Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vinegars & Oils {Budget, Health & Storage} ~ Pantry Talk & Printable


Solomon once wrote that with much knowledge comes much sorrow. I have found this to be particularly true when it comes to health. Every day we learn of something new that is bad for us and something new that our bodies just can't live without! This is all fine and good when your budget is massive, but what to do when you are trying to feed your family nutritiously on little money and lots of love? As oils and vinegars are a big part of our budget (and health), I thought to share my take on this pantry subject. I am by no means saying this is the way to go, I am merely sharing how we balance it. 



Going back to the Bible, we see the use of olive oil in many ways. I still believe this to be the most healthiest of oils! First of all, there is no such thing (yet) as a GMO olive and secondly, it is rich in the healthy fats the body needs. The most beneficial is the extra-virgin, cold-pressed oil.  However, this is a very pricey oil and we use this only for raw purposes such as salad dressings, coleslaws, pasta salads, drizzling, etc. Extra-Virgin olive oil is not meant for frying and you are actually damaging the oil when you heat it.  Using this oil only on our raw foods helps to stretch it while still allowing us to nourish our family with its numerous health benefits.

Unfortunately, olive oil goes rancid rather quickly (at 6 - 12 months depending on the harvest date on bottle) so we maintain a smaller inventory of it in our pantry. Store away from direct sunlight, in a cool area and immediately replace the cap each time you use it to ensure freshness.



Extra-virgin, cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil is the latest and the greatest oil on the market right now. It boasts so many benefits and a simple Google search can give you all the scientific wonders. However, this oil too is very costly! While we do purchase a fair amount of coconut oil, we restrict its use for making healthier dessert options like cup of golds, peppermint patties, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, raw snack bars, etc. There are many delicious things you can make exclusively with this oil because of its hardening properties and flavor and we attempt to utilize it specifically in these areas. Unfortunately, we can not afford to cook our daily meals with coconut oil though it is excellent for this purpose should your budget allow it.

The shelf life of unrefined coconut oil is about 2 years (some claim even longer) if properly stored away from direct sunlight in a cool location.



Now, what to do for all that daily cooking and baking when you are on a budget? This is a tough one ladies. When butter is an option, we use it. Regarding oils, I choose the more affordable ones such as grapeseed, light olive, and high oleic sunflower oils.  These we use in making breads, pizzas, muffins, etc and for frying up tacos, stir fries and such. Though these may not be the "perfect" choice, sometimes we homemakers must be practical with our limited pocketbook resources.

These oils should keep for 1-2 years (unopened) in a cool, dark place.

Note: We purposely stay clear of the basic "vegetable oil", canola oil, soybean oils and margarine.



When it comes to vinegar, please know you can stock up to your heart's content! It does not expire. It is an excellent preparedness food since you can always clean with it, pickle with it, can with it, make medicinal tinctures and oxymels with it, and so much more if times got tough! This is one ingredient I make sure we are always well stocked in and it is so affordable that there is no reason not to.



We typically use the balsamic vinegar for salads and the red wine vinegar for vegetable marinades. Raw apple cider vinegar is excellent for your health and can be used in medicinal tinctures and oxymels (as mentioned earlier).  Along with housecleaning, the basic white vinegar can be used to make frugal salad dressing and is always a back up for any of the aforementioned items.

Shelf life of vinegar: Indefinite.


To make it more affordable for our pantry, we purchase large containers of these items and decant them into smaller, recycled glass bottles. For convenience, I like to add bottle pourers (see pantry photos below) to each bottle and print up labels to identify them. This also makes them more attractive for setting upon the table as condiments. And if I might add, it simply makes me smile when I peak into my pantry and find them there!

We are sharing the labels we prepared in case you are interested (just press the download button HERE and "save" and "print"). These are courtesy of World Label and created by Cathe Holden. You will find printable sticker paper on their website as well should you like (though I just used a glue stick to apply ours). Note: I am not affiliated with World Label but am passing on the credit due.

A peak inside our pantry.

With this system, our family can afford to have the health benefits of the extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive and coconut oils without breaking the bank. To use these quality items in recipes which are actually being cooked, you are killing a lot of the beneficial properties which you are paying for in the first place (defeating the purpose and the price in my way of thinking). This is how we attempt to balance frugality with health. I do understand that you can invest in your health by paying a bit extra on food, however, some of us simply are not able to make that kind of investment no matter how prudent it may be (especially if one is attempting to live debt free, you either have the cash to make a purchase or you do not).


