Friday, July 16, 2010
What I've been up to the last couple of days...
First off, I want to say "thanks" for all the kind words people have put forth about my new schedule lately. I really appreciate it. And the new schedule is paying off in two ways. One: My son is talking more because for the first time mom is making a concentrated effort to put him in the spotlight (my daughter before then would always just "talk" for him and I didn't realize it until lately) and my kids are thrilled that they are spending so much time at the park and outside (when I can get there *glares at rain*). And two: I am canning a lot more *laugh*. Why? Because when I am in the kitchen I'm still totally accessible to my kids (instead of in front a computer concentrating on doing things) and also because I have more time to go through what I have and what I want to accomplish canning-wise for this winter. So, the last couple of days have paid off because my garden is producing and I cleaned out my pantry and freezer a bit.
Let's break down what I've done (just for giggles ;).
First, I found an unopened bag of green beans in my freezer that were old, but not bad yet, so I canned those so that they wouldn't go freezer burned on me (which they were getting there) and because I'm wayyyyy more likely to use canned goods than frozen veggies because I can see where they are, where my freezer tends to "eat" things and I lose food that way. And hey, I got four pints of green beans from one family sized bag of veggies. That's not bad at all :).
I picked one of my cabbages out of my garden, but couldn't find time to make cole slaw, so I canned that too. I just followed the directions for greens in my canning directions to make it and then threw some cooked bacon in with the cabbage when I canned it. Than I'll make some more bacon when I use it, throw the cabbage in with some egg noodles and voila! Cabbage and noodles like my grandmother used to make :). Yes, I like cabbage. Sue me *laugh*. I got three pints of cabbage out of one small head of cabbage, so that was a pretty cool deal. And they look pretty in the jar and aren't breaking up, so I know that they aren't totally soggy, so double benefit there.
Next up is the four cans of Swiss Chard I canned to replace "spinach" in our veggies this winter. My husband HATES spinanch, but likes Chard, so I figured that's where my chard is going this year. If nothing else it'll be easy to throw this into soups at the last minute for added iron in the diet. I threw in a clove of crushed and cut up garlic with one jar and it made the house smell heavenly as it was canning, so hopefully it tastes as good as it smelled *laugh*.
Next up is the six pints of salsa I made out of some petite diced tomatoes I had in the pantry that were well...old and needing to be rotated out of stores. So, I used those with a mix I bought at I THINK Wal-Mart a while back to make the salsa. It said it would make 5 pints...I got six and a half. Go figure.
I made 3 half pints of strawberry rhubarb jam (only two are pictured because I gave one to my sister-in-law). I halved the recipe to make less since my rhubarb plant didn't produce much and I used some strawberries I had in the freezer. I didn't even need pectin and the jam came out nice and solid and looks very nice :). I hope it tastes as good as it did when it went into the jars.
And I found my container of Lil Smokies in the freezer and realized that it was too small of an amount to use for a meal and I'd never take out a frozen hunk of something to eat as a snack, so I defrosted them, cooked them in some BBQ sauce and then canned them (with fresh hot BBQ sauce in three of them and some hot A-1 Sauce in another...they turned out nice!). I figure they are a perfect snack size at 1/2 pint jars, so my husband can now eat these as a snack when he's waiting for a meal or whatever. I think it'll work out well.
And there you have it. Up next is more canning of peaches (including a new recipe I want to try), some apple sauce and/or canned apples (I'm debating which way to go with those) and just a small batch of strawberry jam.
Just as a side note, with kids I especially love the recipes that you hot water bath can. BOY is it easier to just set a timer after the jars are in the water and just walk away for a while with them on the back burner instead of having to baby sit a pressure gauge. Not that I'm downing my canner, I love it, but it does take a lot of the "work" out of canning to do the hot water bath recipes *laugh*.
Hope everyone is having as much fun playing with their kids, going outside and doing stuff like I am. Enjoy what is left of the summer (if the clouds and rain ever stop for a while).