Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My recent Canning/Preserving

Thought I would update with what else I have canned or frozen the past month. You already saw the applesauce, then Kenny went and got more apples off of my parents tree before they went bad and I peeled, sliced, and put them in freezer bags and in the freezer. These will be good for a couple apple pies, apple crisps, etc around the holidays.
Then my mom and I picked up some tomatoes at the Farmer's market, not an abundance probably 10-12 pounds. We bought 1 bag I would say about 5-7 pounds of canning tomatoes for $4 and then 5 pounds at $.75/pound. I wanted to just try these first to see how I did with tomatoes before we bought alot. I made spaghetti sauce. Thing I learned about tomatoes: In my opinion if you are canning spaghetti sauce or salsa, unless you grow your own tomatoes, it really is barely worth it. Not very frugile at least. I saved a little money per jar of organic spaghetti sauce, but all together, I got 6 jars of spaghetti sauce, the pint jars, not the quart jars. Yes, cheaper than the organic kind I would buy at Whole Foods or Earth Fare, but not ALOT cheaper, not for all the time you spend peeling (even with the hot then ice water way of peeling), cutting, seeding, cooking, then canning. Granted, I enjoyed doing these and I'm sure I will enjoy the sauce, but since I am trying to figure up the health AND financial benefits, it doesn't work out as well on the financial aspect.

Solution: I will be planting at least container tomato plants next year (we really have a horrible yard for a garden, hardly any sun at all in the back)

My mom and I blanched then froze some green beans that we also grabbed at the Farmers Market. I like just steamed green beans, my kids-not so much, but I thought these would also be good to have around for soups this fall/winter. Plus, they make a pretty picture. :) Green Beans were cheaper at the Farmers Market than at the store and definitely cheaper than buying frozen green beans to use in soups, so that was good.

Then I grabbed a half bushel of peaches, froze several bags, and we peeled up several and made some preserves and then I wanted just to try and do a few jars canned as well. I don't normally eat canned fruit that isn't in preserves or sauce, but I was curious about trying it. You know, see if and how I do it. :) I only did 4 quarts of the peaches and added very little honey to the sauce. The preserves are a little tart, because the kind of peaches I used and because I wanted to make them as low sugar as possible. I used some white grape juice and about 1/4 cup rapadura for the sweetener. We ate some tonight on toast with dinner and they are yummy! All of us really like them. These I did save money on. I love frozen peaches for smoothies and tend to buy bags of those. My girls like AB & J sandwiches and to buy something made with a natural sweetener is about $3 for a small jar. Very happy about these!
Altogether, I'm enjoying learning and doing this. Isabella likes hearing the jars "pop" and we are all enjoying or will be enjoying these throughout the fall and winter.

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