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Friday, March 29, 2013

At what point..............?? you cross that line and go from being frugal and practicing the lost arts of canning and home gardening, etc. and venture into "prepper" territory??  I'm not overly worried, just questioning.  This only recently came to mind as I have placed an order for a few books on Amazon, including one that I've wanted for years, and one for my son's birthday....and one or two that have to do with making things from scratch - from homemade poptarts and butter to safe cleaners and the like.  SO.....made me wonder where that line is drawn.

I am slowly working to build up my supply of canning jars and am looking forward to making the next batch of jelly (with friends over so they can learn how to can) as well as pickles later in the summer....does that mean I'm now a "prepper" or does it mean I just like canning my own foods??  I think I'm still not considered a "prepper" because really, I don't have tons of things stockpiled away, and my only available space is:

That's it....2 small, 3-shelf units tucked into a closet in my workroom.  Now, there is the possibility of putting another long shelf (or 2) over these for more storage....this used to be a clothes closet when my workroom was the master bedroom of the house and there were 2 shelves installed along the back wall - one was removed because I had stacked 2 cabinets in the closet...but the cabinets are now out in my workroom for easier access, so it wouldn't be a problem to install another shelf...or 2 or 3 if  In fact, the braces are still in place for the one shelf I took out.

ANYWAY.....the top picture shows the salsa (minus the most recent, habanero,  batch) and right now it also holds the jelly.  I'm thinking I will keep that side reserved for pints...but I may end up dividing things up by content....not at that point yet.  The second picture has what is left of my last round of pickles and will need to be eaten soon or else gotten rid of - they were done in 2011....yes, this is currently the quart side.  I'm still working on how many of each size I need to do all the canning that I want to do.  DD is currently the only one on board with canning homemade fruit cocktail, fruits, applesauce, etc.  I don't think the guys really care as long as it's good and they can eat

Will be working out the canning schedule based on what's freshest when and will actually {gasp} plan it into our weekday schedule....they may even get a break from school work on those days (for those that don't know, my kids keep up with lessons over the summer...typically no more than an hour a day depending on how much they want to argue about it.  If they don't argue and just get it finished, it's less than 30 minutes.).  DD and I are already looking forward to getting out into an apple orchard and picking a variety of apples for sauce....not sure if DS will want to go with us or not, but we'll see....probably would make a good day for dad and son to do something and mom and daughter to do something else....

If anybody is still reading this after all my ramblings and variety of topics, I'd love to hear your canning projects and suggestions....I am limited by the fact that I can only do water-bath canning (no pressure canner allowed near the mom with ADHD) so I know that's mainly things like fruits and such...but still, always open to new recipes :-)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Getting back to my childhood "roots"

In my last post, I asked what people were doing to save money....and didn't get a response from anyone, which is fine.  But I thought I'd share what I've been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Last week, I made 2 different batches of salsa - 1 relatively mild (called "Mom's Salsa") and one with a few teaspoons of Frank's Hot Sauce added to it (called "Dad's Salsa").  My son helped me make Dad's and my daughter helped me make Mom's.  Unfortunately, DH really likes the salsa and has been going through about half a pint each time he snacks!  So, I guess I'll be making more in the near future.

This week - today, in fact - DD and I made grape jelly using unsweetened grape juice, pectin, and sugar.  We had 6 pints, but 2 didn't seal so they went directly to the fridge.  Apparently, they are better than store least that's what both children told me (DS made a PB&J sandwich using my jelly and DD had some on some of the homemade, unsalted tortilla chips that I also made today).

The jelly gave me a little more trouble than the salsa, but I think it's because I was a bit impatient to get it made and see how it  A bit sweeter than I''m  used to as it took 9 cups of sugar to 6 cups of juice and 12 Tablespoons of pectin....however, I've also been using low-sugar, store-bought jelly for a few years now, so this is actually probably close to what "normal" grape jelly tastes like...I guess I'll just have to use less now.

I have "grand plans" as to what I'll be canning this year, but I don't know how much I'll actually get to.  Things that have been added to the list of possibilities include: apples, oranges, pears, peaches, fruit cocktail, applesauce, spiced apple rings, apple pie filling, spaghetti sauce, more pickles (last done 2 years ago), maybe sauerkraut (BIG maybe), grapes....the list keeps getting added to and things keep getting taken off and replaced, but the bottom line is that I don't want to h ave to pay crazy prices when I want something that is out of season in the I'll can when things are fresh and I can have them all year long :-)

Next thing I want to try, though not canning, is homemade cheez-its...have a page bookmarked and ready to go, just need to go shopping and get ingredients....wish I had a food processor since that's what's used in the recipe, but the person who posted said that a blender could also be would just take a little longer to mix everything up....we shall see....