As I sit here watching the morning news, I’m reminded of why I prefer to make my food from scratch. This morning there are several recalls of food products. Some are more disturbing than others and should be a reminder as to why it is important to have control over what goes into your food. Apparently, there are golf ball pieces in packages of frozen hash browns, salmonella on chips and what the soup can says is not what was found inside. These issues serve as a stark reminder of why taking back control over our food sources is critical.
I work long hours and totally understand the appeal of purchasing frozen foods for ease of cooking. But when I hear of these types of situations, it increases my commitment to control as much as I can when it comes to my food. Hash browns, for instance, are merely made from potatoes, onions and peppers. Super easy to cook yourself and then freeze for later use. Doing this would avoid the large production plants in which ready made versions come from, in which we wonder this morning about the quality control. What else is in our food that we are totally unaware of!
Recently, I read about someone who found a bat inside a popular salad mix. I would literally die if I opened my bag of salad and found a dead bat! This morning, I’m hoping we all consider what we are buying for convenience that could possibly be replaced, like bagged salads, canned soups and frozen hash browns. All of these items are easy enough to assemble at home to avoid mass production assembly lines.
Here are my suggestions for making this type of change to your food pantry.
Items like soup that come in cans are generally filled with sodium and lord knows what else. Soup is such an easy meal to prepare at home, but not something you might have time for after a long day at work. Luckily soup is an easy to cook ahead store meal. You can purchase glass food storage jars and seal the soup for months in your pantry. Or, you can place it in freezer safe storage containers and store in your freezer. Making a large pot of soup on the weekend is super easy as it’s they kind of meal that can slow cook in the crockpot, or on the stove. Once cooked, you divide the soup into several glass jars, seal and store.
The process of canning is fairly simple. You fill a clean jar with prepared food, apply the flat lid and the threaded ring to the jar and submerge the filled jar in boiling water. The time for boiling depends on what you are canning and is the process that creates an airtight seal, keeping food safe for extended periods of time. These are the jars I purchased when I was canning tomatoes. This morning I went down the basement and brought them back up. I plan to wash, sterilize and prepare for use again.
DIY Prepared Frozen Food
Open your freezer and look at what types of frozen foods you are purchasing. Are there any, like the hash browns on recall, that you could possibly make yourself? Hash browns are a perfect example of an easy to make and freeze food. Cooking these at home and placing in freezer storage bags or containers when cooled give you homemade goodness ready to grab and heat. I took stock of my freezer this morning and I have lots of frozen organic vegetables and fruit for use in smoothies. I started purchasing them when I got tired of throwing out food that we didn’t eat fast enough. I also have baggies with cut up banana and fresh blueberries. This reminded me that I can purchase and freeze fresh vegetables to avoid waste. I just need to invest in some extra freezer storage bags to place them in. They may not store quite as long as the store brought variety, but I don’t need to store them long.
I have seen food storage machines at Costco in the past and am wondering if I should pick one up for freezing vegetables and fruits. I think this would help them maintain their crisp color and avoid any danger of freezer burn. This one looks affordable and might be an investment I make.
Thankfully, if I am the person putting the fruit and vegetables in the bag, I’d be completely sure there are no extra critters inside my bags!
Make Your Own Salad Bags
The reason most of us purchase ready made salad bags is convenience. I’ve had many a morning where I didn’t bring salad to work because I didn’t have time to wash, chop and assemble it. Food prep will avoid this, but once you wash salad it begins to go bad if you don’t eat it. I used to have a salad spinner that dried the salad after washing. I may have to dig that out of my basement as well. This way I would wash it, spin it, assemble it and store it. Purchasing the Romaine lettuce whole is also more cost effective. I could purchase my lettuce, wash and inspect, dry and assemble for the week in separate containers. The trims can be added as needed to ensure freshness. Most of the trims are easy enough to grab and go. This is the type of spinner I have and I think I’m going to see if it dries it enough to stay fresh for the week.
I’m excited to get back to my routes and rethink some of my food preparation practices. I wish I had the time to grow my vegetables again, but I know I can’t maintain the garden properly. Making these simple changes will get me closer to that and hopefully avoid unknowingly eating items such as golf ball pieces in my food.
What are your thoughts on these recalls? Are you as sickened as I am? Will you give these types of suggestions a try? If you do, let me know how it works out for you.