Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Monday, November 05, 2007

Canning, Preserving, and Getting Old

The book pictured above has got to be one of THE BEST canning books I've ever taken the time to crack open. If you've ever wondered how to can, or wanted some great new recipes or things to can, get this book. A friend of mine bought this for me for my birthday, and it's one of the best gifts I received. In fact, DH made fun of me once because I was reading through it like a novel. Literally every word on every page.

For whatever reason, the idea of canning and preserving fascinates me. Probably for the "you can do that?!" factor. The idea of having food you made yourself tucked away for a rainy day or for gift ideas makes me giddy. I'm sure a lot of it stems from the fact that my children eat PB&J on a daily basis. I mix things up a bit here and there, but for the most part, I'm darn thankful none of my spawn have a peanut allergy. So making my own jam appeals to me, because my family goes through it by the bucketload.

Especially now, when I've been trying to back off cereal every morning for my kids' breakfast, as an 8oz box costs like $5.00 now, and if you're lucky, you can find a gallon of milk for under $3.00. Family of four, 365 mornings a year - you do the math. GACK! So I've been playing with other breakfast foods, from toast to English muffins to Eggo waffles to oatmeal, instant AND old skool. Problem is, most all of the above takes - you guessed it - jam.

You see, my DH hates the corn syrupy...syrup. He must have pure maple syrup. Problem is, I gotta sell a kidney on the black market to buy a big jug of it. Ain't no way I can afford to let the kids slop on the "good stuff" for their Eggos every morning. And I simply cannot justify buying Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworths, not necessarily due to my husband's severe aversion, but to horrid flashbacks of my own childhood. LOL Not a pretty sight. Where was I? Oh yes. So the kids put jam on their waffles along with their toast and muffins. Not so much in the oatmeal, however, I don't think that would suck...

My point is, being able to make my own jam kicks @$$. And not just any ol' "jam". Strawberry*blah* *grape*blah*... I found this awesome recipe in the book pictured above for something called "Bumbleberry Jam", a mix of strawberry, raspberry, & blueberry, which I'm going to make this week. I'll let you know if it's any good. It even says you can make jam with frozen fruit, not just strictly fresh fruit, like your grandma would like you to think. Probably doesn't taste freshly picked off the tree and/or vine, but WTH, it's going into winter, folks, and my canning craze didn't end on the last day of summer.

Top this all off with the fact that I now desperately want a food dehydrator for Christmas. One of our friends came over with a bag of homemade jerky and Oh. My. Gawd. That stuff was the shizzy! And just think of everything you could do besides jerky, you could dry your own fruits and have healthy fruit chips or raisins or any ol' thing you could dry out and eat! :P

I think a lot of this "do it yourself" mentality comes from wanting to save some money as well. I mean, a lot of this stuff is infinitely cheaper than the grocery store-bought items, especially any jerky you might make. The meat alone you can buy in the meat department and have umpteen batches for what you pay for one bag of jerky. What are they, like $6.99 these days? Not to mention how expensive are banana chips? Like $3.50 a bag that holds "maybe" three bananas worth of chips? I can get like two or three bunches of bananas for that price. Probably even cheaper if I go to Costco.

And before I end this post, I've just gotta say that my hands are killing me. Literally. I'm dying. They've been hurting since yesterday, along with a few aches and pains in the joint areas I've hurt over the years. Especially the arch of my left foot. What's up with that? I don't think I ever injured that foot... lol But my hands, dear Gawd... In another 33 years, my body is going to HATE me. *sob* There's no doubt in my mind I'm going to get carpal tunnel and arthritis.

Better write all my books NOW, while I still can. lol



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