Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 21, 2021

My garden looks like a complete mess! Still, on Sunday after church when I went out to pick a few things, I got all this and another huge bowl of beans. They were the surprise, since I found the bulk of them on the 3 short rows of bushes I just haven’t gotten time to pull out. They obviously bloomed again and reset more beans. So, among the dried-up, too-old beans was another batch of beautiful, just-right beans.

I cooked a pan full for eating. I gave a bag to my sister and one to my aunt. Then, I froze 4 bags. We don’t eat that many frozen beans, but always use a few each winter. I had only frozen about 4-6 previously this way, so these will be used with no problem. The pole beans should continue to give us enough for fresh eating for a few more weeks.

With my freezers groaning with all of this summer’s bounty, I need room! I pulled a turkey I purchased last fall when they were very inexpensive and Rob cooked it on the bbq. Then, I de-boned it, made broth and canned most of it. The rest was eaten fresh and some is for turkey enchiladas.

I used the boxes and bowls of tomatoes and finished up the salsa. I believe I have enough for these salsa-crazy people around here. With the few that were left over and what I made, I now have 72 jars of assorted sizes–everything from 1/2 pint to quart. Salsa is one of the more time-consuming things I can, so I’m glad to have that project finished.

I also got one canner load of tomato juice and one of crushed tomatoes. I need to do a few more whole tomatoes, but those are easy.

There are still tomatoes on the bushes, but they are winding down. There will be plenty for us and the extended family to eat for several more weeks, until frost.

I froze jalapeño peppers and Hungarian Wax peppers together, as they have about the same level of heat. It was very easy to pick and food-process them while I was making salsa. We don’t use very many of those in a winter, but it’s nice to have some. I package them very thin and flat in a quart-sized ziplock bag so I can break off little chunks when I want to throw just a few into a recipe.

Even though I’m still canning, and school is going full-force, meals need to be cooked. I made this breakfast “egg pie” with a frozen hash brown crust and eggs, a little ham, some leftover garlic cream cheese, spinach, ham and cheddar cheese. It came out great.

I’ve used all the chicken, meat and baked goods from the camper freezer, and am concentrating on using things from the house fridge freezer. It seems to cause an avalanche every time we open it, so it’s time:). Past time. Since we crack out our ice from ice cube trays and fill a Ziplock in the door, AND use a lot of ice daily, this can happen multiple of times each day. It’s getting annoying, to say the least. I can see why housewives of years gone by did fall cleaning. After all the food preservation and gardening, there are just too many areas that have been left to themselves around here.

The grocery money that was spent this week was for basics such as turmeric, salt, milk, eggs……you get the idea. As with most spices we buy, Rob was able to get the turmeric in bulk so it was not expensive. I don’t use much, but it was depleted in some of my pickles recently. It was nice to not need much else so I could fill those things up (and more) with my regular grocery budget. I did get a Coke Zero and some riced cauliflower for free from my Safeway card. The Coke Zero is long gone. The riced cauliflower—-hmmmmm. I’m going to try it soon so it doesn’t linger longer and make that freezer problem worse.

12 thoughts on “Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 21, 2021”

  1. Yum on the salsa! You have been busy, but I know you will enjoy all those jars this winter.
    My garden is winding down, but I will have a mess of green beans ready soon. Guess it was a good thing that I waited to pull up the bean vines. I will surely miss the tomatoes though.
    Hope you have a good week.

    1. I’m going to miss those tomatoes, too! And everything else. Even though I’ve got hundreds of jars and frozen cartons/baggies, it’s never as good as when it’s fresh.

    1. Right? After it all hits your foot for the 10th time, you cease being amused:)

      We like Tromboncino. What I like about it is that it is more firm than some other zucchinis and also that it grows up my trellis. I want to make some baked, crumb-coated Tromboncino zucchini rounds to dip into pasta sauce one of these days. It sounds good. My sister made some and I’m intrigued. I think it will work well and not mush up. Mostly, I just add it to stir-fry or shred it to use in baking.

