Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Waste Not Want Not

Hi De Ho there Peeps!!!

Just dropping in to say hello and show you what's been occupying my time lately.

That's 16 quarts of tomatoes, 2 pints of cinnamon applesauce, 4 quarts of marinara sauce canned and in the pantry. There was another ¾ pint of cinnamon applesauce and 24 oz jar of salsa that went into the refrigerator.   Then I added about 5 jelly jars of mandarin orange marmalade to the mix. 

We specifically bought the tomatoes from Bountiful Baskets to can.
I did a post awhile back about canning tomatoes and you can view it right here.  The best source for canning questions is always the Ball website and the link to tomatoes can be found here.

One additional tidbit of information that makes for great canning discussion,  I do not peel my tomatoes any longer.   I am fortunate enough to have a Vitamix blender and I have found that I can quarter my tomatoes, toss about 3 or 4 in the blender then pulse them until they get to the consistency I like and then dump them in a big stock pot until I get enough for a batch to cook.  The prep time for this process is more manageable, I use all the tomato (except the core) and while I enjoy having company in the kitchen on big canning projects using the blender makes it a manageable one person job.  

After doing 16 quarts of tomatoes  I decided to venture out and cook up a few batches of marinara sauce and can those as well.   I've never done marinara sauce this way so hopefully it'll taste awesome and we can free up the freezer space for other things coming this summer. 

In case you wondered you can get the recipe for the marinara sauce here but I'm also gonna give you a few modifications I've made over time.  

Instead of 1 can of crushed tomatoes I use a qt. jar of my canned tomatoes.
I also toss in a small can of tomato paste and a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes.
When I decided to can the marinara I made sure to toss in each jar some citric acid, the same measurement for a qt. of tomatoes.  

The applesauce was done because I had a bunch of apples that were about to go bad on me.  I absolutely detest throwing out food so while I was working on the tomatoes I decided to toss those in the crock pot and make some applesauce.  
If you are interested in doing something with your apples I used this recipe.  I adjusted the amounts to the quantity of apples I had on hand.  While the recipe I used indicates it is for apple butter, I just cooked the apples until they were pretty mushy and then used the immersion blender to get the applesauce to my preferred consistency.   Then I processed them in pint jars in the water bath canner for 10 minutes.  

On the whole issue of throwing out food, that's how the Mandarin Marmalade happened.  I also happened to have purchased a large box of the Halo mandarins from Sam's Club a few weeks back and they weren't the best we've had and there they were just staring at me so off to the internets I go and I found this recipe to use.   

We don't eat much in the way of jams or jellies in this house but at least it is preserved and I didn't have to toss it out.  That's a WINNER in my book!   

I did scour Pinterest and found more than a few recipes that use orange marmalade.  I'm thinking of trying my hand at some orange chicken, orange marmalade cake, orange muffins with a marmalade center, orange marmalade BBQ sauce for meatballs.  I think I'll have no trouble using that marmalade after all!!!

Not to mention it sure looks pretty on the windowsill. 

Now this morning I'm getting an egg out of the refrigerator and something smells "off".   I remembered I had bought a big bag of spinach for smoothies and it was beginning to get that I'm going bad smell.   Off to the world wide web systems I go again and I find where I can just dump all that spinach in the Vitamix blender and basically juice it smooth.  Poured it into ice cube trays and into the freezer it went.   When it is good and frozen I'll pop them out of the trays and into a plastic bag and throw it on the shelf in the freezer with the other cut up frozen fruits for smoothies.   Honestly I think maybe from now on I'll just do this when I get one of those big bags of spinach!

I also had 2 very large heads of broccoli that was about to get a little too limp to revive so I cut it up and roasted it.  I bragged on Instagram that I didn't have to share it.   Jokes on me!!!!  For gastro intestinal reasons we shall not go into, I don't recommend eating that much broccoli alone and in one sitting!!!     

What about you guys?  How do you keep from tossing out perfectly good food? 
Do you buy things in bulk and put it up for use in the off season?   I'd love to hear how your family deals with excess produce. 

I'm off to start painting and hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with the painting I've done so far and the progress on the next room I'm tackling!

Peace, Love & Preservation!

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