Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Canning Season Starts ~ Strawberries ~ Random Tidbits

Ideally, if we don't get any of one vegetable or fruit, we just do without.   However, we picked up 12 quarts of strawberries.  I took care of six quarts yesterday, but only canned jam once.  Many went into the freezer.

 (my hand crocheted placemats work great for cooling jams/jellies)

It takes a teensy bit of an over-filled quart of strawberries to can 4 - half pints of jam (reduced sugar).  And it takes quite a bit of time to prepare the strawberries.  I'll be canning again today.  I need to weed in the big garden today, so I hope the rain holds off.  So much to do, in such little time. Which reminds me, I need to delegate removing dried thyme into the jar and cut more.

I took an inventory on our jams and jellies.  We are completely out of peach and blueberry jam, very low on pear, and have only a few of grape.  I am not sure if I want to can Carmel Apple Jam again, but I would like more Cantaloupe Vanilla Jam.  

I'm told by our 18 year-old that she does not need any jam while she is in college. She'll have a meal card, and she does "want any."  I find this odd, as she is the one who devoured our peach jam supply this year.  Well, that makes restocking easier, but I'll still need extra to ship to Son.  Oldest Daughter never did like jelly/jam from a very early age.  I told Hubby if his family asks for any jam this year, it has a high price this time ($6.00/half pint).  He replied, "no, we just don't have any."  That makes restocking much easier.

I am pretty happy with the organic pest spray for my vegetable garden.  It's working so far, and I have either zero or very few bugs chewing through the leaves.  That is a relief.

I took a quick walk to check on the wild black raspberries, and they are starting to show on the bushes.  The rain has helped them a lot this year.   We typically do not get enough of these to freeze.  They are wild, so they are small, and completely depend on mother nature.  We are down to only one jar of this jam too.  I see the mulberries are on the tree, but the birds get them all before I do.  I gave up on canning that jam.

It's getting pretty humid and hot again, and canning in an apron is not comfortable.  We do not have central air, but we do have a unit to put in the window.  We have not turned it on just yet, to keep the electric bill down.  We put a bit fan up, to help circulate the air.


Mama Pea said...

Wa-HOO! Let the canning begin! We've found we don't eat NEARLY as much jam as we used to. I guess our bodies don't like as much sweet stuff as before. Well, our heads still want the sugar but our bodies do not benefit from it! I'm the only one who likes raspberry jam, strawberry is hubby's favorite and we prefer our blueberries in smoothies when we don't have them fresh. I'd love to have some peach jam but organic ones are so pricey that a half-pint of jam would cost me about $25!!

I just came in from trying to work in the garden. Black flies (again!) drove me in. Our forecast says sunny today but so far it's very overcast . . . which the bugs seem to love.

Sam I Am...... said...

Strawberries! You are amazing with that you get done that caramel apple and cantaloupe vanilla sounds yummy! Stay cool and so glad your garden is doing so well and the bugs are staying away from it!

Unknown said...

I do jam on a much smaller scale, since we don't use much, but I LOVE peach jam! I'd found some local peaches 2 years ago, dead ripe, and made jam. Never found any more. I wish I had room for strawberries, but I may go vertical! When your kids start moving out, it does make for less food needs. I had to learn to cook all over again, with just 2 of us :) Good luck with the heat. Having Ac during my canning times (outside) is a good break...

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Mama Pea, we love cold smoothies in the hot summer, and I do like to make the kids strawberry/blueberry muffins for school snacks. We would love to make homemade strawberry ice cream, but we really have cut back on the sweets (with Hubby's sugar issues). We do use the jam on waffles and pancakes vs. maple syrup (the real syrup is so pricy). I've love to can strawberry syrup one year, just to taste it on pancakes or waffles.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Sam I am, the Carmel apple is a bit more work, but tasty. We only get a small window of time for strawberries, so today's the day to finish the jam. It's raining out anyway, so I can't get in my garden.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Nancy, we found peaches about two years ago too. I have not found any since then. I have a peach tree planted, but no fruit just yet. I hope to get pears on our trees this year.

Susan said...

Your daughter may change her mind once she's in school and finds out how great the food was at home, versus what they get in college. Since having to go gluten free, my jam/jelly consumption is way down. I have been known to eat it by the spoonful, though... Your strawberries look wonderful~!

Lisa B said...

Kristina, The children who like jam/jellies have flown the coop. LN doesn't like it and S has diabetes. He sneaks it anyhow so I quit making most of them except strawberry jam which I like the most. The canning season will erupt quickly here too.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Susan, she already asked for more peach jam yesterday, ha ha!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

Lisa, Hubby and I love a PB & J every once in a while, so I do like to keep it on hand. And of course on breakfast toast when we have it with eggs.

RB said...

We've had our A/C on for days, it's been close to the 90s and is suppose to be that hot and even hotter the next few days. Yuck!!!
Luckily where we live, we have large trees and plenty of shade, and often a nice breeze too. Thank God!!!
God bless.

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

RB, as of today, we still don't have AC on. Maybe this weekend we'll get it all going.