Friday, August 19, 2011

Frugal Friday

He that has a penny in his purse, is worth a penny: Have and you shall be esteemed. ~ Petronius
Harvest continues, and sweet corn season was at it's peak this past week for our area.  For those fields that received enough rain and didn't receive nightly raccoon visits, they were producing pure golden sunshine, all wrapped up in a cornhusk.

We husked 10 dozen ears of corn to produce 16 frozen quart bags of corn for this winter, plus we had a few good meals of fresh sweet corn!  Nothing says "Summer" like sweet corn and watermelon- unfortunately I can't seem to grow watermelon to save my life, so we will stick to the sweet corn!

On the corn, we do a quick steam blanch on the stove for 3 minutes, plunge the hot ears into the sink full of cold water, then let them cool.  I then take our electric knife and cut off the corn from the cob, scoop it into quart bags, and freeze it immediately.  The quicker you can get corn processed, the better, because the sugars begin turning into starch as soon as the ears are picked.  So to have sweet corn instead of starchy corn, I freeze them the same day it is picked.

The corn works out to cost around $1.67 a quart bag.  It would've cost less, if I hadn't had to purchase the corn this year.  (Mental note- we need to move the corn patch FAR AWAY from the cattle yard, so if the gate is left unhooked again next year......well, you know where this is going.)

I no sooner got done with the corn, that I noticed many tomatoes had turned red, so I began preparing for our first Tomato harvest of the summer.

Since I didn't have alot of time this week, with Fair activities and all, I went ahead and canned plain Tomato sauce and Chopped tomatoes.  Both are fast and easy to prepare.

After washing our tomatoes, we core them and throw them into the blender.  This is Camille's favorite part, as she likes to watch the "tornado" from the top of the blender.  (this is how I get help in the kitchen- turn it into a science project.)

We cook the tomato sauce so it is hot, then put it in jars with 1/2 tsp salt, and put it in a waterbath for 20 minutes.

The chopped tomatoes are also easy- I only use Roma tomatoes, and cut them into small pieces to be used as "chunk" tomotoes for chilis and stews.  They hold their shape nicely even during processing, so I grow alot of these.  Put the chunks into a jar, pour hot/almost boiling water over them, add 1/2 tsp salt, and process for 25 minutes.

tomatoe sauce (left) and chopped tomatoes (right)
It is so satisfying watching the canning room shelves begin to fill up with vegys, fruits, and jams.  I think it's a basic instinct to stock up before winter- must be the retro-pioneer woman in me. :-)