Food processing and cooking tools

These items help you save money and reduce your monthly grocery bill. This allows you to put aside some food in case hard times come your way. Look for this equipment at thrift shops, flea markets, garage sales, and in the classified ads. I've bought mason jars for 20 cents, and my pressure canner cost me $3.00 at a thrift shop. These items can also be bought by people working together as a cooperative.

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Crockpot. The crockpot or slow cooker adds quality to your life, saves time and money. Fill it up before you go to work, dinner is ready when you get home. Fill it up at night and have a tasty breakfast in the morning.

Dehydrator. You can buy them new for as little as $20. You can dry fruits and vegetables, make snacks, jerky, fruit leathers, all kinds of fun stuff. This type of food preservation doesn't take much of the cook's time.

Boiling water canner. This is a large pot at least 13 inches deep, used to process fruit. Remember those home-made preserves your grandmother used to make? You can do just as good as she did, and there are people who will teach you how to do this. Buy fruit when it comes in season and make jams, jellies, apple butter, whatever you like, and eat it all year long.

Pressure canner. This is necessary for bottling vegetables and meats. These often run $50-60, but there is a way around this: get together with your friends and neighbors and purchase a larger size of this item. When vegetables come in season from gardens or farmers markets, everybody in the group works cooperatively to process the produce. This is a particularly good project for churches, which often have large kitchens that can be used for a community effort.

Grain and meat grinder. You just can't beat the flavor of bread baked from flour that you ground yourself. With a meat grinder, you can make your own sausage, with the unique tastes that your family likes. These items add security and quality to your life. More expensive machines could be bought by groups as a project.

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