Category Archives: food preservation

Thriving In My thrifty Week–October 6, 2020

This is my miracle. Rob picked up some wood from my brother-in-law, came home, split and stacked it.

He is still limping, and has a few other muscles that aren’t working quite right, so he was improved for another round of physical therapy. He started that today.

When Patsy was helping Rob pick up wood, she found a praying mantis. We also found caterpillars in the garden and brought them in with the hope of her being to observe them turning into butterflies. So far, no luck, but it’s good to try.

Our onions are dried nicely now. Rob built some wooden boxes to store them in. We have many, many more than this:). He’s sorting them, a little each day since the white ones will go bad first, then the red and yellow because of the varieties and storage capabilities they have.

He worked with Patsy in the shop while he was building them, and taught her how to safely use a tool she had not used before.

Every time Rob goes up to my sister’s farm, she send home garden goodies. We have been enjoying corn. We have dried the last of her tomatoes, as she has what she wants, and worked with apples, apples and more apples. We also dried zucchini, made Giadiniera, and apple pie filling and bread and butter pickles. I thought I was done with pickles, but found more cucumbers. Those were the absolute last, though, and I pulled the bushes up. My canning shelves are over-full, so Rob build me some wooden boxes to store empty jars in as we empty them to free up a little space on the shelves so I can safely move things around without danger of breakage and more easily see what I have as things in front are used up.

She sent kiwi and kiwi berries for us to snack on.

I spent 4-5 hours tying up my blackberries this week. The new vines grew extra long and were very tangled up with each other, grown into the garden and covered with weeds and otherwise entangled. It was not fun, but it’s done.

This was the week for people to give us food, multiple people for several reasons. What a blessing they all were! I was given a bag of popcorn, many fruits and vegetables, and a box of assorted cans of foods that Rob’s mom was given, but could not use. In that box were canned beans, a can of baby corn, some clams and oysters, and some sauces, plus more. I sorted them. The ones that were slightly over-date were set out for immediate use, the rest put on the shelves for later. I made a baked bean medley from some of them, plan to give away the oysters as we don’t eat them, have a stir-fry planned for the baby corn and will make clam chowder soon. I ate the can of very strange soup, but….hey, we don’t all have the same tastes and it’s gone now:).

I picked some lettuce, the first I’ve had for a while. Summer heat and smoke were not kind to the garden and there wasn’t any for a while. I also picked peppers, green beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and beets from the garden.

I went grocery shopping last week. I used the $10/off $50 coupon at Safeway and also clipped several store coupons to my phone account. I will need very little at the store this week, between what I bought, the end of the garden, and what I was given. I like to stretch out my shopping trips if I can, to save time and to stay home, and as always, save money!

A Fall Frenzy of Food Preservation–October, 2020

My sister’s apple trees have yielded a bumper crop this year. She has kindly shared a LOT of apples with us over the last couple of weeks.

This week, I have made apple pie filling, dried apples, and we have eaten SO many apples!

As you can see, the garden tomatoes are coming to the end of their days. But, despite a few spots, Rob brought home this box from my sister’s. We also picked some equally spotted ones from our garden.

We dried them. I did this a few years ago. You can use them in any recipe calling for sun-dried tomatoes that are not packed in oil.

In the cabbage mixture I grew, there was one head of red cabbage. We ate a little off the side of it, then it sat in the fridge. I found a recipe for a German cabbage with apples in it and used the rest of the head to make it. It’s a sweet and sour, pickled mixture and I’m getting excited to try it. I’m just waiting to let the flavors meld together before I do.

Rob wanted to make Giadiniera. He found huge heads of cauliflower at a farm stand. They were only $3/each. We froze some and used the rest for this pickled vegetable mixture. There were many, many recipes on the internet, and they all seemed to be different. I did a little research to make sure the brine was safe, and then just picked one.

The zucchini, Tromboncini and summer squash bushes all ripened more fruit. We dried them. I did this a few years back and used them primarily in soup. I added them at the end of the cooking process and they rehydrated nicely and did not turn to mush. I have another idea or two that I plan to try with these.

