Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 27, 2020

This week revolved around food preservation, at least at my house! What a nice change from everything revolving around the pandemic:) I didn’t want to go anywhere, or do anything else but preserve food anyway:). This is truly one of my favorite times of year. So what did I do?

I went and picked New Haven peaches at my sister’s house on Friday. Rob went back this morning. What they had left after a super busy u-pick day Saturday, was what my sister calls “uglies.” I purposely asked Rob to pick a bunch of those. I froze a lot of them for smoothies. The blender isn’t going to care how beat up they were in the orchard:). I blanched them with boiling water, peeled them, sliced/chunked them and froze on a cookie sheet, then transferred into bags so they are separated for smoothies.

I canned 35 quarts.

I made a double batch of peach jam with some of the “uglies.” I also made a batch of spiced peach-blueberry jam, using 4 cups of blueberries from my bushes.

Of course, the garden still produces, peaches or no peaches. In almost every “peach” picture, you see beans in the background. So far, I have canned 31 quarts, 1 pint, and frozen 3 baggies. I did help her snap those, by the way:), and a big bag was saved for eating over the next couple of days.

And, dear, sweet Patsy got to shred 32 cups of assorted zucchini this morning. We froze it in 2-cup packages for winter baking. It was a mixture of tromboncini, yellow and green zucchini. After the 32 jars of relish the other day, I thought maybe it would slow down?????? Not yet, I guess:). Believe it or not, there’s plenty saved out to eat over the next few days.

My Glacier tomatoes yielded 2 bowls. They are early, but small, so I cut them in 1/2, crushed and boiled, then used my food mill on them to make tomato juice. I then added lots of herbs and spices and garlic powder, salt and pepper and cooked. There wasn’t much there, so I poured in some vegetable/tomato juice that was originally purchased at a discount grocery store and forgotten. I then stirred in some tomato paste to thicken it up a bit, then canned my pizza/pasta sauce. I got 9 or 10 jars, of assorted sizes.

I’ve done dill pickles whenever I get any cucumbers from my patch. So far, I’ve done them 3 times and now have a total of 2 quarts and 9 pints. I will do more in the morning. They don’t seem to give me very many at once, but they add up over time. My dill isn’t growing well. I don’t know why. The ones in rows are stunted. The few that self-seeded from last year are growing merrily in the onions, middle of the rows, or amongst the carrots and beets. I guess they call it “dill weed” for a reason:). So, I’ve just been picking those, and hoping I will have enough.

We used up a lot of my canned and frozen goods this past winter, so I have a lot of canning to do this summer and fall. It is because we were home more, I think. I love that! It keeps the canned and frozen food current and fresh.

We did do a few other things this week. We had Jake and Michaela both Friday and Monday, because of extra work their mama had to do, along with an extra day last Tuesday, and Jake’s normal Wednesday-Thursday “spend the night” time. Michaela is getting a little bored at home, so she was excited to come over. We had a pool party, complete with 2 kiddie pools with water in them, lot of cottage cheese cartons, squirt guns, and ice cream cones. It was very hot today for around here, upper 90’s, so the kids stayed out in the water for several hours. They pretty much stayed in the shaded area they found, sitting in the water most of the time. We used the water left over in the pools to water the strawberries next to the shop. they never get enough this time of year.

While at the restaurant supply store gathering things like celery seed, green and red peppers and vinegar for canning projects, Rob stumbled upon this 25-lb bag of gluten-free rolled oats for $5. It had a torn corner. He grabbed it. He also grabbed 50 pounds of Jasmine rice for $10–they said it had been ordered by mistake and they didn’t want it.

This last week has been rigorous. I’m looking forward to a few restful days after the peaches are done. I need to freeze one more batch of slices in the morning. Still, I love the process of food preservation. My mom calls it my useful hobby. I love seeing those shelves and freezers fill up, and I really love knowing what’s in those jars and packages– good, healthy food that gives us a tremendous variety of delicious food all winter long.

How about you? Are you preserving any food this summer?

16 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 27, 2020”

  1. Wow, those are some amazing scores from the restaurant supply store! I’m glad your garden continues to produce so much. Mine is all in containers and l am struggling with aphids and thrips on my green beans so l have gotten nary a bean 12 plants. I haven’t given up yet! I have had a few zucchini but l am constantly battling squash beetles so l have very few. If l was closer, l’d be begging you for a share of those zucchini. ?
    I’m getting a few cucumbers, lots of cherry tomatoes and Early Girl tomatoes, and the first couple of Japanese eggplants, but not enough to can yet. I’m hoping the garden will really start producing when l am recovered from surgery. I am home from the hospital now but l still have trouble getting out of bed, so my husband is taking care of the garden for me.
    Before surgery, l made 13 half-pints of vanilla plum jam, 7 half-pints of vanilla plum syrup and a double batch of plum fruit leather with the pulp leftover from making the syrup. I also made 5 pints of pickled red onion and a batch of refrigerator zucchini pickles with the couple of zucchini l got from one of the plants.
    I can’t wait to see your next garden update. Good luck with all of your canning.

