Sunday, 1 August 2010


In February I wrote about my food stockpile. The pile had a theme – all those so called health foods that you hear about. I say ‘so called’ because they don’t make you any healthier lurking in the cupboard, and in fact make your wallet a lot less healthier.

Blueberries are a great example.

Yes they are healthy but not so great when they have travelled half way round the world and are 3 weeks old by the time we eat them out of their plastic punnet for £2.99 a go.

And ironically, here in Scotland you can grow blackcurrants very easily for nothing. You simply get a bit of branch off someone else who has blackcurrants and stick it in the ground. Hey presto, only a year later you will have your first abundant crop. They have just as many anti oxidants in them and are good in porridge, wine, jam, juice and so on.

Who has ever managed to grow enough blueberries to make wine, jam and juice and still have enough left to put on their porridge? We grow both, and the birds either don’t bother with the blackcurrants or there are so many that we don’t notice the difference. (NB the trick with blackcurrants is to prune back to the ground everything that has fruited right after you pick the fruit. It leaves hardly anything, but don‘t let that worry you. I treasure my handful of blueberries per bush, whilst struggling to pick about 20 kilos of blackcurrants off our 6 bushes...

Simply add some black currants to your porridge from the freezer. Put the £2-£3 you would have spent on the blueberries each week in a pot and treat yourself to a weekend away instead at the end of the year. And watch out for the marketing hype with any food, with the likely associated price hike.

some of our blackcurrant crop...
Anyway, back to the food stockpile.

I have had some successes using things up. The mung bean stew has been great. I have only four tubs left, and have been getting a tub or even half a tub out of the freezer and adding different flavourings, tins of tomatoes, curry powder, vegetables etc to give us a range of almost free meals. I have even tried it out on a number of visitors with very positive results, and even requests for the recipe.

NB I did, honestly, tell them the story of the wee black things (see Feb 10 blog entry!) and offer a menu choice. Not one person was bothered, and it led to some interesting conversations about food waste.

The Cajun powder goes well with the mung bean stew and it, too is diminished.

The dried onions, glutinous rice and dried shitake mushrooms have all gone.

The brown chick peas have almost gone. I thought they had gone but hubby re-organised the freezer after the door got left open and frosted it up. Behold! Another bag of pre-cooked brown chick peas. He thoughtfully thawed them out and they will no doubt go in the bin once no one eats them and they go off in the fridge.

I like the ordinary ones but not these. A friend suggested sprouting them, and guess what – they are yummy sprouted. So the dried ones have all been sprouted and eaten, and the ones from the freezer went to said friend who likes them fine.

I am ashamed to say that almost all of the rest is still there. I have remembered to take the glucosamine a few times, but not enough to use up a whole one. I am quite stuck with the pollen granules, red quinoa, almond butter and the miso. I ought to use them up but keep not doing so. I hereby resolve to do one thing a week to use something up…

I HAVE FOUND ANOTHER STOCK PILE!This one is art materials for children. I used to do one to one art work with kids who had problems and have a seemingly inexhaustible supply of poster paint, bubbles (about a litre of it but you dilute it with 80% water - HELP) PVA glue (500mls) and several of those glue sticks.

I have a grandchild who is working hard at using all this stuff up but reckon it could take her the rest of her life to get through all that paint despite her best efforts.

Material World: A Global Family PortraitThere is a wonderful book called ‘Material World A Global Family Portrait’, by P Menzel. He went to different parts of the world and got people to put all their belongings outside their home. These were catalogued and photographed and the photos are in the book. The book also details the food the family eats. It was striking how many of the families only get to eat once a day, or who just eat beans and rice all the time whatever time of day it is and are grateful to be able to eat at all.

The American family’s stuff took up half a block. There was a family in Ethiopia who had only the clothes they stood up in, some cooking pots and a pair of wellingtons.

That is why I cannot bear to just throw away all this food and stuff that I should never have bought and may still be able to use up.

Actual stuff such as furniture, books and clothes is much easier to let go of. The money is gone, and it is better to send it to the charity shop or sell it so that someone else can get the use of it.

But you cannot do that with old food, part used poster paints and glue sticks.

So my resolution is to not let these things into my life without careful consideration. That is where the problem lies. 
But how to remember when I am at the shops and I want something???

1 comment:

  1. Swap you some bubble mix for books, dvds or anything else you need, just ask and I may have! (?) Rachel