Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rant - Low Income and Food Programs & A Question

*** Sorry for the rant but I had to get it out...  I do have a reader question at the bottom - please scroll down and help me find paleo-friendly, preferably freezer-friendly apple recipes... ***

By our society's standard, my family is considered "low income".  Personally, I don't feel like we're hovering around the poverty line (boy, that was a hard word for me to write) - we have a roof over our heads, a warm floor heater to curl up around on a cold days, and plenty of wholesome food to eat.  I feel blessed every day I get to spend with my kids and doing what I love to do (write) - if I have to keep my expenses low to do so, then that's what I do.

A friend of mine recently started pushing me to take advantage of all the food programs available to lower-income families.  I brushed her off - why should I take free food when I can feed us just fine?  I know there are plenty of families in the valley that are worst off than me right now.  I don't want to take food out of their mouths!  I've also noticed that a lot of the food given away at those programs is pre-packaged or grain-filled - things I can't eat - so why waste the gas?

A few weeks ago, my friend's church became a local distribution point for Second Harvest, the valley's food bank.  She started volunteering there every Tuesday morning, helping the crew sort, bag, and distribute.  At the end, any leftovers or unwanted items are given to volunteers who want them.  She fills her trunk full of leftover food, which she then distributes to her friends and neighbors.

In the past few weeks, I've received small amounts of produce (apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, onions) to help supplement what I buy at the store.  It's not enough for a full week - maybe a couple days - but as I tell her all the time, "Every little bit helps."  (She also has a large garden plot at her church - I invest a few hours of shoveling, lifting and weeding every month, so when the harvest comes in, I get a small share.  Garden-fresh tomatoes ROCK!)

Anyway, she called me today to tell me they just finished the distribution and that she had a few perishables she wanted to drop off.  She arrived with a huge box of apples (there must be at least 110 apples in there), 2 huge red cabbages, about 4 lbs of potatoes, 4 lbs of onions, 5 oranges, 3 packages of chicken legs (@ around 2.5 lbs each), and 2 dozen eggs.

"Did you leave anything behind?" I asked as I helped her carry it all in.

"We had a lot of leftovers today."

She went on to explain that people were passing up the more expensive fruits and vegetables to get an extra loaf of bread, another box of cereal, or canned foods.

This news was unsettling to me to say the least.  Now don't get me wrong - I can understand why a homeless individual would rather have the non-perishable items than fruits and vegetables.  But if you have a fridge, why pass up the more expensive produce for a box of cereal or loaf of bread you can get at Big Lots or Dollar Store for $1.

I know...I know...it's all about priorities.  My priority is to feed my family a whole foods / paleo diet while keeping costs down.  I have many friends who are willing to feed their kids boxes of sugar and preservatives just because it's cheaper and easier.

It's my belief that until we change that attitude, our country will just continue to decline into the depth of obesity and all of its related diseases....


Anyway....now I sit here, trying to figure out what to do with 110 apples.  We are big apple eaters...but there's no way we're going to get through that many apples before they go bad.  I was thinking applesauce, but we're not big applesauce eaters.

My question to you is - do you have any good paleo-friendly, preferably freezer-friendly apple recipes?


  1. You could make coconut apple pudding -cook 3 diced apples (peeled) in 1 can of coconut milk - let it cool down and blend everything in your blender. A good alternative for ice cream/sundae.


  2. Would you be willing to dry the apples? Once dried they could go in the freezer.

    This site has some ideas: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/10/12/5-ways-to-preserve-your-apples/ - I like the idea of the fruit rolls, that is, dried applesauce! I googled "preserving apples"


  3. @ Hattori - Ooooo...good idea! Thanks!

    @Creakinator - Someone in Twitter suggested the same thing. I don't have a dehydrator but I'm sure I can do it in my oven...somehow - Oh, Mr. Goooogle! ;-) I should have some fun over the next couple of weeks.

  4. If you have a basement or cellar, or anywhere that maintains a 50-60 degree temperature, many apple varieties will do fine in cold storage for a couple months. If not, that coconut apple pudding sounds delicious!


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