Yesterday I spent the day being a food hoarder. My Mother had once again brought me home some wonderful Amish produce straight from their farm! There was so much of it I had to start processing it since there was no way we could eat it all before it went bad, and now that I am learning how to can, it was perfect!
I started with preparing blueberries to freeze since I already had an abundance of blueberry jam. Oh and the thought of farm fresh blueberries in the middle of winter is mouth watering. Simply arrange the berries on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until frozen. Then package in ziplock freezer bags removing as much air as possible, label with date and you’re done!!
Next I decided I wanted to do the same with the sweet corn since my family eats a lot of corn! This is where the gardening tip comes in, To freeze corn, you first must blanche it on the cob for 7 minutes. Once the 7 minutes are up immediately give it an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. A general rule with this is, blanche 7 minutes, cool 7 minutes in the ice water bath. I then cut the corn off the cob. I had absolutely no waste of anything with this process! The corn goes into my freezer to feed my family. The cob goes into the freezer to give to the chickens this winter. *Note* DO NOT give chickens corn in the hot summer months because it warms them up too much, remember it’s hard for them to digest corn just like it is for us. It’s a great treat to give chickens in the winter months for this reason. Now for that gardening tip, the water that was used to blanche (boil) the corn in is filled with wonderful beneficial nutrients for your garden! Once it’s cooled, use it to water your plants and gardens, same with the ice water bath water! You can do this with any water that was used to boil or steam fruits or veggies in! Where we live, we have to pay for water and it gets EXPENSIVE! So whenever possible I try to reuse and recycle it.
My next canning adventure was making peach preserves with all the yummy peaches I had! I had never done this before and wasn’t sure it was working at first, because I couldn’t understand how sliced peaches, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 6 tablespoons of pectin were going to be able to come to a boil, but low and behold, it did! The end result was delicious!
Today, I will process some of Michigan’s finest cherries (our state is well known for our cherries.) I’m thinking I will freeze them as well, I mean, who wouldn’t love fresh from the tree cherries in the dead of winter! I will also process green beans and tomatoes! I see sauce in the very near future!
Another TIP whenever you’re working in the kitchen and have scrapes, especially fruits or veggies, consider doing what I do in these hot summer months. I freeze them for the chickens! These frozen scrapes make wonderful treats for your hot chickens and it helps to keep them cool too! Be sure to label the chicken food though so no one thinks you’re crazy when they find all the eaten off of watermelon rinds:)