    1. I’m glad you got out of the hospital. I’m sure you can get more rest at home. You made some very interesting, and yummy-sounding items from plums. I’ve always struggled with container gardening, as well, though I’ve tried various things over the years. Right now, I’ve settled into a mixture of raised beds (so things can be planted earlier and held over into the winter) and a traditional garden area with rows for the main crops. And, then I tuck things into the flowerbeds because there’s never enough room……I wonder if I will even have a lawn left in a few years–LOL!

  2. Did my first canning in a few years yesterday – 7 1/2 pints of dill relish. I’m going out early today (well, it is early right now – about 2:00 in the a.m.!) and get more cucumbers. I am going to can some tomatila salsa in the next couple of days. I find that once I get my ‘canning’ rhythm going it gets easier. It has been so hot here – around 100 on a regular basis so canning can feel like a drudge. But love that feeling of satisfaction when I look at the results! Mary

    1. I’m glad you got to do some canning. Dill relish sounds yummy! I picked all my cucumbers this morning again, and made pickles. Now, I’m going to take a break from canning for a few days, and then things should be ready to pick again. I find with cucumbers, mine go over the hill quickly and then the bushes stop producing, so I end up doing many small batches, rather than one big batch. I’m assuming you will buy yours this time, since you said you were going out to get them, and that should make it handy for you so you can do a lot at once.

  3. I am so glad that your shelves are filling up with food from your garden and sister’s orchard. I canned 8 pints of dill pickles tonight. I have been dehydrating several heads of celery from my garden. I made 8 pints of Brandied cherries earlier in the week for Christmas gifts. I have been working more recently. The man I help hasn’t been feeling well. He is 88. I was asked if I could go more often. I am happy to. I just have yo get stuff done at night.

    1. It is a blessing to have work during these times, isn’t it? I’m glad you are getting pickles…we eat SO many pickles! I will do another small batch in the next day or two. I’m delighted because my bushes are producing well this year…it’s the dill that’s doing awful. I didn’t know it could!!! Thank goodness for my big bag of dill seeds to go with my puny, little dill heads:)

  4. I love that saying – a useful hobby. That is what I need instead of arts and crafts that yield projects I have no room for. Next year I may plan my balcony a little better.

    1. We were reading a book for Patsy’s school where the kids turned the entire balcony of their apartment into a garden during a war–put dirt over the entire surface….I’ll bet you don’t have to go that far, but I think you can grow quite a bit on a balcony if you know how. For me, it would be a learning curve, as it is different than the kind of gardening I do and I’m sure there are tricks to do it well! Good luck, I wish you a great balcony garden:)

  5. Rob and you got a great price on the oats and the rice! And look at all the canning you’ve done! Well, I haven’t done any preserving since I processed all the peaches from my garden, earlier in the year. I didn’t grow any vegetables, this year, except for the volunteer tomato plant, and, technically, the tomato is a fruit, isn’t it? So far, I’ve picked 4 ripe tomatoes from it! LOL.

  6. Great deals!
    Your peaches and jams and beans and pickles look so good. And won’t they all taste good this winter.
    Hope you have a good week

    1. They will! Today, I’m canning beet pickles and blueberry pie filling–just a little of each because that’s what I have.

  7. Upper 90’s that’s our weather and I hate it but you found a way to conquer it – kiddie pools and shade trees! My favorite is air condition.
    I am about to can myself to death from all the produce coming in from the garden. Everything else has stopped but doing it. The work has become much easier since I have a new, awesome chopping block. It caused a disagreement between my husband and me because he wanted to put it on the wall as a decoration (the wood is beautiful). I disagreed because I need all the help I can get. It works perfectly.

    I have no idea how much I have done. Back in April, I moved a plastic box that was touching the basement wall and there was a small spot of mold on the wall. I panicked! We moved all of the shelves holding my canning supplies and pantry items into a pile in the middle of the basement floor. I bleached the whole wall, sealed it with waterproof stuff, and will paint it when I am sure it won’t return. Thank goodness it hasn’t yet but I will keep a close eye on it. The new canning jars are piled all over the floor with only a path to the back door. It is a big mess and so for that reason, I can’t tell you what I have done. I don’t know!

    But we have had two days of rain and I am trying to work on things in the house. It is a mess just like the basement!
    I fear the garden is rapidly growing while I am not looking.


    1. Mold! That’s awful!!! Hopefully, you got it all.

      I’m with you–up to my elbows in fruit and other produce every day. This year, all of the “oddball” items ran out. So, I’m canning my normal things like peaches, and also things like wild blackberry syrup, zucchini relish, and lots and lots of pickles and salsa, since the troops burned through the supply from last summer. I still have tomato/tomato products to do as they are not all ripe yet==I just get a bowl or two every few days, applesauce, pears, more pickles hopefully, and anything else I am given or grows. For instance, Rob’s cousin gave him 2 large bags of broccoli the other day that she was given and could not use. So, I blanched and froze those and am delighted to have them, as my crop wasn’t very large this year. Rob’s been my wild blackberry gatherer. He’s been up helping at my sister’s farm several mornings, and they have SO many—so syrup and jam were made. He keeps bringing home peaches, too… I’ve canned, dried and made jam, and froze many, many trays of slices for smoothies or crisps.

      True confession time: We have air conditioning. We are wimps. The older we get, the more we use it. Sad, but true!

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