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There are several options for purchasing bulk meats and seafood. From as simple as watching the grocery store circulars for really good sales and stocking up, to advanced as having a steer or hog butchered at a local meat locker or butcher shop.
For the really advanced, doing your own butchery is an option as well - assuming you have the manpower, equipment, time, storage space and patience. Butchering a beef cow or hog yourself is a LOT of work and takes some time to do correctly. That being said - it CAN be done.
Depending on where you live, fresh seafood and fish could be a great and relatively inexpensive option for bulk purchase (or catch...) and storage as well.
Buying meats in bulk doesn't necessarily mean buying the whole cow...It can be done at that level, and lots of people do just that, but you have smaller scale options too.
It's not uncommon at all here in southern Indiana, for 2 or 3 families to go in together and buy a whole hog or steer and have it processed at a local meat locker. Then split up the meat evenly between the families. A whole hog or steer may be too much for one family to afford or store. a half or quarter on the other hand, might provide them with enough beef or pork for an entire year.
Often times grocery stores around our home will offer great deals on larger quantities of meats. One of our favorites is chicken leg quarters. They can occasionally be found on sale really cheap - like $0.29 a pound - but they limit you to a 10 pound purchase.
If you come across this kind of deal, nothing stops you from buying the maximum amount, and then going back later for more, or taking a friend or family member along and having them buy 10 pounds too.
Meats and seafood that are bought in bulk usually need a bit more cleaning after you get them home, so while you're cleaning, you can package in individual meal size packages and freeze or can for later use.
Even if you don't live near the ocean, there are options for seafood. Since I lived in Southern Louisiana for a few years, my family and I will go down there for weekend visits every couple of years. When we do, we'll take along a couple of big ice chests, and load up on fresh shrimp while we're there.
There are seafood markets, and roadside stands all over that area if you go during shrimp season, and it's usually very reasonably priced. We'll pack our fresh shrimp with loads of ice before we leave. When we get back home we can clean, package and freeze our fresh shrimp for use over the next year or so.
Buying bulk meats and seafood and preserving it for long term storage and use can be an excellent way to extend your family food budget, and in the process increase your self sufficiency.
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