Re-packaging refers to opening all these jumbo bags of this and that, putting them in containers that can reasonably be used, and dumping the rest in the freezer, or in somehow cleaning/drying or otherwise manipulating things to last longer.
I’ve given you some of my tips for keeping green onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, parsley and cilantro and so forth before.
Part of the reason why this kinda thing is needed, is that supermarkets, as the years go by, are intent on forcing me to buy in quantities that are convenient and economical for them. Yes, I do not come first in this exchange, their profits and efficiency come first.
Most of you may not remember, but I sure do, when a person was faced with a large display shelf of strawberries. You grabbed a box and carefully picked out the ripest most beautiful berries. Indeed, one could judge the relative quality of a the homemaker by the care she took in choosing her fruits and vegetables.
No more of that of course. Today all strawberries are packaged in amounts that may or may not relate to your needs. And you buy knowing that there will be one or two or perhaps more in the middle that must be thrown away. It’s just the way things are.
True we have always had to buy carrots, and radishes and green onions in “bunches”. Why we have had to, I have no clue, because they don’t grow that way. I may need six carrots for a roast, but I have to buy twelve, because that’s the “accepted” number for a bag.
Wal-Mart began to lose me, when it decided to force me to buy two bunches of green onions sealed in a bag instead of one. How convenient for them. Certainly not me.
For reasons of their own, I must by several stalks of broccoli all gathered in a super rubber band. We can’t usually eat that much. I routinely just take one or more of the extras out and lay it back in the broccoli bin. So far nobody has “nabbed” me for altering of produce.
You probably still recall that grapes came in branches. You picked up the one that was the best size for you. Now they shove a set “weight” into a zipbag and offer it to me. I open those and take out what I don’t want too.
Increasingly they try to sell me parsnips and turnips in packages of six or more. But I don’t want six, I want three. They like to put Brussel sprouts and green beans in zip bags. They put in enough to feed a family of twelve. I am a family of two. It ticks me off.
I recognize the savings for things like toilet paper and such. Big packs are economical. But a roll of toilet paper doesn’t rot and get slimy in my fridge either.
We could of course go on into the insanity of why we get six or eight hot dog buns, but ten hotdogs. We could wonder at that. We might wonder why we get eight hamburger buns, but we only get about three hamburgers per pound of meat unless you are making mini burgers.
So, I am forced, by being somewhat frugal and being conscientious about waste, to spend better than an hour repackaging. Today I cleaned green onions and put them in my container as I’ve previously described to last out the next two weeks. Then I cleaned a thing of celery, cutting off the bottom and the green leaves, washing and cutting the stalks in half and wrapping them in paper towelling to absorb the moisture and placing them in a plastic bag. I actually use my celery now instead of throwing better than half away.
Then I moved to the pepperoni. I make pizza, so I buy pepperoni. They only sell pepperoni in packages of enough to make about five pizzas. Know anyone who makes five pizzas at a time? So I open the package, count out twenty (which is the amount for my pizza), wrap them in Saran, and then into another bag for the freezer.
Then I went on to the chicken. We use chicken breasts and thighs. Occasionally I buy tenders in a large bag and use them for various things. Occasionally I buy wings for hot wings. Now breasts I can buy at the butcher as breasts–bone-in. I sometimes have them split and sometimes not. I buy them on sale. But the butcher only sells quarters beyond that. That’s the thigh and the leg. I don’t want the leg, so I’m forced to buy my thighs at the supermarket offered by some big operation called Perdue.
They insist that I need eight, when I only need four. So I repackage in bags of four and them put them in another bag to keep them protected.
Then I get to breads. I take whole loaves of “bakery” breads and cut in three parts and re-wrap and freeze. I take my hamburger and hotdog buns and simply put on additional bags and freeze. I can open and break off the two that I usually need for a meal. I do the same for dinner rolls, whether I make them or buy them from the store.
So do you repackage? And do you have any tips? I’m always looking to fine-tune my operation. Buy less, save more. That’s my mantra.
**Tomorrow I will tell you what made my head explode last night. I’m still picking up the pieces.
**What’s on the stove? corned beef and cabbage casserole, dinner rolls.