Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Frugal pie baking tips for tough times

Frugal Baking Tips for Pie

Posted by Warren for EverythingPies.com
Hard times are here, but you can still bake pies by stretching the dollar.

Pie Frugality, Vintage style

We are living through some tough times. This great recession has put its toll on families, not just financially but also emotionally. Our pie baking is affected as well.
What we can cook and when we eat is a daily decision for many families. Some make the choice between keeping their home or putting food on the table.

This choice includes if I can bake pies for my family. Is it necessary we have pie today? Can I afford a dessert for my family?

These choices we face as bakers are nothing new. My research of vintage pie recipes in the 18th and 19th century revealed baking frugality was a common topic.

Baking frugal was not a choice but a way of life for many cooks. They found ways to bake pies on a shoestring budget.

Housewives and mothers throughout the country got together to document ideas on how to provide for their family during difficult times. This includes baking pies.

1. Use dry or powdered milk
Use powdered milk when you can. There's no reason to use cow's milk in baking and cooking if you don't have to. You can't taste the difference once it is cooked. Keep some powdered milk made up in your fridge or make some up the night before using it for baking the next day.

Unless you have a family of growing boys, most of our milk ends up expiring and being thrown out. What a waste.

Many do not know this but powdered milk works for baking custard pies and as a substitute for condensed milk. A few minutes of your time will save you money.
This leads well into our next tip.

2. Watch those expiring dates

Bake up those ingredients that are about to expire first. Milk, eggs and butter will last just so long before expiring.

Take an inventory of your refrigerator. When stocking with new items from the store, move it to the back of the refrigerator and place the older opened item in front so they are used up first.

Did you know the average American family waste 125 pounds of food a year and $590 a year? So do not allow your food to expire just to be thrown out.

3. Shop for sales and use discount club stores

Buy butter when is going on sale and freeze it.

Things like flour and sugar are priced much lower at club stores than your local food chain store. Since these have a long shelf life, you can store them in your pantry for quite awhile.

4. Buy things in Bulk

This goes well with Tip #3. Things like sugar, flour, vanilla, chocolate chips and dried milk should be bought in bulk and stock up to save money.

5. Use fruits that are in season

Not only will they be cheaper but the quality will be better. What an excellent way to make a great pie.

6. Glean

Glean your local farms or neighbors fruit trees and berry patches. Please before you pick off the tree ask permission.

Be considerate of the property. Do not drive or step over any water systems for the plants. Farmers complain of pickers who cause damage to their property while picking.

Avoid using ladders to pick. For liability purposes keep both feet on the ground. Use a long pole with a net at the end to reach high hanging fruits.

7. Be frugal with your time and energy

Make enough pie dough for a few pies at the same time and freeze the rest for later. Baking two pies at the same time and freezing the second one, saves you time but also the energy used to heat the oven.

8. Gifts - Give a pie.

Bake a pie for some one and surprise them.

If a neighbor or farmer allows you to glean their tree, why not bake them a pie as a thank you gift. These ones will think of you during hard times and will reward you ten times over.

If they come across excess fruits, vegetables, grapes or nuts, guess who they will think of to give it to. Yes, the pie baker.

Frugal Ideas from Vintage Pie Recipes:

Thickening for pies - Pumpkin Pie from 1877
Custards were a favorate because many owned chickens and cows - Grandma's Pumpkin Pie from 1877

Pie is not just a dessert

Pie is not just a dessert. A pie baking in the oven is therapeutic to the family. It meant hope, unity and happiness. Things are tough but we will be alright.

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