Cottagecore is classified as an aesthetic trend which has lately been gaining popularity. Perhaps its rise is due to the tumultuous cultural and political environment today or the uncertainty caused by quarantining. Whatever gave a boost to its prominence, Cottagecore is more than an escape. It is an avenue to regaining a sense of peace and security by slowing down and being more hands-on with life. No matter if you live in a rural farmhouse or an urban apartment, here are some ways your cottagecore experience can increase your self-sufficiency.
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods. Archeological evidence shows that a form of flatbread was being made by mankind more than 14,000 years ago and yeast bread almost 4,000 years ago. It’s no wonder bread-making gives us the feeling of getting back to our roots! But making our own bread does more than evoke a sense of nostalgia. It grows our ability to care for ourselves. When we combine our ingredients, we are in control of what we eat. If you’re just starting, remember that it can take some practice to get it right, so don’t get frustrated. Keep at it. The more loaves you make, the more pie crusts you roll out, the more buns you bake, the more skilled you become and the less you’ll have to rely on factory-made.
The USDA estimates a frugal food budget to be between $40 and $60 per adult per week, but frozen dinners and take-out can blow that budget in a day! Cooking has historically been considered an essential skill but busy schedules and the availability of pre-made dinners makes it easy to grab and go. Making your meals from scratch not only saves money, it also connects you to your food. Create an inviting space in your kitchen with plants and decor that bring you joy, then spend some time there flipping through old cookbooks and practicing recipes. There’s nothing quite as cozy on a cold night as a hearty bowl of stew you made yourself.
Tending a garden is such a rewarding hobby, but it can be so much more than that. A garden can be an essential tool to putting fresh, healthy foods on your table, saving money at the grocery store, and creating a level of food security. Try supplementing your grocery list with some home-grown selections from your very own garden. Start small with foods you use a lot and that are easy to grow like potatoes, carrots, and onions. If you are just starting with your garden, we have created a beginner's guide on how to plan your garden. If you live in an area that prevents you from planting in the ground, potted plants can be a good alternative and are easier to tend than a traditional garden. Herbs, radishes, tomatoes, and leafy greens such as lettuces do rather well in pots. Another space-saving method of gardening is hydroponics, which uses nutrient-rich water instead of soil. The name sounds high-tech, but it is really simple and with a little research and you’ll be harvesting bumper crops without worrying about frost and pests!
Let’s face it. That amazing produce you grew at home has a shelf-life, and a short one at that. Eating fresh and seasonal is great, but what do you eat in the winter? It’s time to start preserving. The oldest method of food preservation is drying. A dehydrator can help with this process but really, all you need is some sunshine and a screen or grate to place the sliced food on to ensure proper air circulation. Smoking is thought to be the second oldest food preservation method. Utilizing both the chemicals from the smoke itself, as well as drying from the heat, smoked foods have an amazing flavor and a long shelf-life. Fermenting food adds an incredible amount of flavor as well as healthy probiotics! And it is remarkably easy to do. Your garden-grown cabbages, radishes, and cucumbers can make some amazing pickles, sauerkraut, or kimchi that can last months and months! Canning is a relative newcomer to the food preservation stage but has become a staple in setting up food stores for leaner times. Foods must reach a certain temperature and have a certain pH level for safe shelf storage, but if canned properly, these jars of your treasured produce can last more than a year.
Happy hens laying fresh eggs and controlling pesky insects around your garden sounds like a dream! But you don’t necessarily have to live out in the country to make it a reality. Chickens are a great addition to your cottagecore lifestyle and many communities allow a certain number of chickens, provided you have the space. Check your local city ordinances for the specifics. Chickens don’t require a rooster for egg-laying, and all the fresh grass and insects they get to eat make those eggs more nutritious for you! Learn how to connect with your chickens by reading our article about life on a farm. If you live in an area that does not allow chickens, you can still enjoy farm-fresh eggs and skip the hustle and bustle of the grocery store. Take a trip to the local farmers market or look up local chicken farmers who raise their birds free-range and cruelty-free. You can keep the simple-life aesthetic and help a small business at the same time!
Maybe you’re just dipping your toe into the cottagecore trend for the first time, or you may already be elbows-deep in baking and quilting; remember, cottagecore is ultimately about serenity found in simple things. Don’t tackle more than you’re comfortable with. But even as you find tranquility through this simpler lifestyle, you may just find you’re becoming more self-sufficient as well.
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