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if you can afford it buy a decent immersible blender, they are the handiest gadgets not only to make baby food with but good for smoothies, shakes and other small pureeing jobs. I have a "Braun" I bought almost 15 yrs ago and it is still going strong after using it almost every day.
To improve your soil why not ask the neighbors who do not spray their lawns to save grass clippings for you. when they mow. The clippings either compost easily or just till hem under and thy decompose in the soil over winter. Dry leaves off the trees are FREE and good but not those with a lot of tannic acid in them (oak and walnut trees).
Call your County Extension Service and ask them to guide you or help find a Master Gardener or a local garden club to help you with advise. Peat moss would be good mixed with sand because it holds a lot of moisture. Why not try to find some old plastic buckets, drill some drain holes the bottom and fill those with decent soil and plant a few tomato plants into a few buckets. You can paint the outside of the buckets to make them look pretty. Extension Service will help you with how to build up your soil and/or tell you what does well in the soil in your area.
Every County Extension Service has a wealth of information about gardening, farming, canning, the whole works. They can also tell you about container (buckets, ect) gardening and the soil you need for the containers. There must be some produce that does well in sandy soil. Extension Service can tell what will grow in your soil, they may even test it (free) and tell you what it needs. The only experience I ever had with sandy soil was in Indiana and Ground Cherries grew well there, in fact they grew wild. When green they taste like a Tomatillo but when ripe they are sweet and make good jam.
If you don't have much freezer space it's time to start thinking about canning a/o dehydrating what you can buy very reasonably at Framers Markets or from other gardeners or even in the stores until you get your soil built up so it will produce much of what you need.
I bet there are auctions and yard sales and thrift shops in your area where you can find some good used canning jars and maybe even a decent pressure canner. If you buy one of those, have the Extension Service inspect it and tell you whether you need a new gasket o or replace any of the very small seals. I prefer the ones that have a visible steam pressure gage and not just the jiggler(s). Extension Service also has a tool to check if the visible steam pressure gage if it is working properly and accurate.
When buying used canning jars, make sure you run your fingers over the rim of each jar to make sure there are no nicks in the glass. If the rim has even the smallest nick the jars will not seal properly.
May I suggest that you save some of the advise you get from all the nice ladies here, like someone mentioned, there are many years of experience on this board.
Hey, I grew up when there was no such thing as baby food and no small food mills, My mother just mashed everything with a fork until it was perfectly smooth, some things they put through a meat grinder and I survived quite well on ordinary food
People did not cook anything spicy in those days, they used some herbs, yes ,but nothing hot or spicy.Just be careful with salt when feeding baby, it is not necessary to put salt into baby food, many veggies do have natural salts in them. I eat salt free, do not add salt to vegetables or meat yet any metabolic blood work the doctor orders always shows that my body salts are in balance and right on the money.
There is more than enough salt added to all (raw and especilly to processed ) meats you buy in a store because they brine the raw meat so it stays fresh longer, right along with treating it with irradiation (for even longer "freshness") and beef and pork with carbon monoxide so it does not turn dark when exposed to air an.d light during cutting and exposed to nore light in the show cases.
It is getting very hard to find unadulterated food for a reasonable price.
Hi. Good to see a young mom getting back to basics. It is best for baby also. Myself and now my children all make their own baby food. Sometimes it takes the little one a bit of time to get use to the new textures but they love it in the end and the food value is so much better. Don't give up on growing your own veggies in containers. Just about anything can be grown in a pot. Sometimes you just have to watch for the right type of plants to grow. Look for words like bush tomato, or cucumber, even mini zucchini can grow in a pot. Use a two gallon pot or better, fertilize regularly, every week (remember that coffee and tea also work as a fertilizer. Start with a good potting soil or you will fight with it all summer. If finding the right pot is a problem look around you just might have the right container sitting around waiting to be tossed. Even that old laundry basket can be lined and work for cucumbers. By the time they start to trail no one will see the pot. Make sure you have ample drainage but don't put rocks at the bottom, just soil. Roots need a place to set in. Here I go just a talking about my favorite pastime. I should let you get on to reading other posts.
I really want to do some container gardening and have been looking at how to make Earthboxes. They seem really easy to make. The UF extension service has people at our library every week to answer questions so I was going to talk with them to see if what I want to grow will work in the Earthboxes. Prices are already rising here. Our kids go to private school so I try to be economical with our meals and buying. It's important to us they go to private school so we cut back elsewhere. It's getting to be very challenging. Living in FL our growing is different since we get so much heat (although most of the country has struggled this year too). I'm wondering since we don't get quite as cold here in the winter if I could get started soon with some things.
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Hi Eleanor, I know what you mean about feeding a hungry baby as we have seven children. I always made all the baby food from scratch. When my babies started meat instead of buying the expensive jars I would buy a turkey roll (found in the freezer section) and would bake it and puree it in a food processor and then freeze in ice cube trays. When frozen I would pop them out and store in gallon size freezer bags. i also did this with fruits and veggies. I could cook and prepare and freeze an entire months worth of baby food in just a couple of hours.
When the babies got older I also feed them what we were having first pureeing it in a small food processor.
Tammy, I love the idea about freezing the baby food in ice cube trays, I would not have thought to do that! We do have a food processor so we can get started on freezing. Buffet Fan, keep us posted on what you plan to do with the container gardening - that is something I have thought about. Craft Granny, I had no idea that tea and coffee can be used for fertilizer.
Eleanor P. Jones
I am looking into our extension agency to see what resources I can gather. I am also thinking about setting up for container gardening. I have definitely received a lot of good advice and I am saving it up because I need all of the advice I can get !
Hi Eleanor! I hope we see you often here. I have been MIA for a while - but am trying to get back to basics and saving.
I went from a six household family to 3 in 3 weeks. So, it's been a fast adjustment that I am still trying to get used to. My work has slowed down and I do not want to work like crazy again - so I'll be hanging out more and relearning some great budget ideas (again) here!
Maybe we can get this area hopping again! Grelo - have missed you and so glad to see you posting around this place more often.
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