With Thanksgiving behind us, and Christmas looming, there are sales everywhere! Ham, turkey, and all the trimmings will be on sale for another month, at least. These discounts are easy ways to offset the investment that you made, and let your freeze dryer pay for itself.
This year saw ten-year lows on turkey prices. In our area, one of the large grocery chains had them for $0.38 per pound! Twice, I got my 38-cent turkey, and a second for 67 cents per pound. The other times, I simply got the loss leader. I grabbed a total of six. The total weight was 110.8 pounds of turkey, and the total price was $49.92. That averages out to $0.45 per pound for my turkeys. Not bad!
I processed my turkeys as one would a chicken. I removed the breasts, which accounted for an average of 30% of each bird. I dressed out and weighed two of the turkeys, and used those numbers to get my weights. They don’t have to be scientific to see the results. Just over 33 pounds of breast meat were ground, and I took out 13 pounds for ground turkey meat, which I cooked and loaded onto my trays. The ground turkey breast in the meat case was $3.99/lb. Had I purchased that ground meat, I would have spent $52; more than I spent on all my turkeys. I averaged several different breakfast sausages, and came up with an average of $4/lb. on those, too. That means that the 20 lb. of sausage I made in my kitchen would have cost approximately $80. I browned my sausage and put it on trays.
The leg quarters and wings were put into two large roasters and slow baked. This accounted for 40% of the total weight, or about 44 pounds of meat. The nice thing about processing the birds this way is the ability to pack the meat in tightly, and cook several at one time. The meat was pulled from the bones, chopped lightly, and put on trays to freeze. Cooked recipe-ready chicken and turkey are going for about $5/lb. I ended up with 32 pounds of cooked meat (after saving a few pounds for our small meal), at a value of $160.
The remains were put into a roaster with the carcasses, and slow cooked for several days to produce a rich, savory bone broth. This gave me three gallons. After skimming the quart of schmaltz, which goes into the refrigerator for many uses, I let the broth gel, and spread it on trays to freeze. I averaged the price of several brands, and came up with a price of $4.64 per quart for bone broth. I had three gallons, but skimmed a quart of fat, so the remaining 11 quarts of broth hold a value of $51. The quart of fat will replace 2 pounds of butter, with an average price of $4 per pound.
It appears that this one round of food preparation will save me approximately $300 over the cost of purchasing these items. Each holiday has food items associated with it, and purchasing them on sale could easily allow your Harvest Right to pay for itself within one year.