When I went out to dump one of my many bowls of apple peelings into the compost heap, I felt a “crunch” under my feet. Much to my surprise, there was a cucumber under my feet in the bushes I thought were finished. I started searching and found enough misshapen cucumbers to make 8 little jars of bread-and-butter pickles. That was a very nice surprise since I had not made any this year and a great way to use these ugly cucumbers in a tasty way.

We have spent considerable time this past week preserving food. This task is winding down, though, as we have also spent a great deal of time putting the garden to bed for the winter. We are not done, but are making great progress. The last few fruits are being picked, bushes are being pulled, vines are being tied up, compost is being spread from the one bin that is finished, and Rob is planning to till soon. I have hoed around my fall plants that will not be tilled up, as they are not finished. I hope to finish that job in the next couple of days, before the rain that’s supposed to arrive this weekend. It’s been a wonderful gardening year, and I’m grateful for all that we have been able to harvest.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 27, 2020

Another eventful week! Can you see the sea lions in the background? One day, Michaela needed to get out of the house, so we kidnapped her and drove down to Newport to see the sea lions. We were looking for what she calls a “country drive” and some sight she could look at that were outside. This fit the bill. These sea lions are a fixture along the waterfront of downtown Newport and they kept the girls, and everybody else, entertained as they barked like sea lions do, pushed each other off the docks, and swam playfully in the water. Of course the girls wore masks, they just took them off for the picture……the seal lions did not seem to have any:).

The weather was cloudy, but not cold, and we enjoyed looking at the bridge in the distance.

After a stop at a candy store, we stopped at Depoe Bay and were fortunate enough to be there at the right time–high tide–to see the spouting horn spouting water up into the air. Then, to make it better, in the distance, we could see whales spouting! What an amazing day!

Rob and I spent a day canning chicken products. I have been waiting for months to see split breasts come on sale for 99c/lb. I was starting to think I was not going to see that price again, until Rob finally spotted it in an ad. I de-boned the breasts, and made broth and soup from the bones and the bits of meat left on them. I filled 1/2 pint jars with the chicken and a little broth and made a huge batch of soup while Rob babysat the canner(s) (all 3) until the processing was done. Thankfully, we can do 2 at one time, and thankfully, we were able to triple stack the tiny jars (separated by racks) in the biggest pressure canner we own. That all helped speed up the process.

A different day, I canned 7 more quarts of diced tomatoes. I had 1/2 bowl from my garden and asked my sister if she had any to fill a canner of pints. Boy, did she, and more…and I did quarts instead. Most of our tomatoes are done, though, so I think this will be the last batch of those. I have to say that’s kind of a good thing, although I do love food preservation. My freezers are full, and my canning shelves are so full that I sincerely cannot fit many more jars in there. A friend gave me some jar lids that she was not using, which I thought was very nice. I’ve used them.

When my sister brought the tomatoes down, she brought a box of apples as well. Rob’s been drying them. This is the first year we’ve used our dryer for a while, and we’ve done several kinds of fruit, some chives and some parsley, so far.

I used mixed cherry tomatoes to make tacos one night. It just felt so gourmet….

We’ve also had potato soup and potato salad…can you tell I had a bag going bad? When I went to Winco for a few items, though, I found 2 bags for 99c/each so now I’m stocked back up on potatoes.

I used up a few items on my pantry shelves that had been there for a long, long time. I re-filled several spice jars in the kitchen from my bulk supply that I keep in the garage pantry. I also filled cocoa powder, 1-1 flour, sugar, and more containers from my bulk supply. I made some buns and bread from the mix I made, and some applesauce muffins. After so much time spent in the garden, and on food preservation, my kitchen needs some cleaning and organizing and my supply of frozen ready-to-eat food needs replacing. There’s lots left to do, but I got a little done this week.