With that being said, what are your thoughts on all of this? Are you surprised someone would take the time to talk on this subject? For some reason, I was highly interested in this topic.  I know there are a lot of knowledgeable health experts and I would to hear your opinion on this. Also, I know there are a lot of frugal minded women and I would love to hear your thoughts. And if you are both, please do share as well!
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou Friday, and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

44 comments:

  1. I've always been curious what the vinegars were used for.

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    1. I am no professional on the subject, just sharing what works for our family :)

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  2. Yes, more labels! I'm going to be smiling, too, as soon as I get those lovely labels printed and attached to a few bottles. Thank you! :)

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    1. I must say, it is a pleasant little project! :)

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  3. Such pretty labels! I love vinegar. I have used it for cleaning for many years. I have yet to try the coconut oils, but use olive oil as much as I can. Thank you for this informative article. Blessings, Lynn

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to share Lynn! It is nice to clean with vinegar, so versatile, natural and thrifty :) Have a lovely week!

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  4. I love the labels thank you! I just decided to make herbed oils and vinegars towards my Christmas presents.
    I think oils and vinegars are extremely important. We use olive oil and in cakes I will use sunflower. Often in recipes I use sunflower instead of butter and the cakes keep fresh longer. We use butter never margarine.
    I would never use canola. Not with a gun to my head!
    Truly I think olive oil and vinegars are a daily good thing. My favorite vinegar is aged balsamic. On Mimis blog she has how to make your own sticky balsamic glaze. This stuff is thick and sweet and drizzled over salad, steak, mushrooms etc it is just divine!
    Thanks Jes! Will be using the labels! xxx

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    1. Thanks for the reminder! We also steer clear of margarine and canola. I am going to include that above! Ah... yes, the aged balsamic is divine and a favorite and Mimi's glaze sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing your cake tip too! :)

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  5. What an incredible post JES! I appreciate the time you took to talk about each of the different oils and vinegars, and how your family makes use of them! The beautiful labels are a bonus as well... I have some bottles that would look much nicer with one of these labels on them! My favorite use of oil and vinegar together is in a salad dressing, and I use a lot of coconut oil in cooking as well. I have also substituted coconut oil for butter in recipes such as biscuits, and they turn out really good! It is great to know we have options past the awful margarine and canola oil days! Appreciate the time and great information you have in this post! Always a joy to come here... :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing on this topic! We have also tried the coconut oil in biscuits and they did come out beautifully!!! Have a lovely week :)

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  6. One of our favorite salad dressings is a simple combination of Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a little organic sugar. The addition of flavored oils or vinegars to that would be delightful indeed. I love the NEATNESS of your pantry! (You don't want to see mine.)

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    1. Ooh, some herbal vinegar would be a nice touch! Thank you for sharing :) And I would love to see your pantry... we could organize it together! :)

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  7. JES, love this! You create the prettiest printables!

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    1. Thank you Cecilia! Nice to hear from you! :)

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  8. Why do you think canola oil is bad? I buy organic locally grown rapeseed oil( the European name for canola) and it is supposed to be better for you than olive oil, in addition it supports local farmers and has less "food miles" than oil from a thousand kilometres away. Just curious :)

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    1. Hi Gill,
      I don't blame you for being curious! And I see your point on canola oil... On my end, 10 years ago I remember reading how it was actually poisonous for us and had to be altered considerably for human consumption. That always stuck in my head. Here is more scientific information if you are interested:

      http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/canola-oil.aspx

      Obviously I am not a purist as my budget doesn't allow it but it seems to me we each must choose what we think to be the lessor of evils... I hope this helps to answer your question.

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    1. Thank you Monika for taking the time to comment :)

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  10. I really appreciated this post JES, as we have been trying to improve our health in many areas this year, yet with a limited budget. The dessert recipes you linked to also look *very* good!

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    1. Glad to hear from you Gwen and YES, those dessert recipes are very delicious and pretty healthy too! :)

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  11. Hi Jes, First time I have ever commented. I love coming to check out your blog! Lots of Great info and appreciate that you have a budget and work with in that. Sometimes people make you feel less than if you can't be a total purist. I to wont use canola, try to use coconut as much as budget allows.I have read several articles that many places add canola into the olive which concerns me. Thanks for sharing the very cool labels cant wait to use them on some of my herbal vinegars. Just have tape written on lol!

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    1. Hi Davi, thank you for taking the time to share here today! I have heard about the tampering with olive oils too and just hope that I am purchasing the "clean" version! There is so much we need to watch out for these days that makes your head spin! I hope you enjoy the labels as it is a fun little pantry project. Have a lovely week :)

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  12. Hi Jes, Thank you for this informative post. I just wanted to add that cooked, pureed beans are a great substitute for oil/butter in most baked goods. (use equal amounts) I use this in sweet breads, cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. The finished "goodie" is more moist and much more economical. Have you tried this? Teri

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    1. Wow, no! This is why I like these kinds of posts, you learn so much from others! That would be way more economical and healthy too. Are there certain beans that work better for certain baked goods Teri?

