This series from Dee Ann Guzman has been helpful to hundreds of moms suddenly finding themselves in hard times and needing to feed a family with the absolute minimum amount. The prices are off due to rising grocery costs over the years since it was written, but the overall plan is still helpful. This post, which is used by permission, is from 2005 and was revised and updated by Add Salt & Serve (formerly Menus4Moms) in 2020.
Meals | Beverages
We live in a day and age where the normal act of consuming liquid is expensive, not to mention often unhealthful. My grandmother made grape juice, canned it, and served it throughout the year. Right now if you live in the right area fall grapes are free from the wildlands. Edible grapes hang in bunches. There are a few Vitus varieties that are inedible, but the grapes are usually on single stems rather than in a bunch. There are several online resources available to see the difference. Try doing a google search on "Vitus".
Grape juice is great for your children! It has been shown to be beneficial to the heart and body. It is easy to make bad grape juice. Here is how to make the good kind. De-stem your grapes and wash them. Put the washed grapes into a large kettle. Smash the grapes well with a potato masher. Fill pan with water to at least two to three inches above grapes. heat on low to near 145 degrees or just a little too hot to touch. You should see steam beginning to rise. Take grapes off the stove and mash well again. Pour contents into a jelly bag and drain, twisting and squeezing bag well. Pour hot juice into jars, and put on lids and rings. Process pints and quarts 5 min. under 1000', 10 min. 1000 - 6000' and for 15 min. 6000' and above. When serving dilute by at least half, and add sugar if desired to taste.
When strawberries are in season and cheap, or when you have plenty coming from the garden, this is a wonderful thing to can up for winter. Wash and drip dry several pint jars(enough to fill your canner). To each jar add 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup lemon juice, ¾ Cup sugar, and fill the remaining space in the jar with water if necessary. Put on lids and rings, tighten. Now can as for Grape Juice above. Remember that you never start the time on canning until pot is at a rolling boil. Also make sure that water is at least three inches above jars. Take jars out of canner; allow to cool. When serving, pour through strainer into a pitcher, and dilute to taste. This is like summer in a glass.
Another wonderful drink is this: Watermelon is often inexpensive, and it makes an absolutely wonderful drink. De-seed a whole watermelon and process in a blender. Strain into a pitcher. Watermelon juice is so sweet that often it does not have a good balance of tart to sweet. To correct this add a little sugar if necessary, and a TBS at a time of vinegar to taste. Apple cider vinegar is good for this, but I have also used just white vinegar. Start with one TBS and stir between additions until it tastes right. Serve this by the pitcher in season. You can also add more sugar and freeze in popsicles. These would be wonderful in winter, but i bet they won't stay around that long!
Another drink that I am excited about is Liptons cold brew tea. The great thing about this is that you can grab a jug of water, throw a bag in and take off to wherever. By the time you get to wherever, you have tea. Great for cheap outings with the kids. Also, Bigelow puts out a raspberry herb tea that can easily be brewed cold as well. It is just wonderful. I use two large teabags to a gallon of water with both of these fine teas.
In addition, I can't say enough about just plain water. Water is healthy, and quenches a thirst faster than anything. Also, when you add a little lemon or lime to ice water, you have a fine refreshing drink. It is also nice to buy club soda and pour over fruit. Anyway I hope you all enjoy these recipes. Several of them are being put in the little homemaking card file I am doing for my daughter, Lacey. God bless.
Meals | Beverages
©Dee Ann Guzman; Used by permission