Value Added Products

Joined Jul 13, 2012
With the garden coming in and puking tomatoes, squash, cukes, peppers, wax beans, eggplant, cantaloupes, etc. it's getting to be a busy time of year. I had to process three sheet pans worth today (along with making Loukaniko). Dinner and a beer break aside I was in the kitchen for a long shift like 9.5hrs. I process mine differently from most folks I know. I roast my tomatoes with garlic bulbs, in this case last years garlic - hey still sticky as all get out! This gives me three products - #1 sauce, #2 tomato essence and #3 food for my chickens. Having to roast three back to back pans left me with a very interesting bi-product namely tomato and garlic fond - that dark sludgy stuff that looks like it came from your crank case in the last pic. I tried some and it felt like I just ate a meal the flavor is so intense. I scraped as much as I could and added it to the tomato "essence". I'll freeze smallish quantities to add to dishes for a mystery flavor like I save pan goo from roasting meats. OK - onward:

At the end of the day that pot was full.

Bowl of "Roasted Tomato Essence" I'll strain this through a tea towel, to catch the sediment.

Another "Value Added" Product - sausage. Pork butts are .99/lb. this week so I picked one up, along with some leeks and oranges, thawed out some lamb . . . see where this is going yet? Check out this month's Challenge if you don't.

That's right I made Loukaniko - since I'm hosting I didn't want to make an entry (bad form and all). 2lbs. retail if you can find it is $42 yes, $21/lb. I made 11lbs. for $18 give, or take. Total labor maybe 3hrs. - now that's what I call "Value Added". I got my hunting/fishing licenses for the next year for $82. That entitles me to five dear, three turkeys, a bear if I choose, Striped Bass, small game, water fowl, upland birds and fresh water fishing. Do I need five deer? No - one nice doe, or two smaller ones will suffice, I don't do bear, but I do love birds, fowl and fish so money well spent IMO.

I guess my point is there is added value if you shop with that in mind. Hmmm . . . how many meals can I get out of this bla, bla, bla, or how can I best feed a large gathering on the least amount of money. Being retired on fixed income is not that hard for us as I've been on this path since I was young when it comes to cooking.

How are stretching your dollars?? I'd like to hear . . .
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
Nice job! Certainly want to see the finished sausage. Worthy of a post in the Slow Food challenge?

For me the best way to stretch a dollar is to buy whole chickens. With a bit of time and knifework, one chicken can give my wife and I 3 - 4 meals, each costing less than a Popeye's chicken sandwich.

Someday soon I plan on finally getting around to buying a freezer, chest or upright in the 5 cubic foot range, perhaps. While the upfront cost might be high, getting half a hog and stashing it in the chill chest could save money in the long run, over the cost of the same amount of pork in individual packages from the market. I remember as a kid my dad buying a side of beef just about every year. He'd actually go into the packing plant, select one of the hanging sides, they'd cut and wrap and we'd fill the big chest freezer in the basement.

Joined Jul 13, 2012
One bit of advice - get an upright freezer if you can. I have a small chest freezer I got on discount (scratch and dent) and if what I want is in the bottom I have to unload half of it to get it. Whole chickens are the way to go IMO as is whole fish. I even save shrimp shells and the dark leek greens in the freezer. I make shrimp stock when I get a bunch and make gumbo and I save bones too. Venison, Lamb, Pork, Beef, Chicken, etc. for stocks. Our folks grew up in the Great Depression and they wasted nothing - I guess the apples don't fall far from the tree as they say.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
I tend to buy whole chickens as well ;)
Also bake my own bread although I don't think it is actually cheaper....
I'm far from the shops, so a freezer is a life saver. So much so that I purchased a solar freezer while building my house and waiting for the full solar system..
I am planning to grow my own veges , definitely my own herbs.
I'll be back to making my own sausages, bacon and beer pretty soon (I hope).

I use plastic boxes, in my chest freezer so I have beef together, fish together, cheese/dairy etc, which makes looking for things a lot easier...
Joined Jul 13, 2012
I took all my frozen chicken parts - backs, necks, wing tips, rib cages, etc, etc. out of the freezer the other day. It filled an entire sheet pan so I roasted that for an hour then turned the oven off an went and had some libation with friends. When cool I put all that into my biggest stock pot then added a quartered onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaf - oh I forgot pepper corns then topped with cold water. I set that pot on a hot plate and put my temp controller probe in set to 199F. That will go for @ 40 hrs then drain and strain for the best bone broth. AND I made a ton of room in my freezer!!! :cool:

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