  2. It’s so lovely to see all the fresh produce you are still harvesting from your garden and seeing all what you are canning! That breakfast egg pie looks delicious and something I am wanting to try! I’ll have to make my own grated potatoes for it, but, I have eggs and ham…might make it for a dinner, though, as we are not big breakfast eaters!

    1. I’ve done it many times with home-grated potatoes. I just had a partial bag of hash browns that had been around forever….

      I usually grate some potatoes into a greased pie pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Then, I bake for about 15 minutes while I get the other things ready.

      For the filling, today I used 3 eggs, about 1 tsp of dried onions, and 2 Tablespoons of half-and-half because that is what I had. I mixed that up and poured it into the par-baked “crust.” Then I sprinkled some ham and a little cooked spinach around and a few dollops of garlic-onion cream cheese (never did that before, but it needed to be used) and put cheese on top. I baked at 350 for about 20 minutes. It came out great. I’ve varied the toppings many times in the past according to what I have.

      Enjoy!

  3. 72 jars of salsa!!!! That must be some kind of record! I was just wondering, why don’t you can your green beans? Or, have you and these were just too few to do a whole batch?

    1. You guessed it! I always try to have a carry-over from last year, plus can new ones. With both put together I have 75 quarts and 57 pints of canned beans out there in the shop. That will be enough for the whole year, plus a carry-over for next year as well. We always use the oldest jars first. That’s why we don’t eat as many frozen ones. I would need another freezer just for beans:)

      The reason that I always try to have that carry-over is because there have been years now and then where I have a complete crop failure. One year, quite some time ago, I lost all of my tomato plants to a blight and only canned 7 quarts before that happened. So at the end of any given summer, my hope is to have a year-and-a-half to 2 years worth of canned jars of all kinds of produce. The plan is to never run out completely.

      Sometimes it works better than others. This year, for instance, I was very surprised to find that there were a very few of several things left out there and lots of others. I have a book where I meticulously write down how many were left over, how many I did this year and the dates I canned them. I have years of records so I can look back if need be. I have recipes in books and on paper which I can hopefully find at the moment I need them. The reason I was surprised that some things were basically gone (only 2-5 or even none left over) is because I canned extra last summer. This year, I used bigger jars for some of the items that went quickly last year. Like salsa. I did several quarts along with the littler jars. I’m convinced that it’s Covid causing this–we are home more with extra people, not at the store to buy more food as often, always eating here, etc.

      I try really hard to stay up-to-date on canning regulations for safety, so this year I got a new “Complete Book of Home Preserving” put out by Ball. I know the Ball Blue Book I have is from 2009, and that is considered safe, still. I also like the website “National Center For Home Food Preservation.” I have pamphlets from the Extension office and more. I’m super careful when I get a recipe from the internet to compare it to all of my safe sources.

      We base our meals on our preserved food every single day. It’s a very rare day if I don’t wash at least one empty jar. The exception to that is in the height of summer when I likely have a lot of fresh produce. But, we are still likely to use jam or something canned frequently or from the freezer.

    1. Yes. And, with chickens, you can’t just leave for a week and go camping all the time…..I can get away with it with a garden much easier.

  4. What a great year for your garden and canning. Can you post your salsa recipe? Or is it in the Ball book? Thanks for the tip that there’s a new Ball book out, mine is from 2009 as well.

    I had blight wipe out my tomatoes last year as well. This year, I grew them in containers by my front door with new soil. Two of the plants did great, the third is just now starting to produce. I think it was shaded. I know, don’t laugh that I have three plants but it’s just me!

    I started price matching again this week to try and keep my grocery bill within my budget. My favorite grocery store will price match and if they have a B1G1 sale or a % off sale of something, those sales will apply to the price match as well. I did great this week on KD Mac and Cheese. The price match was for $0.97 per box but the store had a B1G1 sale that also applied. Score!! I’ve had some other great deals kick in but that was the best one so far.

    Take good care –

    1. Hey–no shame in 3 tomatoes! At least you should get enough to eat some fresh from the vine. I was just thinking the other day, that even though I enjoy canning so much, there’s no way I will be able to keep it up at this level forever…so I’m just enjoying myself while it still works for me!

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