Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just Jammin'

Jam day went well, I think. I came out with ten 250ml jars of Raspberry-Strawberry-Blueberry jam. I ended up using a long-boil recipe with no pectin, just the berries and sugar. I also canned six 250ml jars of Raspberries in light syrup. They are lovely on vanilla ice cream in the middle of winter. Here are some pics from the kitchen:

Here is the fruit pureƩ boiling in the big pot. I am really glad I used the big pot because the jam really started to spit when it got boiling, there was jam everywhere. It had to be boiled for 20+ minutes and stirred almost constantly to prevent scorching.

Then I put the jam in the jars, centered the lids with the magnetic lid lifter thingy and put the bands on finger-tight.

Into the canner we go!

Raspberries in light syrup awaiting their turn in the canner.

The finished products!

All told, making the jam and canning it took me about 3 hours. Hopefully next time I can do it quicker :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

First time canning, let's hope I don't get in a jam!

Hehe, in a jam...Anyways... Tomorrow I am going to make jam for the first time. Now, I've been present for the making of many, many, jars of fantastic jams and jellies made by various family members but did I pay attention to how they really did it? No. So tomorrow will be a brand new adventure! Thankfully I have the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving to keep me on track. And I already called my mom for pointers.

I will also be doing some more freezer cooking to supplement the meals we still have from the last big cooking weekend. After all that work it makes me a little nervous to see the stockpile of frozen dishes starting to dwindle. Tonight I stopped at the Wholesale Club to buy beef for tomorrow's cooking but to my dismay it was all marked best before tomorrow! Much to my delight, however, some of the packages were marked 30% off! So I bought two and pre-cooked the beef tonight just to be on the safe side and it will be less work tomorrow. I also slammed together 2 meatloaves which are now in the freezer, ready to go.

Earlier this week I got a super deal on bottom round steaks at Thrifty's. They were $5.99/lb., so two large steaks in a package were about $5.00 each, with a $2.00 off department coupon for short dating. Since they were good for another 4 days I bought 4 packages, cut each steak in two and repackaged them in Ziploc freezer bags with marinade. All this really means is that we will have 4 BBQ steak dinners for about $0.75 per serving. Sweet deal!

Overall I am really enjoying the rewards of freezer cooking, we've had more time in the evenings to go for walks and spend time with friends and family, I spend less time in the kitchen prepping, cooking and cleaning after work, and so far our grocery budget is hanging in there. I think we will spend less on groceries this way in the long run but it has been a large investment to start. Here's hoping it pays off financially in the same way it's been paying off in the time department!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Freezer Cooking Pictures

Oh the never-ending dishes...
Cream of Yam, Bacon, and Leek and Cream of Mushroom and Leek
Veggie Burger Soup

Veggies for the pasta sauce
Pasta Sauce
10 lbs. of mushrooms