Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Canning, canning, canning

After a busy week of school, soccer games, dehydrating and canning; I'm a bit tired. Fall through early spring is truly the busy season for garden harvesting, pumpkin bread business and holidays here. For some reason every year it takes me by surprise!

We've gotten most of the gardens in, had plenty of rain and are now fighting the varmints and the chickens. Don't those chickens realize a third of the garden is for them? If they eat it now they'll never get to taste those big lovely collard leaves!

On the subject of chickens this is the first time that we've had almost our who crew molt at the same time. That means we have been getting less than 3 eggs a day from 12 girls in the past month or so. It's been a bit disappointing. We really use a lot of eggs here. I usually keep 4 dozen at all times in my refrigerator. Right now I' have about 8 eggs. I really don't want to buy eggs. Hopefully we are coming to the end. We have a lot of featherless hens out there and new feathers should be coming in soon... I pray.

Now back to canning. Here's what I put up this week:

15 quarts of pluot sauce
46 quarts of pears
10 quarts applesauce
4 quarts of apple butter
1/2 of a 5 gallon container of dried apple chips
( I planned on picture but my reader isn't reading.)

School Girl was a big help:)

This week I would like to make up about 12 quarts of chicken stock and pressure can them. I save the left over bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a BIG pot of stock. We tried this about six weeks ago and it was wonderful. It was also the first time I used the pressure canner that Urban Girl bought me for Christmas 2 years ago. What a savings this is! I'm still a little freaked out by it but that will dissipate with use. At least I hope so.

I'm also doing some MAJOR tweaking to my pantry. It is much needed since I'm doing more canning this year. I'm concerned my shelves are not strong enough to handle all those jars. Superman is looking at ways to reinforce them.

I still haven't gotten the perfect system worked out for us. I have even made a stock chart but have failed to check off items when they are used. I think this is going to take some more time. Maybe when I'm a bit less preoccupied.

This week is grocery week and I need to make my buying dollar s t r e t c h ! I've started buying more locally grown items and less organic. The shipping on organic produce is becoming outrageous. $5.45 for a 3 pound bag of apples! And that's a co-op price. Yikes! Pears are still on sale here for 66 cents a pound. Hence the reason for so many canned pears :0)

What great produce have you found? Trees are blessing, but they don't count in this question.
Julie