Homesteading and learning to be self-sufficient.
Homesteading and becoming self-sufficient is making a pretty strong comeback in our nation. More and more, people are looking for ways to save money on their grocery bill and to eat more healthy and clean. We are beginning to see and understand the negative impact of processed foods on our health and we are choosing to pass up the premade, boxed foods, the instant mixes, and even the fast-food drive-through windows for homemade healthy options. This is probably why eating plans like Whole30, KETO, and Paleo are all so incredibly popular. We long for a time when things were simple, fresh picked, and homemade. We didn’t have to worry about reading labels or about GMO, hormones, artificial flavors, or the use of chemicals in our foods. We have an epidemic of illnesses that all lead back to gut health and the foods we eat. We are looking to the past and relearning the lost skills of making things from scratch once again. The challenge is, how do you get started? At least that has been my challenge. My passion for homestead is strong, but not knowing where to start has been overwhelming.
I remember sitting at the table watching my mom make dinner from the food I had helped picked from the garden. I helped while she made bread from scratch, but 30 years later, I couldn’t remember how it was done. I had gotten so used to the convenience of packaged foods that I had forgotten all the life skills that were taught to me as a child. There has been a growing desire in me to not only provide a wholesome and healthy environment for myself and my son but to also teach him these skills. I feel it is vital that he has the ability and knowledge required to be self-sufficient.
The world is ever-changing, and life is unpredictable, but one thing remains the same…we need to know how to survive. Even better, we need to know how to thrive in self-sufficiency.
Let’s start with 10 basic things everyone should know when starting into modern-day homesteading and learning self-sufficiency.
How to make soup stock/ bone broth
Did you know you could make tasty soup stock from trimmings and bones you would normally toss in the trash? Save bones from meals of chicken, pork, or beef in the freezer for a couple of weeks until you have enough to gently simmer on the stove in a pot of water for a few hours. Even your left-over veggie ends like onion skins, celery and carrot ends also make great stock. You’ll save money by no longer needing to buy stock from the grocery store, which isn’t as healthy as you may think. I LOVE homemade stock and it is great for your gut.
Basic instructions: Chicken or turkey stock, you’ll need about 1 to 2 pounds of chicken or turkey bones for every 6 cups of water. Bones from pasture-raised birds are the best. Then you’ll need some veggies and fresh or dried herbs to throw in to add depth and flavor. I usually add some apple cider vinegar too which helps bring out the flavor of the bird and draws out the nourishment from the bones. For more step by step instructions, Great Homemade Stock Recipes.
How to make stews and soups from your homemade stocks
Filling, protein-rich stews and hearty soups are the best comfort foods and will fill you up with nourishment and satisfy your hunger.
Need ideas for soup? I’ll be adding my soup recipes soon. I LOVE soup! One of my favorite things to make especially on a cold rainy day (which happens a lot here in Washington State).
How to Ferment foods
Fermented foods are healing for the gut with healthy bacteria that can boost your immune system and helps balance your overall health and mood. It may smell funky, but it is so good for you! The gut is where more than 95% of our digestion and absorption of nutrients take place, so having a healthy gut is vastly important. Want to know 10 surprising reasons to eat more fermented foods? Stay tuned! Try my recipe for homemade Sauerkraut.
How to make homemade Butter
I use butter for so many things and I love being able to make my own and not buy it from the store. I had a thing for Amish butter for a while and so I decided I would take a run at it. Here was my first try at butter and it is pretty good. I found the recipe on the food network.
Example recipe: Take about 2 ½ cups of heavy cream, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Prepare a medium-size bowl of ice water. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, gradually whip the cream and sour cream together. Increase the speed of the mixer and continue whipping until the cream separates and the mixture thickens.
Use a spatula to gather up the butter and remove it from the bowl. There will be some liquid that is a natural result of this process. (That liquid is buttermilk.) Gather the ball of butter together into a double layer of cheesecloth or a thin kitchen towel and plunge it into the ice bath to wash any buttermilk off the surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Pack the butter into a bowl or roll it into a ball or log shape using plastic wrap. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator. **You can also use this recipe with only heavy cream and no sour cream. Leave out the pepper if you are going to use the butter for baking.
How to grow the things!
Activate your green thumb and grow your own food! Maybe start with an indoor herb garden, and then consider adding some leafy greens to your garden for yummy home picked salads. Tomatoes are also a great starter veggie to grow.
How to sew and mend clothing
Homesteading usually includes being Self-sufficient with altering and mending clothing. It is an important skill to have and comes in particularly handy if you like to bargain shop or have a kid who is rough on clothes. This is a skill I do NOT have, and I am still nervous about sewing machines (unlike my mother who could hand make her own clothes). I decided to start simple with buying an alternation kit. My kit has a little ruler, some small, sharp scissors, different color thread, and a sewing needle pack. It’s also helpful to have an iron for mending and hemming.
How to make Vinegar
Vinegar is vital for gut health and adds great flavor to salads and homemade stocks. Learning to make it is helpful. It can be made from pretty much any liquid containing alcohol, and the flavor of homemade vinegar is often far better than anything you can find at a store. It also makes a fun and unique gift!
Did you know that one of the best household cleaners is actually a 50-50 blend of white vinegar and water!? Make white vinegar and you have a great cleaning product as well.
Yogurt is a yummy way to help heal the gut and boost your immune system. It also is a great source of probiotics and protein. Making it yourself is far better than buying it from a store. No matter how healthy you think you are being, there are still hidden products in your food from even the packaging! Plus, the healthier the brand, the more expensive it is.
I love bread. I might love it too much which is why I also love yoga pants. Haha! I use a bread machine which is very much “modern homesteading”, but freshly baked bread made from scratch is amazing! I do plan on teaching my son how to make it from scratch without a bread machine. We usually made gluten-free bread because he has Crohn’s and gluten can be a trigger for his symptoms.
Here is a GREAT recipe for true homemade bread from scratch.
Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of water to a large bowl and mix well. Add a little more flour and water every day for about 2 weeks. (The sour smell means it’s working.) Add about 2 cups of the mixture to 1 cup of water and enough flour to make a moist dough. Then, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and knead thoroughly for about 15 minutes.
Cover in a bowl and let sit for 2 hours, then knock down and form into a ball. The dough will take 8 to 14 hours to rise (overnight is ideal). When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 550°F and bake until brown and crusty. A great tip: add a pan of water in the oven while baking. This will add moisture and make for great bread.
There you have it! 10 things that you can start implementing into your lives one step at a time to get closer to being self-sufficient.
Save money while getting healthy! That is a win-win!
“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” – Abraham Lincoln