We were able to see Anthony and Allison at a park near where they live. It was Allison’s birthday this week. I made some cupcakes and frosting, decorated them with some sprinkles we had on hand, and packed a picnic for us all to enjoy during our visit. It was simple and we all had to keep our social distance, but she enjoyed her gift, and her picnic, I could tell. It’s going to get way more difficult to do these outside visits as the weather changes, so we were grateful that it worked out this time. For those of you who are new to my blog, Anthony is one of our sons. Allison is the love of his life. They both live in a group home for special needs adults in a town about 30 minutes from where we live. So, it takes a little bit of organizing to get to see them, but it’s worth it! They are both so sweet.

We are very grateful and praising God that we got another soaking rain. The wildfires are still burning, but they are being contained. The rain soaked the forest and it will not burn as easily. There are still many, many people who are affected, and we will continue to pray for them.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 20, 2020

The wildfire smoke finally cleared enough for me to get outside. It took 2 sessions, but I got the weeds pulled around the raised beds, old plants pulled and trimmed and new compost spread in the back one, a few more fall veggies planted, and bark dust spread around the paths. I had 2 bags of the darker brown bark dust left from last spring, so used them. The rest of the paths I spread with some shavings Rob’s been saving in an old garbage can from his woodworking in the shop. I’m hoping the paths will remain walk-able for me this winter as I hopefully harvest lettuce, kale, green onions, spinach, snow peas and boc choi. It’s a little later than I wanted to plant, but if things don’t fruit before the winter, sometimes they will over-winter and give me some goodies very early in the spring. Last year, that’s what my over-wintered snow peas did.

The garden’s getting pretty messy, but there are some plants in there that I still have hope for.

My winter lettuce is very tiny. The Chinese cabbage is growing, and I can see that the cabbage is growing nicely. The spinach didn’t come up. Such is life:).

A little dose of reality? Yup. That’s really what my zucchini patch looks like. But, I still keep getting a zucchini or two every couple of days….

And, a few tomatoes. You can also see the gluten-free flour mix I stirred up. I want to make bread in the next day or two. I don’t eat a lot of bread, but I do eat it now and then.

I made some chocolate cupcakes and used 1/2 the batter to make a loaf cake to slice, freeze and keep on hand. I also froze some turkey meatballs and 1/2 of the pork Rob marinated and barbecued. It’s so handy to have things to grab from the freezer and eat when I’m in a hurry.

My canning and preserving project is slowing way, way down, as the garden is also slowing down. However, I did get enough tomatoes to can 9-1/2 pints of diced tomatoes this week. I am thinking of things to do with all these, as it’s a little too much to eat, but not quite enough to can. Pico de Gallo comes to mind, as does sharing with my extremely good-natured neighbor. She has graciously accepted all extra veggies, including some of the less “popular” ones that others might turn down.

My sister gave me 5 tiny squash. I peeled, chopped, and roasted the bits and we gobbled them down.

Once the hot weather was over, the pole beans bloomed and started producing beans again. I’ve had several bowls in the past couple of weeks. I’m hoping that we will get quite a few more dinners from them before it frosts.

I can’t say things look great out there, but I’m still very satisfied with all of the food we just keep getting. Now that the light can shine on the garden since the smoke is gone, and we’ve had a little rain, I think I may be surprised at what may grow. Here’s hoping anyway……..

The rest of the week was filled with spending time with Jake and Michaela, doing school with Patsy, and a little cleaning. We started exercising again yesterday. We just couldn’t go outside to walk until then, the smoke was that bad.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 12, 2020

I want to say thank you to all of you who have offered prayers on our behalf here in Oregon, and all along the west coast. The fires are still raging in our area and thick, choking smoke fills the air and ashes cover our yard and garden. The town where we recently vacationed with my sister and family, Detroit, is almost gone, as our many other towns around the state. So many of our family and friends who live in different towns than us, are evacuated. Many others are on Level 2, which means “get ready to leave.” Hopefully, the weather system they are forecasting will bring rain in the next few days, and that will help the situation out.

