Lately I have been concentrating on using my grocery delivery service to bring me items to add to my food storage. This week, in addition to the normal groceries I use like fresh fruits and vegetables, I ordered 6 lbs. of butter. Those, along with the 6 lbs. I had in my freezer, are waiting to be canned in half pint jars. The half pints are just right for everyday use for one person or maybe two, but I need to can some more in pint jars for when I need butter for baking. Thing is, I am low on pint jars. I may have to buy a few more cases of jars or wait until I empty more from my shelves. If you are a canner, you know that one can never have too many jars. :)
I had 2 bags of hash browns in my freezer, so I ordered 4 more. Those went on the dehydrator trays that were lined with the plastic mesh inserts to keep the little bits from falling through the trays. I like having the dehydrated hash browns on hand. They just need to be soaked in water for maybe 15 minutes, then drained and they are ready to fry or to use in casseroles.
Next were the frozen vegetables. This time I got 6 bags of broccoli and 6 bags of whole kernel corn. Dehydrating frozen vegetables is a snap. Just spread them out on the mesh lined trays and set the dehydrator temperature at 135 degrees. I did chop the broccoli into smaller pieces to use in soups or casseroles and so they would dry a little more quickly.
I ordered 10 lbs of russet potatoes. These I will be slicing thin using a mandolin, blanching the slices for 3 minutes and spreading them in a single layer on the trays. They are dried at the same temperature as the other vegetables. I use these mostly for scalloped potatoes. I find that cooking them in a crock pot works better for me than using the oven. My instructions for crockpot scalloped potatoes using dehydrated potatoes are here.
Sometimes I will re-can food, when it is less expensive to do so than it is to make it from scratch. This is true of sweet pickles. Because I can not raise my own cucumbers and have to buy them at the Farmer's Market, canning sweet pickles become somewhat pricey to make. I had 3 jars of sweet bread and butter pickles on the shelf from when I bought them on sale. The jars each contain 24 ounces of pickles, which is way more than I consume within several months. I ordered 3 more jars. I will be dumping the pickles and juice into a stock pot and heating them to near boiling. Then I will be packing the pickle slices and juice into half-pint jars and water bath canning them for 10 minutes. If you have to have a really crisp pickle this probably won't work for you as they soften up just a little bit in the process. I don't mind, so it works just fine for me and gives me jars of sweet pickles that get eaten soon after opening and don't live in my fridge for months on end.
We like the baby dill pickles too, and those cukes aren't so expensive, so we get them at the Farmer's Market. I use Mrs. Wage's dill pickle mix when canning those and they turn out absolutely delicious.
I need to spread the work over several day's time. If I don't, I am finding it takes this old body a couple of days to recover. I am not happy about that turn of events at this stage of my life, but there it is. So today I will deal with the butter and pickles and Monday will find me up to my elbows in potato slices.
Mama Pea over at " A Home Grown Journal" had a giveaway - and I was one of the winners!! She gave away two sets of potholders she made.
I appropriated the photo from her blog. I hope she doesn't mind. My camera battery gave out and I really wanted to show how pretty these potholders are. Mine are the top set. I admire anyone who does handmade. She makes some of the prettiest quilts and she knits socks and I don't know what all else. And there are posts about her homesteading experiences. I just love her blog.
And now I am off to work on the canning of butter and pickles. Hope your weekend is snow free and shows signs of spring. :)
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