- 2 gallons of frozen blueberries
- 1 batch of blueberry butter (8 cups)
- 2 batches of infused blueberry vinegar
- 1 batch of blueberry pie filling (4 quarts)
- 2 pounds of frozen green beans
- 1 batch of peach salsa (8 pints)
- 1 batch of raspberry jam (4 pints)
It's no secret that I'm a rather large proponent of the homemade lifestyle, but the truth is, I've never put much thought in why I prefer "from scratch" living as opposed to a store-bought lifestyle. I always assumed part of my infinity for DIY in the kitchen was merely an appeal to tradition.
Growing up, my mother feed my brother and me homemade bread, homemade jam, and homemade cookies, etc. If you could make it from scratch, then we weren't buying the store version. While I'm sure when I set off on my own as a young adult, I really did have a choice to leave the homemade lifestyle behind me, but instead I fell right into making things from scratch because, really, it was the only way I knew.
I mean, one simply does not buy a lug of peaches for preserving when they come on sale in August unless the idea that peaches and August preserving are as much a pair as peaches n' cream has been instilled in you at a very early age.
After the marathon session of peach salsa making on Monday, I decided to look at my homemade tendencies from a purely economic viewpoint. (Because, you guys, 2.5 hours is quite a lot of time to invest in something, you know.)
After some rudimentary calculations, not factoring in the worth of my time, I figured out that each jar of salsa had cost me approximately $2.30. Yes, when you figure that the cheapest I can buy a 16 oz. jar of a salsa in town is about $2.99, there are slight savings involved with going the homemade route, but as soon as you factor in the assumed monetary value of my time, the store-bought version suddenly triumphs as the better value. Granted, if I'd had homemade tomatoes on hand (our first red tomatoes are just about ready for picking) and if we're actually capable of growing garlic and onions, the cost of each jar would have dropped drastically, although if I factored in the time I spent growing all of the ingredients . . . you get where I'm going.
So why bother with the homemade lifestyle, other than the fact that I know no other way?
- Money can't buy you love . . . or homegrown tomatoes. I found this quote on Diane's Crave Cute blog recently, and while technically, I suppose you could buy homegrown tomatoes, nothing quite matches the feeling of transforming something raw and unfinished into something delicious and/or beautiful.
- Control. I've always had control issues. When it comes to homemade stuff, I have total control over how the finished product turns out, which I love. Don't like an ingredient in a recipe? I don't have to use it. This consequently means that the finished product tastes better to me than the store version.
- When I make it myself, I can avoid preservatives and other less desirable ingredients in pre-made food products.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle. When you buy products from the store, you buy a new jar every time. By canning things myself, I can reuse my Mason jars for years.
- It's fun. I was shocked last year when Andy implied that my canning obsession was really just a hobby. "But," I stammered. "I'm just trying to feed us through the winter." That and, well, I just wouldn't spend that much time slaving over a steamy stove top in August if it was satisfying and fun.
In other news, look what we found in the potato patch: