Thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 8, 2021–Food Preservation Edition

I have canned so much in the past 2 weeks, I haven’t had time to post. I’m feeling really good about how much Rob and I have accomplished.

Last night, I picked the green bowl and the yellow one full of strawberries. (This picture just shows the bowls, this time they were full). I’m getting so many berries. The problem is that they seem very sour this year. That’s kind of frustrating as it’s been one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. They should be sweet. I’ve frozen quite a few and today, I decided to make a batch of jam. I did that this afternoon. When I’ve been freezing them, I’ve started adding a little sugar. They will be great in smoothies this winter, regardless of their sour flavor, as we can add sugar when we blend the smoothie. Oddly enough, Jake likes them sour, so he’s been picking and eating them cut up with sugar sprinkled on top. I’m glad someone likes them this way.

My sister gave us so many peaches from her farm. These are New Havens. This picture only shows part of them. We canned 70 quarts. Some are for me, some my mother graciously agreed to take, even though she wanted to can another kind, when I realized how many I was going to end up with. They are really, really good, so I know she will enjoy them, and we will as well.

They came out beautifully.

We dried several gallons of peaches. I also dried zucchini for soups. I froze broccoli a couple of times. Then, I pulled the bushes. All they were producing anymore were side shoots that were getting smaller and smaller each time. The last picking was about 1/2 cup, so that was the end for me. In the place where the broccoli was, I planted lettuce, kale, snow peas and spinach for a fall crop. They have not come up yet.

While up at the farm, Rob picked a lot of wild blackberries. We made jam from those. I froze several baggies as well, with what was left over from the jam making.

We have canned green/yellow beans every-other-day and I’ve done many, many pickles. These bowls are the first step for sweet pickles. I finished them Thursday. They involve a process where you pour boiling water, then syrup/brine over them each morning and night for 4 days. I canned 18–1/2 pints when I was done following all the steps.

I’ve made many dill pickles which were a mixture of plain (with garlic) and zippy (with jalapeños) and a batch of Bread-and-Butter Pickles.

I pulled all the carrots in the garden and we canned 7 pints, plus put some in the fridge in bags. I could fit the jars of carrots, in the pressure canner with the pints of green beans, so I did. My big one holds a double layer of pints.

I was able to can a few pints of crushed tomatoes on a different day.

I froze quite a few peaches, strawberries, and blueberries as well as the broccoli I mentioned above.

When I wasn’t preserving food, I was working on the garden and yard or working with the kids. I’ve pulled several old bushes up and composted them in the garden.. I’ve weeded there and in a couple of flowerbeds. After picking beans today, I’m all geared up to pull the bean bushes in a couple of places. They seem to be finished. I have a few more bush beans that still have some life left in them and all of the pole beans. They haven’t got any large beans on them, but small ones are starting to form so we will eat those fresh until frost.

My garden is large, and is yielding well this year. I’m very thankful to have so much to work with, along with what we got from my sister’s farm. There are still a few items to can later in the summer/fall, but I made huge strides on the project this past couple of weeks. We are also eating daily from the fruits and veggies we are picking.

We ate so much garden produce and things from the pantry and freezers that I didn’t shop for most of 2 weeks. When I did, I used the $10 off $50 at Safeway. I bought some things to stock up the camper for our next excursion and some items I don’t normally buy, such as first aid items. I also got some things at Grocery Outlet. It felt good to be able to stock up on things with the extra money I had left over from last month’s grocery budget due to eating so much garden produce.

Rob and I inventoried our canning shelves. I like to keep a detailed record of my food preservation, recording what was left over of each item and what new jars have been added this year. Last year, I was out of so many items that I over-canned on purpose. I like to have a little carry-over in case of a poor crop, an item being hard to get for some reason, etc. There’s not as much left over as I thought there would be. So, I’m taking care of that!

Although canning has taken up a huge portion of my time this past 2 weeks, that’s not all. we did.

Jake and I made cinnamon sugar toast cut-outs one day. This is a birdhouse, in case you didn’t know. All we did is toast bread, spread with butter and cinnamon sugar and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, but he had a wonderful time doing it and eating his concoction.

Rob filled the kiddie pools for the kids one day and watched both the pressure canner and the kids at the same time, as we do all of our canning outside in an enclosed porch area.

I started science with Patsy this week and she and Jake did an experiment. We’ve been reading aloud for hours and I’ve received Jake’s science from his Mom so we will start that this week. I like to do some school in August, to ease into the process. We will go full-bore in September.

We had a family gathering potluck for Rob’s side of the family one evening and had a nice time. We had an aunt and uncle from Idaho visiting our aunt who lives here and spent some time over at her house visiting, which was also nice. Of course, the babies have been through the house a few times, and we have seen some other relatives from time to time. We aren’t bored, but will admit to being quite tired once night comes! It’s a busy time of year:)

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8 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 8, 2021–Food Preservation Edition”

  1. Wow-I am so impressed with all your hard work-those peaches look absolutely fantastic. I have a large yard but a tiny garden and so far have harvested small amounts of scallions, Saskatoon berries, raspberries, snow peas, apples and potatoes. The tomatoes are just starting.

    My husband will finally get his new hip next week-it is a anterior incision so planned to be day surgery-which should mean a quicker recovery.

    1. I’m so glad you husband gets a new hip. By now, since I’m so slow on answering comments, he probably already has it. I hope it went well. It’s been a huge blessing for my husband.

  2. I’m exhausted just reading that!! Wow!!! So happy for you! You will have your own grocery store soon!

    1. I’m always so surprised when I run out of things, since I do feel like I have a mini grocery store, and should have everything I want, all the time. Then I remind myself that I don’t grow gluten-free flour, and many, many other things…..and that we are constantly eating….and…..but it’s a noble goal to keep it stocked.

    1. Thank you. As you can see, I’m not blogging much….cause I’m canning much! I’m gaining on the project, though, and the quieter days will come again, where I just sit and eat it all:)

  3. It’s wonderful to read about and see all what you have done to preserve the food you’ve been growing, Becky. I harvested 132 zucchini from the 14 plants I grew! We gave away a lot of the zucchini, I’ve frozen some, and made chutney with some. I wish I had a big, deep freezer, to hold all the produce from the garden! I only have the side by side fridge/freezer and my freezer is full! My tomato harvest is coming in and I picked about 10 lbs. tomatoes, so far, from just 2 plants! I’ve frozen some, given some to my neighbor, and have been reading up on how to can them. It’ll have to be just a water bath because I don’t have a pressure canner. If you have any tips on canning tomatoes (and have the time to write them) I’d appreciate it!

    1. Bless,
      That’s an INSANE amount of zucchini!!! I’m glad you found a use for all that. I love having deep freezers. In the past, when I had so many, many children at home, I had more freezers than I do now. Even so, I have 3. They hold garden produce, plus meat that we buy in bulk (part of a cow each fall, sale-priced turkeys, hams around Thanksgiving, and chicken when it comes on sale.). I also use them for storage of baked goods so I always have some muffins, cookies, or desserts on hand. I hope you can get one some day. But, for now, I’ll bet you got a lot into your fridge freezer. They hold an amazing amount, I think.

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