I guess you could say that putting food up is in my blood. One of my most vivid memories of living in Iowa (we moved away a few months before I started kindergarten) is of making jelly with my mom. We had a grape vine growing in our yard on a fence along our driveway. I remember mainly going through the grapes to pick out the bad ones and that they sometimes had spiders in them. We’d sit on the steps and I remember throwing the bad grapes into the yard “for the birds.”
Now that I’m older, a lot of my plans for putting food up are a combination of being frugal and caring about what I eat. During college, I went to the farmers’ market and bought all the “seconds” peppers I could–for a quarter each. I cut the (generally extremely tiny) bad spots out and was able to freeze a giant gallon bag of pepper strips for just a couple dollars. I also like that jars are glass (no BPA), that they are reusable many times, and that I have precise control over what goes into my canned goods.
Last year I bought 30 pounds of tomatoes for $30 at the farmers’ market. I made about 22 pints of crushed tomatoes and 16 pints of salsa. The crushed tomatoes are great for making pizza or pasta sauce (although next time I would make them less watery) and Gavin wound up loving the salsa (I find it too mild). Success!
This year I’m hoping to put up the following (in addition to half of my CSA box):
- Apple Butter
- Blueberry and Strawberry Jam
- Pickles (bread and butter, watermelon rind, green beans, and jalapenos)
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Breaded Okra
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Frozen Berries, Cherries, and Peaches
- Frozen Red Peppers
- Frozen Asparagus
- Salsa (corn, green, mild, and hot)
It’s an ambitious list, but I cannot wait to eat the results all winter long. And as everyone in the midwest knows, winter lasts approximately FOREVER.