Saturday, September 14, 2013

Getting Canned

When the kids were little, I used to do quite a bit of canning and freezing. Not only did I enjoy the finished products, the process itself was always so much fun. To be able to take fresh ingredients normally only eaten during the summer months and create something that would be able to be enjoyed by the family when the cold and dark winter would come upon us made me happy.
As the kids got older and life got busier, I didn't can or freeze as much. This was pretty much due to not having time, and to be honest, just no desire. We've made due with things in jars and plastic bags from the store even though it was usually a bit more expensive.
This year, however, I've had the joy of working out at Fordyce Farms where fresh produce has abounded- berries of numerous types, apples, pears, peaches, plums, plus all kinds of veggies! I made it a goal to be able to preserve a bunch of stuff, and I am pleased to say I've done just that. I was going to scour my cookbooks for recipes, but then I remembered Pinterest (as if I had forgotten) and found a bunch of new ones to try. Here's the list of what's in the cupboard/freezer so far along with where I found the recipes.

-Canned Peaches (made with dear friend Annette on a really fun afternoon!)
-Bread and Butter pickles (from 52 Ways to Cook)
-Sweet Relish (from Common Sense Homesteading)
-Tomato Jam recipe #1(Grandmom Gatskill's recipe from With a Grateful Prayer and Thankful Heart)
-Tomato Jam recipe #2 (from Lauren at Climbing Grier Mountain)
-Spiced Cashews (from Comfy Belly)
-Salsa Verde
-Fig Vinegar (from Joanna's Food)
Tomato Jam #1 and #2

My newest favorite granola!

-Roasted Italian-style Tomatoes (at Eating from the Ground Up)
-Strawberry Jam (Mrs. Wages Pectin recipe in the box)
-Triple Berry Jam ( also Mrs. Wages Pectin recipe in the box)
-Plum Jam (to be honest, I don't remember where I found the recipe, but try this one from Gezellig-Girl)
-Frozen Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
-Granola (from Like Mother, Like Daughter with a few Mangia Mamma additions)
-Sweet Corn (from West Street Story)
-Dried Apples (I usually just put them in the cupboard, but on Pinterest someone pinned that they stay "fresher" longer in the freezer, so I am trying it)

Roasted Chicken with yummy decorations!
Whew! For me that's quite a list. I can't wait to do a few more things before the local growing season ends. I'd still like to do a bit more, like the delish-sounding Peach Vanilla Bean Jam at Annie's Eats and the Cinnamon Pear Jam at   On the Outskirts of Town. I've also been having a good time this month cooking for only three instead of eight-yes, I know, there were only five of us this summer, not counting Cari, but the boys eat for at least two people each! I found a bunch of new recipes while perusing Pinterest, and we've been eating meals such as the gorgeous chicken with tomatoes, garlic and Kalamata olives. It was based off a recipe from My Little Expat Kitchen, and it was amazingly good! I made the latest recipe find last night for a Greek Salad Dressing to go with our Greek salad and pita dinner. Brian and I liked it a lot while Mary said it tasted like ranch dressing with feta. Since she's not a big fan of creamy dressings, I took her opinion with a grain of salt- fleur de sel, kosher, sel gris, Hawaiian, take your pick. 
The point of this being, get out there and try canning or freezing. There are a bunch of blogs, not to mention Pinterest, that have a lot of small batch jam, jellies, relishes, pickles, etc. recipes, many that don't even require a water canner. Heck, a few of them are made in the microwave, so you don't even have to own a stove! Take a little time this week and preserve some fruity or veggie goodness for the cold & rainy days to come. Then when you're spreading a shiny luscious glob of jam on your morning toast, you can be grateful for the abundance we have been given, no matter what time of year.

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