Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some good news: Learning to use food storage

Some of my food storage is the longer-term stuff, like if you were in CT and didn't have power for a few weeks, and then lost it again!  This stuff comes in #10 cans, so opening one is a major commitment, not to be taken lightly!

One of my favorite sellers has started selling smaller cans (real metal cans) of some of the most popular ingredients.  They average $5 a can, which is not a bad price to learn how to use the stuff and to have some on hand without the major commitment of buying a #10 can.  I have experimented with a couple of products as a result.

First one was chopped dehydrated onions.  They are great. Unlike the ones in the grocery store that cost about$5 for half an ounce, these are not as dry and rehydrate into pretty regular chopped raw onions. They saute and turn golden brown just fine. I'm sold because they also don't make you cry.

Second item was 'butter powder.' Sure, powdered butter -- or so I thought.  No juke, this stuff is great but you must follow directions!  After my first try I read and followed the instructions.  It was butter! It even MELTED on a hot biscuit, unlike even some of the grocery-store products.  I would NEVER have bought or opened a $20 dollar can of butter powder to find out thislittle fact, but could afford $5 worth of experiment.  I now use both opened products in my regular cooking, or will until the cans are empty. It's nice not to have onions that are too far gone (surprise!) or butter that has taken on new flavors after sitting in the fridge a while. I'm thinking these cans may actually be more 'frugal' than I thought at first, as they may reduce the wasted regular items that sat too long on my shelf.

Recent lessons learned

There is such a thing as being too frugal. I crossed that line recently, but was fortunate that I did not pay dearly for it.  I bought a product over the internet that was a great deal for what was described.  The 'cans' of product were about half the price of other similar items.  $40 plus postage later, I had the items. I could have lived with the fact that the pictures on the internet made the 'cans' look a lot like #10 cans, which they were not.  What I couldn't live with was that the 'cans' were cardboard sleeves. Not exactly a long-term food storage item.

Even in our low humidity, the product may have lasted a year. That did not fit my needs.  I e-mailed the seller, who stood by the merchandise and provided a full refund, including the cost of  return shipping. What I learned is to stick with my tried and true suppliers, be patient and wait for their sales and specials, and not go through this type of discovery to save a few bucks.  I wasted a couple of hours of my time, some gas for the truck, and didn't save a nickel -- which was not what I planned.