Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good morning, and blessings to you on this beautiful Sunday! Today I am going to continue on with my food preservation series. This year I had a friend who was gracious enough to let me garden with her as I did not have my spot ready at my house in town. We had a lot of success with some of our veggies but some not so good. We were very disappointed that our green beans did not do well. We planted them twice and they just did not come up, after a 3rd planting we got plants. This is the produce I got in one day picking. I will be showing how I put up all those lovely green peppers...
Peppers are one of the easiest things to freeze. You don't have to blanch them, so basically I just clean them and cut them up however I want. Then I put them in whatever container I want to freeze them in. This year I chose to use my Food Saver, and chopped some of the peppers and cut some into strips. I put about 1/2 cup of the chopped peppers in each before I sealed it. This is what most of my cooked recipes call for, and I did about 1 1/2 cups of the strips for stir fry and pepper steak. 
This time around I ended up with about 10 packages of peppers. I had harvested peppers another time and got about the same amount. I feel pretty set for the winter now. Next came the green beans. There weren't very many so I froze this batch of green beans as I like frozen beans for soups. I freeze green beans basically the same as corn. So if you read that post this might seem repetitive. Here is what I started with.(Sorry for the blurry picture)
Then I had to blanch them. I blanch green beans for 2 minutes. The same as corn, start timing after you put the beans in the water and they come to a boil. 

Then put them into an ice water bath, for the same amount of time. This will stop them from cooking and retain the nutrients in them. I did this for another 2 minutes.
When the beans were done cooling I put them in Ziploc freezer bags and labeled them. I used 3 cups in each bag as we use a lot of beans and my whole family likes them as a side dish. Add a little bacon and onions when you cook them, mmmm! We LOVE green beans!
So I ended up with 7 packages, and that should do nicely. I also canned some from another source and will tell you about that later. I am off to clean my back porch, have a great day everyone.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I have decided to do a little series of posts on gathering and preserving foods on a budget or when you are low on funds. If you want to put up or preserve food and do not have garden space to grow your own or money to purchase it you still can. I have been able to put up quite a bit of food this summer and most of it I got for only my physical effort, and a little research. In the town I live in our power company owns quite a bit of land. As a tax right off they grow eating corn, Bodacious corn, as a matter of fact. Then they give it away! There is a limit of 10 ears per house hold and with mine and my boyfriend's households that was 20 free ears of corn. So I decided to do a picture tutorial showing how I froze the corn. So lets get started...
First things was to get a large pot of water boiling for use later. You also need to make sure you have quite a bit of ice. I have a counter top ice maker because we use a ton of ice. You need about as much as comes in a bag from the store so if you have several ice trays that would work too. Then shuck all the corn, and I use a small vegetable brush to clean off all the little hairs. Then I rinsed it off well.
This what I ended up with. Then I cut my ears into smaller pieces. This helps with getting a better seal with my food sealer I have. So then here is what I had...
Next the corn has to be blanched, which means to put it into boiling water. I blanched it for 7 minutes. So at this point I put the corn in the boiling water. You only want to put in enough that the water will start to boil again within a minute. You then start timing your blanching time when the water returns to a boil. I put in half the corn at a time, so in two batches.

When my timer went off I then removed the corn from the water (I kept the water boiling for the next batch), and put it in a sink of water with half the ice in it. The corn has to be cooled down quickly to stop it from cooking. This preserves the flavor and nutrients in the corn. It should stay in the ice water for as long as you blanched it. So I left mine for 7 minutes. Next is putting it into whatever you will be freezing it in.

I used my Food Saver sealer for the corn. I purchased my food sealer at a garage sale, and happened to have some of the bags left to seal in. I have since priced them at our local discount store and even on sale they are VERY expensive so I am not sure if I will continue to use them or switch to Ziploc bags again. I love the beautiful air tight seal I get with it, but we will see.
So here is what I ended up with. I got 5 meals worth of corn out of my 20 free ears. Come January or February fresh tasting corn on the cob will be quit a treat! And that is how I froze corn on the cob this year.
Hello, and welcome to my blog. This is my first post here and I am glad you stopped by to read it. I have blogged in the past, but when I had to move away from my country home and take a job as a finance executive, I gave up a little and quit posting. I learned from that experience that this is the only life for me, and I will do whatever I have to to stay right here in my little valley where I belong. As my profile says I am a busy mom of 3 children, 2 at home. I love all things simple and country and that is what you will find here. I will be sharing my journey with you from living in the middle of town to someday moving out onto my own off grid homestead. For now I will continue to homestead from my little house in town. I will post about canning, baking/cooking and crocheting/knitting, and gardening. I will post about the beautiful area that I am fortunate enough to live in, and share my life and my families lives with you. It will not always be perfect, but it I promise it will always be real.