But while we waited for rain, hunkered down, inside, trying not to take big breaths when we were outside, I finished a few projects. I had the assorted hot peppers my sister and aunt gave me. I dashed out to pick the ones from my bushes and Rob cut them all up and we pickled and canned them. Rob will eat some of these on salads and sandwiches and I will use some of them when I make refried beans. They are so pretty in the jars, even with the light coating of ashes that persists in spite of wiping and dusting them. No worries…after this picture I got it all off!

After my pathetic carrot crop was exhausted, in one afternoon I might add, I knew I wanted to can a few more. Rob found a 25 pound bag for under $9, so I canned 20 pints. There are lots left to cook with in other ways. You may ask me why I bother canning carrots when you can buy them cheaply and store them easily. It’s because there are occasions when I want to make my chicken-rice soup in a hurry. Like yesterday. And the day before. At those times, I just dump in one of my little jars and I’m good to go. We do occasionally eat a jar as our vegetable at dinner, but that’s pretty rare. I tend to use fresh ones for that. I don’t can carrots every year, but this year, I’m out so…… I kid you not. I ran out of so many things this year–things I usually only can every 2 or 3 years. It was the summer of canning, for sure. This batch of carrots will last quite a while.

We cooked several things this week. I made chicken-rice soup twice, using frozen broth, and frozen bits of turkey. I shared a couple of large bowls, and we ate the rest. Jake was with us quite a bit this past week, in fact, he still is as of Saturday night, and he likes that kind of soup. He was quite put out to hear I have given away the last of the first batch, even if it was to evacuated friends in a hotel near us…. who had no food because they had to leave home in a hurry…..who really needed dinner…….No matter. He was fine with helping out, and wanted uncle to check on them the next day, as long as there would be more soup coming. (They are fine, by the way, and will stay in the hotel for a few nights and then hopefully return to their home, which was still standing yesterday, anyway). So I made more soup. It’s one of the few things he will eat that is full of veggies and other good vitamins.

We made a lot of white rice. Jake eats that, too. Rob made some pork chops, I baked a chicken with a spice rub from a cookbook. It came out great. We also had a Costco chicken. You can’t beat the $5 price. Since Rob cleaned out the freezers last week, we found a few things that needed to be used. One was ham bits, so we’ve had scrambled eggs with ham, baked potatoes with ham, ham sandwich filling…..it was a fairly big bag, but it’s gone now.

We bought 10 butters at $1.99/box and 10 peanut butters for .99/small jar. He got eggs for 89c/dozen. Rob did a Costco run for heartworm medicine for the dog (good price there), lemon juice (I’ve used so much in the canning…), and got a few other things we needed while he was there. So most of the groceries this week were for stocking up at low prices to use in meals later, keeping the grocery budget down.

Our neighbor gave me 2 Kiwi Co. crate kits. They were for her boys and they enjoyed them, but there were extra parts in the box, so she sent them over for Jake. They were science projects. He’s done one of them, and has the other one left to do. He really liked doing them.

We did school. I read and read to both Jake and Patsy. Jake’s mom just finished a book called “The Skippack School.” She read it to him for school and she sent it so we could talk about ideas about the character. (A modified character study.). He loves the book so much he made me start all the way over. We are almost finished reading it, again. It’s just a simple book about a little boy who lived long ago, who had a few struggles paying attention in school, and got into some mischief, but did learn to do better and learned to read. It is nice he enjoys it, and so nice that being homeschooled this term allows him to get to hear it again. (Everyone is homeschooled this term around here, due to Corona virus).

It’s been a strange week. We just feel like we are waiting for something, and we have a vague feeling of anxiety, especially when the sky is dark, or glowing orange, or so smoky it feels like it’s foggy. Or when it’s both smoky and foggy, like today. I’m sure when the smoke lifts, and the fires are under control, things will feel more normal. Until then, we will continue to pray and see if there are practical things we can do as well. It’s what you do at times like these.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 7, 2020–More Food Preservation

This week, we concentrated on food preservation again. It’s that time of year:). The shelves are starting to fill up nicely.

