Preparing for winter during a financial crisis | Preserving food for winter | Urban homestead UK | Prepper Life
Costs are rising for everyone here in the UK. Fuel costs, food costs, energy costs and many other essentials. Things feel like they are getting more and more challenging each day. The news seems to be filled with stories about how things are going to get even more difficult this winter. The doom and gloom is easy to get wrapped up in but I'm choosing to focus on getting our family prepared rather than stressing about things I cannot change.
This year I'm working as hard as possible to preserve as much of our harvest as possible. We are of course using lots of it fresh but before anything can go off I'm making sure I preserve it in some way. Dehydrating, freezing or using it in a recipe somehow for jams, chutneys or other preserves.
In previous years I would sometimes have enough of certain crops to donate some to the local food hub, this year though, we, like many other families all over the UK, are facing the challenge of rising costs. So rather than giving away any extra crops I'm preserving them for use in the winter.
Here are some of the jars in the kitchen filled with different dehydrated foods such as courgette, orange, apple, pear and banana.
If I'm honest I'm really quite worried about the future and how we will survive financially so I'm doing everything in my power to prepare us. Not just by preserving the foods we are harvesting but also by cutting back on all non-essential spending and buying a few extra tins of basics whenever we go shopping.
A few years ago we went through a really difficult financial situation which left us with empty cupboards it got so difficult that we had to ask family to help us buy food to feed the kids. This was the lowest point we as a family had ever reached. Once we got out of that situation we vowed never to let things get that bad again and it was at that point that I become a bit of a 'prepper'. Though not common in the UK it is in America and I've learnt a lot about the 'Prepping lifestyle' by reading books and watching Youtube.
I'm getting in extras of essential items whenever I can afford too, not lots, I'm not panic buying, I'm just getting in the odd extra long life items to help us get through the winter. Hopefully this will mean that is we face another difficult financial patch (which is highly likely with the expected electricity bill looming) we will have enough food in the house to keep the family going. It won't be anything special but it will be food to fuel us.
We buy only the cheapest food items, very rarely anything branded unless it is on a very special offer. We cook as much as we can from scratch and always freeze any leftovers for future use. We cook one meal that all the family can enjoy and have over the years learnt tricks on how we can extend the meals to make them go further without compromising on taste; for example by adding lentils to our homemade chilli con carne. We are a meat eating family but use as little as we can by bulking recipes out with home grown vegetables and dried lentils whenever we can. This saves money and reduces our meat consumption.
Another way I've been keeping costs low is by reusing old jars rather than purchasing new ones to preserve our harvest in. I have had to order some jars to enable me to keep up with the amount I want to preserve but by reusing jars as much as possible it has reduced the amount I need to buy. I've been careful to check for any damage and to ensure they are cleaned and sterilized before use to avoid any risk of contamination.
It is early August as I write this and so there is hopefully going to be much more we can harvest and preserve from the garden before winter arrives.
If you are interested in hearing about other ways I'm preparing the family for possible financial difficulties let me know in the comments.