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).


Life in My Land said...

That's awesome! You go girl!

BEFFY! said...

wow! i didn't even know you could can that sort of stuff! good job!
do you need more rhubarb?! drop me a note if you do and are on your way through e.r., i'd be happy to load you up!

Alaskan Bargain Hunter said...

Nah, *laugh* I think I'm good with my little bit of rhubarb I have :). Thanks for the offer though! I still have one jar of strawberry rhubarb jam from last year (my husband is not a rhubarb fan by any means of the imagination, so doing pies and stuff really is out) and then the two half pints I just made too...I think I'm good there. I'm going to be canning some strawberry jam here today or tommorrow, on top of the grape jelly I already did earlier. So, I think I'm pretty much loaded up on jams for a while ;).

I was surprised by the amount of things you could can too. I love my instruction booklet that came with my canner. They have instructions from everything from wild game to canning meats to soups and stews to jams to...well a lot *laugh*.