Rob emptied and cleaned all 3 freezers that we keep in the shop for the first time since we moved here. Then, I came and helped sort the items that were inside. Much to my chagrin, I found some very oldies, but no longer goodies and dumped them. Things like cauliflower from 2015 and zucchini almost as old is not worth taking up real estate in those freezers. Things just got out of order when we moved, and it was time to sort it. I have so much new, good, fresh produce I’d rather eat, and now I can find it.

I spent time cleaning and organizing the canning shelves. I decided the berry syrup from 2002 (yes, believe it–sad, but true) had to go. It was one teeny, tiny jar, but that stuff is so much work it was hard to throw it away.

But, now, I can look forward to eating fresh food. I know what’s there, everywhere, and love that knowledge. I have one turkey and one ham to use before the fall sales. There’s lots of chicken and fish and even some shrimp. I have room for the 1/4 beef we will get when the farmer gets it ready, probably October.

I finally met a goal I’ve been working on for several months. All of the beef bones are used up! Every time we get 1/4 beef, we get packages of bones. They are time consuming to work up, so I tend to procrastinate until I need broth. I wanted them all used before this new beef arrives. This week, I boiled that last of them and canned another 7 quarts of broth. Then, I made 14 jars of vegetable beef soup with what I saved out. I used broth, the bits of meat from the bones, lots of veggies, and especially every odd and end of a veggie I could find–a few beans, a little corn, carrots, onions, celery, even a huge bunch of parsley from the raised bed. Rob patiently sat and babysat the 2 canners for the 90 minutes they needed to cook, and I just checked and they all sealed! Yea!

Tomatoes are taking over!!! I picked tomatoes at my sister’s house, and my garden. I made salsa, tomato sauce, and jars of canned tomato chunks. I’ve finally met my salsa-making goal and that time-consuming job is done for the year. I’m through canning most of these tomatoes as of this evening, and will finish the rest in the morning.

This morning, we picked corn at my sister’s. We just don’t have the room or the good soil to grow good corn, so she generously grows enough for all of us. How much corn often depends on the weather and the hungry crows, who eat the seeds in the spring! Part of this is from her garden. The rest is from the field they lease out to a lady who has a fruit stand and told my sister she could take all she wanted. We took about 20 ears, because I wanted to do a little more than was ripe in the garden today. That was so kind of both of them. I got 25 pint cartons to add to the 8 that we got the other day of frozen corn. I also canned 19 pints of corn last week. We were simply out of almost out of everything this year.

Rob bleached the kiddie pool so we could cool corn in it. He and Patsy did most of this project, after I boiled the cobs, and then I worked on tomatoes and soup.

I did get to visit with baby again. Awww….so sweet.

I did not clean my house. I did not weed my garden. My laundry is a mess–the baskets have been dug through as needed. I don’t have a clean dish towel in the drawer. But, my shelves and freezers are almost full. We’ve managed to cook some very simple meals, such as tuna melts, tuna sandwiches and tuna salad. Good thing we canned so much tuna! And, I’m having a great week:). I love this time of year.

I did finally go to the store after a couple of weeks and got out of there for $77. For me, for 2 weeks, that’s awesome, so I’m thrilled. I had to go late afternoon, because I had things in the canners, and so many things were missing from the shelves. Maybe that’s why the cost was so reasonable:) :). But we got plenty! I’m going to have Jake and Michaela quite a bit this coming week and there are certain things they eat. Period. So, I got those, the other things they had on my list, and the rest we can live without.

thriving In My Thrifty Week–August 18, 2020

A trip to the docks in Newport, Oregon, led to this….

A trip to the farm and garden led to this…..

So, pretty much all I’ve been doing this past week is this….

Rob’s cousin gave us 2 huge boxes of food she did not need from a gleaner’s group she belongs to. In it were 2 huge bags of broccoli, which I froze, some chicken, which I canned and lots of other yummy food, which we ate.

