A couple of days ago Son came home with one of those packages containing two large bags of cheese sauce. What he thought he had was the flavored cheese for nachos. What he got was plain cheddar cheese sauce, which he discovered with the first bite. We can't eat up one of those bags full, so I decided to can them. It is something I have been wanting to try and this was a good opportunity.
So early this morning I dumped the cheese into a kettle and heated it until it was hot all the way through. Then I ladled it into half pint jars, wiped the rims with a vinegar soaked paper towel to remove any residue and oils and added the lids and rings. It was processed for 60 minutes in a water bath canner. All 12 jars sealed. One day next week I will make some mac and cheese for lunch to test how it turned out. If I like it, I may can more.
As long as the kitchen was already warm, I decided I might just as well keep going, rather than heat it up a second day. I had 10 bags of frozen peas and 9 bags of frozen corn languishing in my freezer, taking up space. I spread the corn on dehydrator trays and set them to drying. Corn is a vegetable that will rehydrate right back to where you can't tell it was ever dried. And ground, it makes wonderful cornbread.
I dumped the peas into a stock pot, covered them with water and set them to heating on the stove. I didn't want to cook them - just thaw them out and heat them through. That done I ladled them into half pint jars, covering them with the water I heated them in and got 24 of them going in the pressure canner. I have another 18 half pints to go in the next load.
Most of the companies that process frozen vegetables have not raised their sale prices. I got these for $1 a bag. What they have done is put 14.5 oz. in each bag rather than the 16 oz. each bag contained previously. Sneaky buggers.
So why bother to can frozen vegetables, you ask? I'll tell you. At present there are only two people in this household. After a time there will be only one. A half pint of any vegetable is enough for a meal, even with two people. Vegetables keep longer canned in jars. If water is at a premium, there is enough liquid in each jar to use when heating for a meal. I have a small chest freezer. I have no room for a larger or a second freezer and I would rather use the freezer space for meat or things other than vegetables.
And yes, I know all about the scary GMO foods. But I have no way to grow my own, much as I would prefer to obtain vegetables that way. So I do the best I can within my budget. And if a person is really, really hungry, I sort of doubt whether they would turn down peas or corn that wasn't grown organically from heritage seeds. In times of famine, people have eaten worse.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I think I had better keep at it and get as much done in as short a time possible. There is a feeling in the air similar to waiting for the other shoe to drop. The world around us seems to have lost its collective mind and I want to make sure I am as ready as I can be for whatever is waiting for us just over the next hill. Whatever it is, it ain't gonna be good.
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