Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Before and After

We went out to Gallrein Farms this weekend, and picked up a bushel of Peaches and Cream corn and half a bushel of tomatoes, along with onions, peppers, and zucchini.  The corn got blanched and cut off the cob, the tomatoes, onions, and peppers went into making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  The zucchini is going into dinner tomorrow night as a saute.

From the bushel of corn, we got 10 freezer bags with 4 cups of corn apiece.  We were really impressed with the quality of the corn this year.  There were no bugs in any of the ears and all of the ears were full of very juicy kernels.

Here's what the spaghetti sauce looked like:

 Before:  Half a bushel of tomatoes, four bell peppers, and 5 onions
After:  7 quarts of spaghetti sauce made from the above, along with garlic, a little salt and sugar, and my own special recipe of 11 herbs and spices.  When I put all of the ingredients in the 16 quart roaster, it was within an inch of the top.  By the time it finished cooking, I got seven quarts plus a scant pint out of it.  And it is very yummy.  We made a meatless base for a couple of reasons.  First, if you put meat in it, you have to use a pressure canner instead of a water bath, and I'm not ready to mess with one of those yet.  Second, this will give us flexibility on what meat, if any, we pair this up with.

We probably didn't save much money by canning our own pasta sauce because we had to buy our tomatoes.  With me being down and Irish Woman having to carry the load for almost the entire month of July, the garden was pretty much left to its own devices.  Apparently this meant being taken over by milkweed.  Our neighbor grows tomatoes, but can't stand them (OK, I don't get it either), and has been bringing over bags of tomatoes every few days.  We're eating them fresh as much as we can, but I plan on either making some chili base and canning it or maybe just canning diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.  We're also making sure that the neighbor gets a portion of every meal we make with the produce he brings over.  

If we get time this weekend, we're going back out to get more corn and putting it up.  If we get through two or three bushels of corn, we can have enough fresh corn in the freezer to last us all winter for about 1/4 the cost of buying it at Kroger.  We also plan on buying a couple bushels of apples when they come into season and canning applesauce and apple butter.

Our goal is to have as much produce canned and frozen as possible.  Something tells me that prices have nowhere to go but up, and we'll be able to save a lot of money by already having our own supply of fruits and vegetables when the trucked-in fresh and frozen stuff goes through the roof.

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