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    2. Jes, I normally use my white beans that I can. However, pinto beans work well in spice cakes or breads that would "blend" the color with the batter color. Black beans work well in brownies, chocolate cakes, etc.

      When I puree a jar of beans, I measure the extra into 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup and freeze until my next baking day. Hope this helps. Teri :)

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    3. Excellent, thank you! I will be trying this... one more use for those lovely white beans! :) Thank you for taking the time to share this Teri!

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  13. Hello, I have wanted to make some infused herbal vinegar's myself, and I just read that comment about pureeing green beans instead of oil in bake goods! Tell what you know about this, as I have been told to cut out some fats from my diet.
    Blessings, Roxy

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    1. Interesting, huh? Teri has shared more information above! :)

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    2. Not green beans. Use white beans, like navy for example. Black beans for brownies, etc. this is an amazing tool I learned from the Mormon ladies.

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    3. This is an amazing tool!

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  14. Hi Jes. I love this. What a wonderful informative post and equally informative comments. I recently had the great privilege of visiting a family farm in Tuscany, where they produced their own award winning olive oils. The oil starts to deteriorate right from when it's pressed, so another key thing, is to buy local to get the freshest version, if you possibly can. I bought several teeny weeny bottles home to Australia, despite their crazy price, simply because their fresh oil tasted completely different to what we'd become accustomed to. Australia has a very similar climate to Italy, so we are fortunate to be able to buy some wonderful local oils. But now I also look for the freshest ones. It was a valuable lesson. Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Great tip Mimi! It was interesting what you said because I recently read that we are so accustomed to eating rancid olive oil, many of us do not know the difference! Perhaps that is what you tasted.... fresh, quality oil!

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    2. Yes, I'm sure that's the case JES. My husband would never normally eat olive oil, but he was raving about the ciabatta drizzled in oil and nothing else. He couldn't get over the fact that it didn't taste 'oilive-y'. The other thing is that we've been led to believe that Italy produces the 'best' oils. That may be true in some instances, but again, it's the quality and freshness of the oil that matters, not the area in which it's been produced. Even the Mama at the Italian Villa in Tuscany, admitted that much. Mimi xxx

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  15. Sorry, I meant to add this and pressed 'Publish' too soon Jes, The other thing is to try and get 'first press' which is different to 'cold pressed' olive oil, locally produced, and with a date on which it was produced and bottled, so you can really buy the freshest available. Foodie shows and delicatessens where you can sample the oils and choose based on flavour are the best idea. There are myths about the colour being an indicator, but savvy producers actually add leaves and all kinds of things to get their oils that 'green' that we've been told indicates a superior oil. So beware. Go by First, Fresh, Local, and Flavour, and you won't go wrong. Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Wow, excellent information Mimi! Thank you for sharing this!

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  16. Hey there Jes! I loved the post!! But I just wanted to tell you that if you put your olive oil in a dark colored bottle, to keep the light out it should help keep the oil from going bad as fast. I has helped my oil. To keep it in the dark. Hope this helps. God bless

    Kelly

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    1. Another excellent tip! I will switch out my dark green bottle with my current "clear" olive oil bottle. Thank you for sharing this! :)

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  17. How interesting.... I've been reading a lot on the vinegars too. I'm actually trying the good girl moonshine with the apple cider vinegar and hoping it gets my tummy back in the good zone. It's amazing all the health benefits it has. I have always been interested is trying all the healthy versions of oils and now the vinegars...why not!
    Thanks for the insight!
    Have a great weekend!
    Hugs, Amy

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    1. I have that recipe on my to-make list too! Let me know how it works for you! Thank you for sharing :)

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  18. To come here is like opening an old book, maybe found in an old loft, maybe covered with the powder of the time, maybe forgotten for years and years, but so very charming and precious !
    Thank you my sweetest lady, your Blog is a piece of the past that I've found back, and it's a deep joy to me !

    Wholeheartedly
    Dany

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    1. What a kind comment! Thank you so much for this encouragement!

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  19. I just found this lovely site. It's a gift from God, really. I make my own apple cider vinegar. I am very frugal as well. There are many ways to make it. Look it up on Youtube. The easiest is to use frozen apple juice and Braggs as the starter.

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    1. Nice to meet you! And thank you for the tip on the apple cider vinegar! We make ours from peels ~

      http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2013/09/save-your-scraps-make-apple-cider.html

      But ours is more of a scrap vinegar and your version would be stronger I do believe. Have a wonderful week and look forward to hearing from you in the future! :)

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