Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stocking The Freezer

When we were in Amish country a couple of weekends ago, one shop was selling sides of beef (or whole beeves*) at $2.49 per pound. This is for all cuts of beef, from T-bone steaks to brisket to roasts to ground beef. The beef was grass and corn fed, with no growth hormone or antibiotics. We had the chance to look at the meat and it looked excellent. A side of beef is approximately 250 pounds, which means the cost with sales tax would have been approximately $650. Unfortunately, with my recent dental work, some recent repairs to Shane's work truck, and winter coming on (with possible workdays lost to bad weather) we decided it wouldn't be a wise move for us to spend that much money all at once.

Instead, we're going to stock up on meat in smaller quantities from the grocery store. It may not be the same quality or cuts (I doubt we buy many steaks), but it will keep us fed. This week one of the stores in our city had beef arm roast at $1.89/lb. I went yesterday and bought 15 pounds worth, which was seven small roasts. The cashier thought there was a limit on how many packages I could get, but when she checked with the meat department, they said there was no limit. Shane and I decided that we might like to get another 10 pounds, but when he stopped by the same store on his way home from work, they had posted a limit of two packages, so grabbed the two largest roasts in the case, which amounted to about six pounds total. We had no beef in the freezer, but this will stock us up for a while. In addition to serving them as roasts, I can cut the beef into smaller pieces to make beef tips, fajitas, stew, cubed steaks or kabobs.

Another local store had whole pork loins for $1.19 lb. I bought a 9-pounder and cut into chops and small roasts. We already had 4-5 pounds of pork loin in the freezer, so I decided to stop at just the one. Like the beef, the pork loin is versatile. I can make chops, roast, fajitas, cutlets, kabobs or cook it with dried beans.

A third store has bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for 99¢ per pound. I'm still trying to decide whether to take advantage of this sale or not. These are cuts I typically DO buy and fillet myself (saving the meaty bones for soups), but we have some chicken in the freezer already. 79¢ and 89¢ per pound are not uncommon, and I've seen these go as low as 69¢ per pound, so I will probably wait until either the price is lower or we run low on chicken in the freezer.

While Shane and I were both disappointed to pass up buying a side of quality beef, it looks as if we'll be able to fill our freezer on even less money, and at a pace we can handle without draining our savings account.

Who else out there buys meat when it's on sale and freezes it for future meals? Or do most of you buy whatever looks or sounds good at the time?


*Is it beefs or beeves? The dictionary shows both, but I'm not comfortable with either. Not a word I have to use often, thank goodness.

5 comments:

Tug said...

I just say 'a whole beef'... ;-)

You know me, I don't cook, so when I do, it's as needed and what sounds good.

Leanne said...

No you're right neither beefs nor beeves sound quite right, although I wouldn't know what to call them either. two sides of beef:)

I would have been a bit gutted as well to have had to pass that up, but it is a lot of money to spend in one go and knowing my luck I'd arrive home with my side of beef to a broken washing machine or a burst boiler. I've bought smaller animals whole before, like lamb and rabbit and turkeys in the middle of summer when they're dirt cheap and used it instead of chicken but even the lamb which would be the most expensive was only £45 so much more easily managed.

jinmo said...

Hi! I'm Torry's sister-in-law, Janet. She suggested I read you blog because we do a lot of similar things - she is so right! I actually just posted about this very subject a few weeks ago on our blog (http://schaafchronicles.blogspot.com/2009/08/cooking-ahead.html). I've enjoyed reading yours! Have fun stocking up for winter! -janet

Annie Jones said...

Tug - couldn't get that to work with my sentence structure. Should've just left it at half, I guess. :)

Leanne - I'm not sure I like lamb well enough to have that much of it on hand. I like it once in a while, though. Pork is a different story, though. I could probably eat pork every day.

Janet - Thanks for stopping by! I've heard a lot about you. :) I have your blog bookmarked, but haven't been there for a while. Going to check it out again now...

Frances said...

I do the same thing you do. When meat is on sale, I stock up and stock the freezer. I have to be careful now, as our freezer is PACKED. (I really have to make some jam and free up the space my fruit is taking up!)

Last weekend, I bough 15 lbs of ground beef that was on sale. Doing it in small trips makes it easier on the budget.