Daily reports are surfacing concerning the availability of different foods for this upcoming season. Corn, apples, peppers and various other vegetables are scarce. The droughts and fires destroyed the crops everyone depends on. Not only does this mean that the products containing those crops will be in short supply but will also cost more. This isn’t something that only affects our vegetable and fruit sources either.
Farmers have cut and baled their corn crops to use as feed for their livestock this winter. The corn didn’t make but the stalks, leaves, etc will work for feeding cattle. Yet many farmers sold off their cattle, both beef cattle and dairy cattle, this summer as the price of feed kept raising, the droughts and fires continued and the cost of keeping the cattle became higher than their possible profits. While this helped reduce the price of beef this past summer, it will result in higher prices this winter and less supply of beef and dairy.
Hunters who fill their freezers with deer, wild boar, rabbit, fish, squirrel and other sources of wild game may find it difficult to do so this year. The deer in several states, including around Chicago and in South Carolina, have been stricken with a deer virus which is killing hundreds of deer. Fish throughout the United States in freshwater lakes, streams and ponds are contaminated with mercury, pcbs, and other toxins thought to be unsafe for human (especially children and expectant mothers) consumption. Freezers will not be as easily filled for the winter this year.
In order to prepare for a hard winter with high grocery prices, bad economy, terrible job market, and scarcity in food products, one needs to get started now. Any food product which is currently generously available in one’s locale needs to be taken advantage of and preserved for winter. Garden vegetables, fruit from trees, berries from wild bushes, greens from the yard, wild game of the area and fish that is considered safe should be gathered and put up for the upcoming season.
Options for preserving food include freezing, dehydrating, canning, pickling and jellying. Fresh herbs and spices can be frozen in ice-cube trays of water for later use or they can be dried. Fruit and vegetables are great frozen or canned. Meat from wild game can be frozen, dehydrated, or cooked and canned. Fish is best if frozen.
Thinking ahead and preparing through the preservation of the foods available now will help to keep grocery costs down at the store or market during the winter. It can mean the difference between having nutritious meals at home or standing in a soup kitchen line in the cold this winter. Eating cheap and well in an expensive economy is possible when one plans ahead and is ready.
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