I visited a local Fruit and Vegetable Stand, and on my way home stopped at Tony’s Meat Market, yesterday afternoon. I came home with some killer deals from both places. Which means…..today was food preservation day.
Freezing and canning, canning and freezing.
It also meant that my brain decided to wake up at 5:30 this morning, ready to start the day. Try as I might I couldn’t make it go back to sleep so I gave in and started my day at 6:00.
I had much to do anyway. The extra time would be useful.
I started the day by freezing broccoli. I didn’t buy too much yesterday at the market, just enough for a couple of meals for us over the next couple of weeks. Broccolli freezes exceptionally well. Simply chop it up into bite size pieces, place the amount you like (specific amounts for particular recipes or, as I do, a large handful) in a freezer bag (I prefer Ziploc). (click here for Ziploc coupons….) Squeeze the air out of the freezer bag, after you’ve filled it as much as you like, and make sure you seal it well. Be sure to label the bag. Mark the food, the date and if needed, the amount. Freeze immediately.
Next I reached for the $1.99 bag of fresh green beans I purchased. Again, not a lot. Honestly I don’t care too much for frozen OR home-canned green beans. Either fresh or Green Giant from an aluminum works for me. I knew that whatever green beans I bought yesterday would be eaten immediately. However, I remembered a recipe from childhood that I loved, and wanted to try. Dilly Beans. I made a small batch and they are currently sitting in the refrigerator marinating in some good garlicky, dilly, vinegary sauce. If they come out okay, I’ll let you know.
I like to cut the stem part off the bean, but leave the pointy ends on the string bean as opposed to cutting both ends off. Makes me feel fancy.
Tony’s Meat Market had a special on boneless, skinless, chicken breast-10 lbs for $20.00. I couldn’t pass up filling a bit of our freezer with some chicken, so I bought 20 lbs. Jeremy took this job on for me of cutting, slicing, rinsing, and bagging the chicken. My almost 40 year old mind can deal, but my stomach has other opinions.
Next up was the kale. This too was $1.99 for this huge bunch. To freeze kale I cut the stems off and discard them. Next, cut length-wise down the spine of each Kale leaf. Layer them and cut into bite size pieces. As with the broccoli, I don’t measure, but take handfuls and put them into the Ziploc freezer bags. Frozen kale is great in soups, cooked with bacon, garlic and onions or in smoothies. Again, squeeze the air out of the bag and label, label, label.
Then I stepped outside and took this beautiful picture of the neighborhood and mountain in front of our house.
Pears were left on the agenda for the afternoon today. One bushel cost $16.00 at the market. Since it was on Kaitlyn’s wish list for canning this year I couldn’t pass it up.
Using 20 peeled and diced pears I woke the crock pot from it’s summer slumber and began making Pear Butter. (more on this later)
Then I grabbed my Gram’s well worn Ball canning recipe book and spent about three hours peeling, cutting, coring, cooking, and filling jars with pears and a just-sweet sugar syrup to place in the Water Bath (aka The Lobster Pot in Maine) in order to seal, so that in the middle of January we can taste the freshness of August’s pears.
Food preservation has become a really exciting part of our family over the last few years. I personally find few things more rewarding than seeing the work of my hands nourish my family. Canning is an art that seems to be on the upward trend. It’s exciting to see the traditional art capture some new attention.
I would LOVE to hear of your canning or other food preservation endeavors!