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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Bulk Beef Purchase 2012

We buy beef on the hoof each year.  What this means is the cow is bought as a calf, raised by one of our farming friend then when fully grown we arrange to have the cow taken to the abattoir where it is processed.  The cow  is raised grass fed and hormone free.  We normally keep half of the processed cow ourselves then either the other half or the two quarters to to whoever went in with us on the cow.  If the others don't want the soup bones, heart, tongue or liver we get them.  If left with the abattoir they would simply sell them.

bulk beef purchase 2012
This year's purchase was a half of the cow which worked out to 339 lb.  We paid $630 to our farming friend for our half of the cow, then we paid $225.44 to the abattoir for butchering & disposal, cut & wrap plus HST.  This is the first year we have had to pay HST on the abattoir charges as it went into effect July 1, 2011 but abattoir charges are considered a service so are now taxable.  The total cost for meat and processing was $855.44 which works out to $2.52/lb.

Some question whether we actually save money buying beef in bulk.  The answer is yes AND we are getting a higher quality of beef than we can buy in the grocery stores.  Currently extra lean ground beef is on sale for $2.97/lb (regular $4.59/lb), top sirloin is on sale for $6.99/lb (regular $9.99/lb) and prime rib $8.99/lb.  Regardless of the cut of beef, our cost per pound works out to $2.52/lb, 45¢/lb less expensive than the sale price for extra lean ground beef.  The price per pound is up almost 20¢ per lb from last year but part of that increase is the HST.  This year, we did end up with the extra soup bones, liver, heart and tongue because no one else wanted them.  That isn't factored into the total weight of the half of beef. 

We could not make this type of bulk meat purchase without freezers.  We have two chest freezers and two freezer compartments, both side-by-side.  There are three problems with freezers.  First they are susceptible to food loss due to power outages.  This is less of a problem now that we are urban but still possible because sometimes freezers just stop working.  We actually had a brand new as in not even a month old freezer fail on us while we were on vacation.  Talk about a mess!  In general, a freezer will keep foods froze for up to 4 days if not opened.  It is very important to include a rider for your freezer on your household insurance policy to cover any food loss.  Second, foods not properly packaged for the freezer are subject to freezer burn.  This affects the flavour and texture of the food.  I know of no way to reverse freezer burn.  The food basically has to be tossed.  This abattoir uses freezer paper secured with a special freezer tape unlike the other abattoir we have dealt with that used elastics to secure the packages.  The elastics allow air in.  If packaging foods for home freezing, use a vacuum sealer if at all possible.  Third, from the moment food goes into the freezer it does cost you to store it via electricity usage.  Some home canners simply can a bulk meat purchase like this eliminating freezer costs and while I will can a very small portion (about 40 lb plus stock from some of the soup bones) of this purchase, we like our steaks and roasts.  Lessen electricity costs by using an EnergyStar® certified freezer and keep it full.


2 food lovers commented:

Anonymous said...

Can you send a corrected recipe for your shortbread cookies. . . too much of something or not enough of something . . .they are way too soft/runny to form and bake according the the recipe. Thanks

Garden Gnome said...

The recipe for the shortbread cookies is quite correct as posted. I have used it for years without a problem.