Jam making, jam making, and more jam making! Mix in some canning and I've been one busy girl! I bought bulk blueberries, cherries, tomatoes and pears from our produce co-op, Bountiful Baskets. Seriously they were unbeatable prices! I got 9 pounds of blueberries, 24 pounds of cherries, 24 pounds of tomatoes, and 36 pounds of pears.
Pear Jam...never had it but tried some out of the pot and it was de-licious!
I made 5 pints of blueberry jam (all of which have been given away or eaten), 4 pints of blueberry pie filling, 8 pints of cherry almond jam (3 have been given away), 5 pints of cherry pie filling, 9 quarts of marinara sauce, 2 pints of salsa (not pictured for whatever reason I forgot them in the pic), 8 pints of pear jam, 4 quarts of canned pears! And there are still about 1/4 of the pears left...
Did I mention somewhere along the way I was feeling like I had missed something...I totally did! Strawberries. I missed the amazing strawberry guy at the farmers market this year. Luckily they are on sale this week at Basha's for $0.99 a pound. All of our Basha's closed awhile back so I had Walmart price match it and was surprised at the quality of strawberries they had! I got 4 pounds and made 8 pints of strawberry jam as well!
The cherry was the most time consuming! These were raw cherries, that means not pitted or stemmed I had to do it all! Luckily my Step-Mom had given me this amazing little cherry pitter! I never knew there was such a thing but it made my job significantly easier and much more efficient. Even still I spent nearly 6 hours pitting and stemming these little suckers!
The blueberry was the easiest and tastiest so far. You don't have to seed, stem, skin, or pit blueberries! Just wash, mash and cook! SOOO delicious on pancakes. This was the first batch to be made so the first to set up and be given as gifts. We gave some to our local ACE Hardware because Ms. Christine orders me random things I want/need so I don't have to drive into town, our neighbor (who traded me some peach jam), my good friend Monica (Chloe's Momma from this post), we ate 2 and are finishing up our 3rd jar! Mmmmmm... Somewhere along the way we found out Belle is allergic to blueberries :( It only took 3 days of puking after breakfast for me to get the point!
This week we got 2 kilos of mangoes from the co-op and will be working on those as well as peaches. Which are on sale at Safeway this week! When I saw a kilo of mangoes I instantly thought of a kilo of drugs?! Huh? But no...a kilo basically equates to 5 pounds so we are getting 10 pounds of mangoes! I LOVE mangoes so much and so do the girls! I am looking forward to find new and exciting ways to use them.
I am by no means a canning expert I just read the Ball Blue Book of Canning and follow the directions. Seriously follow the directions! You do NOT want your food to spoil or your family to get sick along the way.
I really enjoy canning all of these things. Some people may not, it is time consuming and kind of warm. As you generally have at least 3 burners going in the kitchen. But not only are we saving money (as we will use this throughout the year), home canned foods are more nutritious have very few preservatives in them and you KNOW what is going into it. We are big on not doing processed foods or anything we cannot pronounce. I can pronounce sugar, water, pectin and fruit!
If you are lucky enough to have a Bountiful Basket co-op in your area you should really check it out! We started getting the baskets almost a year ago and have yet to be disappointed with the amount of produce we get each week for the price! You can check out some of the hauls on my good friend Alysa's blog InspiredRD as well as a bunch of fun nutritious recipes! Just scroll down a bit, she does a post every week on what we get in our baskets here in Arizona.
I think my hubby thinks I've gone a little coo coo :) Maybe so... but at least we'll be a well fed crazy family!
Thanks to my wonderful cousin who picked the book and pot up for me! She knew this would be right up my ally. And it definitely is!
Love and Hugs,