How many time have you heard the saying, “waste not, want not”?
Our family saying is, “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without”.
Actually, it is my husband’s saying!
I am the one who loves to shop – for bargains of course!
But, I do hold to the basic idea of being good stewards and not wasting.
Some people are frugal because they have to be. Some are frugal because it is their nature. Others don’t like to waste but want to make the most of what they have.
Whatever your motivation, culturing foods can help you in a frugal simple lifestyle in several ways:
- Most cultured foods are actually higher in nutrients than the original food.
- Culturing prevent food waste by extending the shelf life
- Culturing your own yogurt and cheese can save you lots of money
- Culturing garden produce is a great way to put up your harvest without the effort of canning and/or freezing.
Like I said earlier, I am frugal because I want to be good steward and don’t want to waste. For example, unless a ziplock bag had meat or bone broth in it, I wash it out and reuse it. Not because ziplock bags are so expensive (I buy the store brand anyway!) but because they can easily be reused 2, 3, 4 and sometimes even more times before getting holes in them.
Much of what we throw away can actually be used and in fact, would never have been thrown away if economic situations were different – you might starve! So, here are some ideas to make the most of items from your cultured kitchen.
If you make your own yogurt, kefir or cheese, you will have whey. For yogurt and kefir, the whey is the liquid which settles out and is at the top of your jar. In cheese, the whey is the liquid left after the cheese is completed. Both types of whey are filled with vitamins and minerals and are very nutritious.
- Whey is a great starter for vegetable ferments like sauerkraut and fermented carrots. Once your vegetables are prepared, put several tablespoons of whey in to give the good bacteria a start.
- Whey can be used to make a natural electrolyte drink. My daughter-in-law makes a drink using lemon juice to flavor and honey to sweeten – chilled it is very refreshing.
- Whey can also be used in place of water to cook your vegetables and in baking. My family like all vegetables (carrots, potatoes, squash …) cooked in whey BUT not green beans. Don’t ask me why but it gives a funny taste to the beans!
- Whey is filled with vitamins and minerals and can be used to water your plants giving them a natural boost.
2. Kefir Grains
Kefir grains are filled with probiotics! Remember, kefir is like yogurt on steroids – yogurt normally has 3 – 5 strains of beneficial bacteria while kefir can have 30 – 50 strains! For recipes see Making Kefir and Making Yogurt.
If you make kefir on a daily basis and your grains are healthy, they will be multiplying! What do you do with the extra? Don’t throw them out …
- Give them away – ask people you know if they would like them. check with friends on Facebook, put an add on your local craigslist.
- Kefir grains,while tart, taste good – eat the extra.
- Add kefir grains to your kefir smoothie -they blend up and you (and your children) will never know they are there.
- Feed extra kefir grains to your pets – they need probiotics too! When Buttercup (our family milk cow) has mastitis, we feed her kefir – she loves it.
3. Kombucha Scoby
Like kefir grains, the kombucha scoby grows and multiplies. Being full of probiotics you do not want to waste them! Unlike kefir grains, I must admit, I have not been brave enough to try eating them but I have seen a recipe somewhere for kombucha scoby jerky!
Other things to do with extra kombucha scoby include:
- Give them away – ask friends personally or on Facebook or put an add of craigslist.
- Feed them to your pets – Buttercup slurps them up
- Put extra in your compost to encourage a good growing environment for the bacteria and soil for your garden.