Saturday, January 31, 2009

Raising and storing food...cheaper and better!!!

Even though it is still winter with lots of snow on the ground in beautiful North Idaho, Terry and I have been scouring over the seed catalogs, gardening books, etc. and making a plan. I always tell the kids, "Fail to plan, Plan to fail". So we are modeling that lesson by planning out this year's garden. I am sure we aren't alone in this endeavor as grocery prices skyrocket. We were gifted a wonderful gardening book for Christmas by our dear friend Ligeia. It is an awesome read and has lots of really good direction and info for those gardening in the northern climates. The book recommended several seed companies who specialize in colder climate and short growing season seeds. We have made our list and drawn a schmatic and are dreaming away of fresh grown and harvested fruits and vegetables.

But since it isn't gardening season yet, you may say there isn't anything you could be canning or storing away currently. Winter is a perfect time to be canning dried beans. I use many dried beans both alone with cornbread and also in soups and other recipes. Beans can sometimes take forever to cook, or so it feels, with the sorting, washing, soaking, rewashing, and cooking. I work full-time outside the home so anything that makes getting dinner to the table quicker is a must-have in my book. Imagine have your own canned beans cheaper, quicker, and ready to take out of the pantry and use. So this weekend, I added canning beans onto my To-DO List. I canned 4 quarts of great northern white beans and currently have a big pot of black beans boiling away. If anyone needs specific info on how-to can dry beans, send me an email or a comment and I'll do my best to share.

While in the kitchen working on my canning, I kept hearing "I'm hungry". I whipped up three pans of cinnamon rolls, also using Sally's recipe. Topped off with bagged cream-cheese icing purchased from the Amish Farm to Market store. I don't know about your family but our family can eat several cinnamon rolls each and that can add up to quite the expense when there are only eight rolls to the can for $2-3 dollars each. We could easily spend $10 on cinnamon rolls and they wouldn't be nearly as good. I don't know how much these home-made rolls tallied, but I would guess between $1-2 for the three pans. Obviously this isn't an every morning breakfast because everyone is rushing to get out the door, but the weekends are just right to make this investment of time and energy in your family.
Make today a good day - invest in yourself and your family. You won't be sorry you did!!!


Baker said...

For awhile now we have made our own pizza and you would not believe how much it saves versus ordering delivery. For as long as we've made our own pizza we've also made our own pizza sauce and more recently our own enchilada sauce from canned tomato sauce. We went to Costco this weekend to buy more tomato sauce. I usually buy the 12 pack of 16oz cans, but when I compared the price it seemed crazy! Instead I bought two #10 cans and made a large batch of pizza sauce and enchilada sauce. I ended up with 7 pints of each. I would LOVE to learn how to can my own beans! We use a lot of garbanzo beans for hummus and veggie dip in the summer, black beans year round, and kidney beans for chili and soups. Do tell!! :)

Kelli said...

You have to have a pressure canner. Do you have one? I bought mine second-hand off Craigslist last year and then another friend gave me one. It needs the gasket and gauge replaced and that is on my list before major canning season. Soak the beans (whatever kind)for 18-24 hours. Rinse very well. If you discard the soaking water, the beans don't give you gas...Then cook the beans until tender and ready to eat. Hot pack them into jars. We use quart jars because of our family size but you can use pints, too. Can at 10# pressure for 75 minutes for quarts and 60 min for @ 10# pressure for pints. If you need more info, just call me. Don't be afraid of the canner, it is the frugal's friend.

The Bakers said...

I was so excited and gung-ho about canning black beans this weekend, until I read that I need a pressure canner! No, I do not have one. I don't have a water bath canner yet either, but have been fortunate to be able to borrow one freely. Would you mind keeping your eye out for a bargain on either one for me? I'd be very grateful! I have several jars that I have purchased and made Christmas gifts with this past year, but one of my co-workers brought me two boxes of pints and 8oz jelly jars! I'm so excited to fill them! Now... what to fill them with? :)