The peaches are from my sister’s farm. Rob helped up there several days this past couple of weeks and hauled home peaches and wild black berries more than once. My sister was given pears, and she shared with me. I have spent countless hours canning, freezing and drying produce. I’m delighted, but a bit tired, I will admit. There’s lots more to do, but I am trying to do it in small batches when ever possible. My freezers are getting stuffed, so I’ve actually turned down a couple of items lately, like blueberries and more green beans, and I canned the chicken we were given for that reason. My shelves are filling nicely out in the shop.

I’ve done a couple of batches of salsa, several small batches of pickles, lots of jam, wild blackberry and strawberry syrup, and I’m working on fruit cocktail today.

A few of the fall/winter gardening seeds have come up and some of the cabbage starts that looked so awful when I planted them look much better now. In between preserving, I’ve been trying to clean up the yard and garden a bit….it’s getting pretty weedy. But, the weeds will still be there when I’m done canning, I’m pretty sure. So, I’m not getting too worried about them:)

So, why do I do all of this? Several reasons: For one, I actually enjoy it. But, even if I didn’t, I still would preserve food. There is so much food in our area. Farmers have a bounty of crops that are available for little money. My garden is bountiful. But, during the winter, little grows, and it is so nice to be able to go out to the shop and grab what I want or need. It saves me both time and money during the winter, and I can cook so many delicious meals with the food I preserve.

During this past spring, it become apparent that things had changed in our area. The stores were having shortages, as they did everywhere else. We have chosen to not shop as often, due to Covid, and sometimes, things on my list were not there when we were. This summer, I’m preserving extra, because we ate extra last spring and I ran out of some items. I know I will enjoy the convenience of having the food right at my fingertips. Right now, in our area, farmers are selling their wares at fruit stands and farms for the same prices they did in the past, or with a slight, normal increase. With other food prices going up in the stores, that’s attractive to me.

Are you preserving anything extra this summer?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–August 10, 2020

The canning is stacking up around here! This week, one of the things I did was pull the carrots. Some we ate and some were canned. Frankly, my carrot crop was small, and not impressive, but I dealt with what there was. I grew multi-colored colored carrots, for part of what I grew, and I like how they look in the jars. During a normal winter, I use between 5 and 10 pints of canned carrots, that is all. I use them for one purpose–making chicken-rice soup when I’m in a big hurry. Therefore, I don’t can them every year, but this year, I’m down to one jar left, so it’s time.

Pickles are made every few days and the tomatoes are just barely starting.

We have a peach tree in the back yard. It’s somewhat pathetic and the peaches that grow are usually eaten off by squirrels before they even ripen. The peaches are often covered with scabs. But, this year, some survived–probably 20-25 pounds and they are quite nice. I was expecting very little-none as usual, so this gave me extra peaches. I have been freezing them in slices for smoothies, gave some of the frozen ones to my sister, froze a few for a friend, and made another double batch of peach jam.

We are eating so well from the garden now.

My lettuce is really good right now, but some of it wants to bolt soon. I will be hauling some out to family members on Wednesday so it gets eaten.

Rob has been saving seeds from some of our open-pollinated flowers and vegetables to use next year. It’s his first try, but he’s become very infested in the process–so I’m on board. I’ve got a small patch of the lettuce in the center of the picture saved and will let it go to seed for him. I’ve got a huge cucumber yellowing on the vine for the same purpose, and one freaky carrot that bloomed so is being left alone to see what happens.

I’ve been working hard in the garden to pull up old bean bushes, pull the onions so they can dry, and otherwise clean up out there. One day, Rob tilled this section and I planted cabbage, some sad broccoli plants and a few seeds. The plants are not amused at the 90+ degree day we had today. I’ve ran the sprinkler daily and hauled a few watering cans full of water out to them, so they will likely survive if I keep doing it. I have plans to plant a few more fall/winter crops when I get the section where the onions were prepared.

I went to the dentist today and got a filling replaced. It had a small crack in it. They felt I could wait until after Rob recovered from surgery, but not 6 months…..I really don’t like dental work, but was glad to get it fixed before it caused problems down the road. I was able to use my insurance, so that helped ease the pain.

