So many people over the past year have asked me, how do I manage to feed such a large family. I honestly have to laugh every time I am asked this, even though I understand they are questioning how to feed a family of ten on a fixed income, so today between classes I thought I would take the time to share how we manage to do so on a fixed income.
To start I should share the I have hundreds of mason jars, when I say hundreds I mean I lost count after 500. Collecting mason jars was the first thing I did, I placed an ad online looking for used good quality mason jars and received an overwhelming amount of responses. Next I went out and bought a large amount of lids and rings, they now make plastic lids for mason jars if using for spice and such but I try to stay away from the plastic lids. After washing and sterilizing all the jars I placed them upside down in a pantry until needed.
Now in my kitchen you will find mason jars full of sea salt, pickling salt, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking soda and every herb used in the kitchen. I have to say though, since moving here my kitchen has become a lot more crowded as I do not have a lot of space. In my cupboards you will find canned carrots, beans, pickles, tomatoes, relish, mustard, honey and jellies. If it is able to be canned then into a mason jar it goes in preparation for winter and early spring.
I buy my flour and oats in bulk at the moment so I have 5 gallon pails full stacked up, but if you do not bake this would not be a good idea. I can go through 20 kg of flour in one week or less feeding our household.
As for milk we buy 4 to 8, 4l bags weekly from the nearest grocer and try to stick to apple juice or cider but do occasionally buy other juices such as cranberry.
I guess because we do not eat out and I prepare all our food from scratch, it cost less and we get more. When it comes to meats we raise our own chickens, ducks, rabbit, lamb and pigs currently and just before the move sent our cows to the abattoir so we do not pay sky rocket prices for our meat and we know their are no added chemicals or such. What we raise is what we eat.
So basically when you really break everything down, because we grow our own vegetables and raise our own meat and eggs, currently we only need to purchase flour milk and juice on a regular basis. So our grocery bill is only about $100 and we shop roughly 3 weeks out of a month so we spend $300 a month. Now that does not include our hard work or the supplement of feed over the winter, but even including supplement each month it only totals $100. So our family of 10 spends $400 a month to eat healthy and know where our food comes from.
What you must remember though is that we also pay the abattoir so just for an example last year we paid to get our three pigs and two cows slaughtered, we paid $350 for our pigs and $400 for our two cows. Mind you we cut and wrapped ourselves, so in a year we paid $750 for meat which lasts us 12 months, and in 12 months we spend roughly $4,800 on grocery and supplement to total $5,550.
I am pretty sure a family of four, who eats out and does not raise their own food can double to triple our food costs, don't you?
So remember buy in bulk, know your prices, rotate your groceries and save!
From our Homestead to yours!
All Recipes we share on our blog are made in our kitchen and yield to feed a family of 10-12.