LEARN TO CAN- Okay, so you aren't to the point yet where you are willing to take on pressure canning. I realize that. It will come in time. There are so many things you can put up in jars with just a deep pot, jars lids, rings, and water! You can make jams, jellies, fruit butters, salsa, tomatoes, tomatoes sauces(without meats), pickles of many types, peppers, apples sauce, or canned fruit. That is an awesome beginning. The sound of the little "ping" as a jar seals successfully is music to my ears. My kids laugh at me cause they can hear me through out the house as I count off each jar as it pings. Canning frees up freezer space for other items like meats and dairy on sale. If you grown your own tomatoes and peppers then salsa is cheap cheap to make. It is also awesome. I will include my recipe here:
10 CUPS CHOPPED, SEEDED ROMA TOMATOES about 6 lbs(I like Romas cause they have less water and seeds and are a little sweeter. I also don't peel my tomatoes cause you lose alot of the nutrients that way)
5 CUPS CHOPPED AND SEEDED GREEN BELL PEPPERS about 2 lbs
5 CUPS CHOPPED ONIONS about 1 1/2 lbs (use the food processor you will thank me)
2 1/2 CUPS CHOPPED SEEDED HOT PEPPERS about 1 lb
1 1/2 CUPS CIDER VINEGAR
3 CLOVES GARLIC, MINCED
2 TBS CHOPPED FRESH CILANTRO
1 CAN TOMATO PASTE
1 TBS CUMIN
3 TSP SALT
1 TSP HOT SAUCE (OPTIONAL IF YOU WANT IT REALLY HOT)
COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS IN A LARGE POT, ADDING HOT PEPPERS SAUCE IF DESIRED. BRING MIXTURE TO A BOIL. REDUCE HEAT AND SIMMER 10 MINUTES. LADLE HOT SAUCE INTO HOT JARS, LEAVING 1/4 IN HEAD SPACE. WIPE RIMS AND PLACE LIDS THEN RINGS. PROCESS 15 MINUTES IN A BOILING-WATER CANNER. YEILD IS 6-7 PINTS.
*when chopping hot peppers be sure to wear gloves. You will regret it if you don't especially if you touch your eyes. Trust me on this. I have had this happen before. Fun!
So guys you will forgive me please if I use all caps to post my recipes. I am lazy and hate to have to use my grammer tabs more than I have to. My dh is worse than me he posts in all caps all the time. At least I only do it when I am posting a recipe. Plus I find all caps helps me in reading a recipe cause my eyesite tends to be going. Either that or my arms are shrinking. Anybody get that joke? Anyone, anyone?
Anyway, back to canning. I know to buy jars tends to be costly, but first of all you can look at it as an investment because you will use these jars every season. In addition, there are ways of saving on jars. 1) buy at the end of the season if you find them on clearence. This does happen periodically but not consistently. 2) whenever you are at a thrift store or yard sale, look around for these. You can usually find one or two. I am always on the lookout for jars. Estate sales are a great resource for canning jars. I got jars for .25 a piece this summer at an estate sale; about 48 pint size jars. 3) Let your needs be known. Let people around you know you are wanting to start canning and need jars. Someone who no longer can do it may have the jars you need. Rings can be used more than once as well so save them when you remove them from a jar when you store it. Lids however have to be bought each time. I have tried to reuse lids, but only on items that are water bath canned. I do not reuse lids that were previously on meat jars. I do not reccommend reusing lids for anyone else. I chose to try this for my own needs, but it is a personal decision. Most county extension offices will tell you DO NOT REUSE LIDS. Okay there is my disclaimer. So there is my wrap up of part three in black belt grocery savings. I hope this is helpful. Have a great day guys!