Rob has been helping my sister/brother-in-law on their peach farm a little over the past couple of weeks. They are in a busy time, and he’s available. While he was there today, he picked wild blackberries and we made jam this afternoon.

My aunt and sisters picked and snapped more green beans for me while I was at the dentist. Rob and I canned them this afternoon. I got 7 more quarts and 18 pints, plus 4 baggies to freeze. Thanks, guys!

Rob gathered free wood from the side of the road and made me screens to dry my onions on.

One day, while we were watching Michaela, we packed a picnic and took her up to Silver Creek Falls State Park to dip her toes in the creek, and enjoy her picnic. We are all trying to find things for the kids to do while still staying safe–so although the park was somewhat crowded, we just stayed away from people as much as we could, so we were able to find a way to social distance. We did take a walk, but it was around the parking lot and a field–we never got anywhere near the falls this time around. It was still extremely fun!

What did you do this week to save money or have an awesome week?

.

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?

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 15, 2019

Rob was super blessed to hold not only 1 tiny baby, but 2 tiny babies today! I never stop marveling at tiny babies. So precious, and such a gift from God. This precious babe has been hanging around my sister’s house a lot while Mommy and Daddy crash on the couch for a little bit while everybody in the house takes turns holding her. That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Her daddy is like a son to my sister and brother-in-law, but I just can’t wrap my brain around my sister as a….. grandma? But, I guess if I can be one, she can, too. I’m so glad she shares:). We feel blessed.

We canned chicken and broth. At 89c/lb, the price could not be beat. We canned more tuna than we needed last summer. We found that Rob likes canned chicken on his salads in addition to the tuna. We decided to just do a batch of chicken and use up the rest of the tuna, then can more tuna next summer. Tuna varies in price, but often is around $3.50/lb., so this a way to get him variety while saving money.

I bought approximately $13.50 of split chicken breasts and made broth and canned chicken. We got 17 or 18 little jars of assorted sized (most 1/2 pint) of chicken chunks, 7 quarts and 12 pints and a couple of tiny jars of broth.

Patsy decided to cook up a storm for the first time in a long time. I joined her. We made tamale pie.

She made Cashew Chicken with rice noodles. Twice. We made some blondies, and some chicken soup.

Then she went back to her regular favorites of tacos, quesadillas, and p.b.j. sandwiches with apples.

What brought this “cooking fit” on? Grandma and Auntie Jan were coming for lunch. She’s been waiting for years to be a part of the “make lunch for Grandma” team. I guess she thought Grandma and Auntie were starving:). The food came in handy. We did have a great lunch. They got to take little bits home for future meals. We had these things for our meals for a couple of days. I hauled little dishes over to my sister’s house for them to eat. Let’s hope she gets in a mood again:). She felt wonderful. All of our tummies felt wonderful! Win-Win!

Patsy is still plugging along on school, and finished week 6. We ran into some roadblocks due to information she had somehow missed over the years , but worked through a plan to correct the problem.

She joined the Christmas Choir at church and had her first practice. There is going to be a big program. This year, she felt confident enough to join in. Last year, she did not, but later confessed she had wanted to and helped with stage crew at the last minute. Grandma helped her work on her quilt block from the shop hop we took her on last winter/spring. None of these things cost money, but they all enrich all our lives and I have a great Christmas program to look forward to watching in December!

I was weeding during our sunny afternoon. Can you see what was under the weeds? I cleaned out all the old parsley and weeds, and propped the volunteer cherry tomato plant up on a wire cage–we may end up with a few more late cherry tomatoes. Not that we are out. I just hate to kill a plant with so much tenacity!

Can you see Alissa on the left? She is having the trip of a lifetime with her Daddy. They are in Israel, walking where Jesus walked, visiting Biblical places, and seeing for themselves what they have studied for years. In the meanwhile…..

Rob and I, my sister and older niece and Grandma and Auntie Jan and anyone else we can round up are all working together to keep the home fires burning for Jake and Michaela. It’s going well, but we will all welcome their return in a few days!