“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
During the Great Depression of the 1930s and the WWII rationing of the 1940s, our grandparents experienced a shortage of food and other basic goods unknown to most of us living today. Frugality was an accepted way of life, not just a passing fad. The generations born after 1946 have experienced a level of material prosperity inconceivable to our ancestors. As the level of wealth rose, so did the propensity to waste. The pendulum is now swinging in the opposite direction and “the times, they are a changin.” Frugality is becoming a necessity once again.
The kitchen is a good place to start learning the art of frugality. So much of what we throw in the garbage, down the disposal or out in the trash bin can be put to other beneficial uses. Coffee grounds make a great fertilizer sprinkled on the garden. Strawberries, in particular, crave the java jolt. Egg shells also add beneficial nutrients to the soil, but be sure to crush them first since they don’t break down quickly and your garden may end up looking like a hatchery. Egg shell halves can be filled with peat or potting soil for starting tomato plants from seeds. Place the “peat pots” into an empty egg carton and set in a sunny window until planting time. Once in the garden, the decomposing eggshell will add calcium to the growing tomatoes.
Whenever I cook a whole chicken, the skins go to the dogs, the liver, gizzard and heart go to the cats, and the bones go into the stock pot for homemade chicken broth to be used in soups and stews. Beef bones may be done the same way for beef broth. Freeze raw vegetable scraps – celery ends, potato and carrot peelings, onion skins, cabbage stems, shriveled garlic cloves, you name it – and when you have a gallon bag full, cover with water and boil for vegetable stock.
Water in which potatoes have been cooked is also a great soup starter, or, if you prefer, cool it and use as a power drink for your houseplants. Those little dabs of leftover vegetables from dinner can be thrown into a gallon freezer bag to be used later in vegetable soup. If you just haven’t the time for simmering or freezing, throw the vegetable scraps on the garden compost pile and the meat scraps to the birds. The extra fat and protein will keep our feathered friends happy and healthy.
After a shopping trip, instead of throwing out all of those plastic bags, take them to a local charity. Our Clothes Cupboard is always in need of bags for their used clothing sales. Line small trash cans, like those in a bathroom, with plastic bags and they will seldom need scrubbing. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, plastic coated juice cartons, nestled between the logs, make great fire starters. Use newspapers for cleaning mirrors, glass tops and windows – you’ll have no streaks or lint to mar the finish.
There are so many more ways in which we can live more simply and frugally. We must conserve and wisely use that which our Father has given us if we are to be His stewards.
by: Debbie Reed