Several times a year, I like to go to our local Restaurant Supply grocery to stock up....last week was one of those times. At this one, you do have to show proof of a business license to get the pass to get in. We got a business license several years ago when we were doing some catering at church, family reunions, weddings etc.
Amy and I braved the store by ourselves this time ~ first time without Greg along. We bought lots of goodies ~ boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1.13 a pound!), 1/2 is frozen and 1/2 will be canned: small red kidney beans, that will be canned; large box of sweet potatoes to be canned; #10 cans of tomato sauce for spaghetti dinners, large rolls of ground beef that were split into 2 pound packs and frozen, large bags of cocoa and powdered milk for my hot chocolate mix; blocks of butter for our butter dishes, we cut them into sticks); large blocks of gouda, mozzarella and Mexican melty cheese, the gouda per pound was less than 1/2 what the grocery store would be; a gigantic bag of pepperoni slices to be split into packs and frozen for pizzas; a deli ham to be sliced for dinner pieces, pizza fixings, sandwiches & omelets; a pork loin that can serve use at least 3 dinners and leftovers; and Amy got cupcake boxes and inserts for the boxes.
I opened the bag of kidney beans and have filled 2 1/2 large plastic juice bottles with them ~ awaiting the time they will be canned. I read years ago that you can put dried bay leaves in the bottles, add the beans and screw the tops on. Bugs or rodents won't get into them because of the bay leaves. I've done this for 7 or 8 years and never had a problem with pests in them, so the bay leaves are working! I used to soak the beans overnight and then can them....but I read on my pantry site on facebook how folks are canning them without soaking first. They are putting 1 cup of dried beans in a quart jar or 1/2 cup in a pint jar and then filling the jars with boiling water, then canning. I've tried it once and it worked great. That's what I am going to do again today ~ this time I am pushing the limits a little and canning 1 1/4 cups per quart jar to, I'll report on how that works later.
The cheese will be sliced into pound packages and frozen till needed. One pound of mozzarella will be used per "make your own" pizza nights. The melty cheese will get sliced into thick slices and frozen 4 or 5 slices to a pack. This is great for enchiladas, quesidillas, nacho's, etc. The gouda is all for Greg, I much prefer to snack on cheddar but he likes to be adventurous with cheese snacking. It was a good deal, he has a lot to snack on!
The #10 can of tomato sauce = 1 gallon. I usually make spaghetti sauce a gallon at a time. We love spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce to use at other times. It can be put in a casserole or used for pizza sauce or whatever you can think of.
The sweet potatoes will be peeled and cut into chunks and canned. Greg, Will and I love them and not a potato will go to waste....and if it does, the chickens will eat them!
Thanksful for ~
a business license
Jars, lids and rings for canning
a friend who taught me how to pressure can (Thanks Marie)
great advice online
My favorite canning book was published by University of Georgia ~ "So Easy to Preserve" ~ its very detailed and explains thoroughly the processes.