visit your local farmers markets; get involved with co-op urban gardens or even just watching for in season produce at the grocery store. Canning and freezing are great ways to stock up your pantry for winter with delicious and cheap food preserved at the height of ripeness.

Not everyone wants to have canning equipment so this is where freezing comes in handy. Over the next few weeks we will get in to how to safely freeze fruits and veggies along with how long things last in the freezer. Most folks can pickle on their regular stoves without canning equipment so we will cover that as well as actual canning for those who are able and interested.

I also believe in trying to make as much homemade food as possible. Avoiding prepackaged meals and take out/drive through. I like to bake all my own bread and sweets, make my own stock and most days of the week cook a wholesome meal from scratch. By no means am I suggesting you stop eating out or stop buying any premade foods/meals. I like to suggest trying to cook more at home in a general sense to add inspiration and nutrition to your life and your family. A great example of tailoring these ideas: you decide to cook a chicken at home. Wonderful! To help make things easier pick up a pre-made side dish. Cooking takes practice and patience; any effort at doing more for yourself at home will reap rewards. This is a great way to start. If you really get into this you can start making more stuff from scratch until you get to the point where your whole meal is made at home. Cooking everything yourself adds so much nutrition and variety. It also eliminates unneeded preservatives, chemicals and artificial flavours. You are now in complete control over what you put in your body.

I want to make a note here for those just starting out. If you and your family are used to eating a lot of take out and premade foods, there will be a period of adjustment. There is so much salt, fat and sugar in pre-made meals it becomes a bit of an addiction. Healthy food may not taste good at first or give you the same satisfaction. This passes. I promise. After a few months or even weeks you will notice it is the convenience foods have become bland and unsatisfactory. Once you get to this point you can then reward yourself with a nice restaurant meal every once in awhile. With the money you will save on weekly take out, you can treat yourself. Sit down restaurants often have healthier food than take out places.

For me, I like to make homemade “TV dinners” and have them in the freezer. This is an integral part of my life. Having depression means I can’t always cook every day the way I want to. Some days I can’t even get out of bed let alone cook. This is also great for those who are too busy some days to cook. When you have the time/energy make up these freezer meals. Then you just need to heat and serve on those days and you’re still eating homemade nutritious meals. All you need to get started are good quality containers to freeze your meals in and some recipes. You will find many recipes here for “TV dinners.”

There will be something for everyone in these posts, whether you’re just starting out, need ideas or are an experienced homesteader.

To kick off this section, next week I will start off with one of my big batch recipes. This will feed a crowd or allow you to make up “TV dinners” of your own.

Blessings,

Sway

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