Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recycling Jars



I get many emails a year from people amazed at the amount of food I preserve each year. It seems like a huge amount of food for a family of 3. What many do not realize is that we eat out of that pantry and those freezers almost every single day. Many times 3 meals a day. Very rarely does a day go by that I don't cook something out of my pantry. Once those jars are emptied they are washed and recycled when possible. I learned long ago that it takes the same amount of storage space for a full jar as it does an empty one. So why not refill that jar before you put it back on that pantry shelf. Now I may not always have enough produce but you would be surprised during the winter months what can be put into your empty jars. 


For me this week it was beans! Just plain old pinto beans. These were purchased dry and cost me $8.88 for an 8 pound bag at the supermarket. They will become the makings of chilli, taco soups, refried beans and casseroles over the next few months. 


That 8 pound bag became 14 quarts and 6 pints of canned beans.  Sure beats buying those little cans of beans at the grocer. So while the snow is blowing I am still canning and restocking my pantry.  


You can find a tutorial on canning beans at the page below



Look around every time you go to the supermarket or get a sales flyer for anything on sale. Carrots are usually marked down this time of year and make great additions to the pantry. Also remember for those of you with a dehydrator that they dry wonderfully and make great additions to soups and baked goods. 


Don't forget that citrus sale around the holidays. I love canned grapefruit in a very light syrup. Try adding oranges and throw in a few cherries for a citrus combo. 


Lemon and orange peelings soaked in vodka make a great lemon extract for baking. 


My excess fruit is frozen  many times when it is coming in faster than I can process it. Once winter sets in is a great time to pull that fruit back out and make an extra batch of jam or jelly for those peanut butter sandwiches or as a filling between layer cakes.


And what goes on sale for St. Patricks Day? Cabbage....

A batch of coleslaw or freezer slaw has been known to happen around that time to get us through the cold weather if we are running low. 


Potatoes in jars also make great fillers and tend to go on sale around St. Patrick's Day as well. 


Or try dehydrating them. They make a great casserole


Rehydrate those potatoes and add some of that leftover Easter ham for a great potato casserole. 

And perhaps the most useful suggestion of all. I have begun filling empty spaces in my canner when I don't enough of something for a whole cooking with jars of water and reusing old lids to store water. I process the jars of water along with my jars of food. Believe it or not I have not lost one lid. I keep this water on hand in case of a pipe break or such. If I lose the seal nothing lost as I will just water the plants with it. It's a great way to use up those old lids. Fill your jars with something and have water in emergency situations. If you need the jars later simply dump them and use for cooking, washing dishes etc. 

Hope this gives everyone some useful ideas!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 


25 comments:

  1. Thanks for your canning tidbits. I don't do much kitchen duty these days, but it is certainly educational to read about and learn how you cut corners and fill them full of goodness.

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  2. This is a good reminder that canning can be year round not just at harvest.

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  3. This is why I love your blog. Thanks so much for these tips!

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  4. I started canning extra jars of water this recent fall, after I moved into an area with frequent water main breaks. I've been really thankful to have them on hand this winter, and have found myself wishing I had more of them!

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    1. In the winter we always have instances where water mains freeze and even in the summer it is not unusual to have a boil order imposed seceral times a year. It is always nice not to have to go buy jugged water.

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  5. Great information, as usual CQ!

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  6. I am one of the lurkers here that doesn't normally comment. I usually read your post on my e-mail and don't click over to your site. But this post is great and one of the reasons I love your blog so much! You inspire me to live the life I want and show me ways to help me along. Thank you! Darlene

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  7. Thank you so much for all the information you share. I hope you have an idea how many people appreciate your help. Now I'd like to know where you store all that canned food, and what about all that dried food you put up, how much space it all actually takes up, how you keep track of dates, how many freezers you have, etc. I'd like to emulate you in my own small way, and while I'm planning my kitchen remodel, it would sure be helpful to get a handle on how you organize it all. Thanks again!

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    1. My antry is a 6 X 15 rooms. It has floor to ceiling shelves and provied storage for not only my jars but a small upright freezer. I store canning pots and supplies in there as well. I have a large kitchen with plenty of cabinets and an additional very large chest freezer in the laundry room.

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  8. Like everyone else I love learning from you! Whenever I have a question I check your blog archives before searching anywhere else. Thank you for the idea of canning water. How long do you process it for if it's the only thing you're processing?

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    1. Most items in your pressure cooker rarely process under 20 minutes. I process my water for the same amount of time as whatever I am canning at the time.

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  9. Such great ideas!! I need to invest in a food dehydrator! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

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  10. What a great post. I 'second' everything you said. I'm going to go post this on my Google+ account. Thanks CQ for your sage advice.

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    1. Hugs to the Katzcradul gang! How deep is the snow in your neck of the woods?

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  11. Great Idea on the fruit.....well everything really...looking into canning meat too!

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  12. Home canned beans are sooo much better!! I do small reds instead of kidney. Tonight, though, I found a single can of store red beans on the shelf and decided to throw it in a casserole. Not the same....in fact seemed a bit tougher. Not the creamy texture I get at all from home canned. My husband no longer likes store refried beans since I started canning pintos with tomato sauce, onion and seasonings (whole pintos, not mashed). I haven't bought Bush's beans either for some time. And do you know what they get for those quart bottles of great northerns? I about fell over!!!
    Its also quite amazing the difference in potatoes. Store canned are all weird and hard and mine taste like potatoes instead of tin. And don't forget mushrooms!!

    Fab post!! (and it makes some of us feel "normal" because "regular" people always look at you like your hair is on fire when you mentioned canning)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. As my husband so aptly puts it "We might not be "normal" but we eat good! "

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  13. Loved this post! Thank you for all that you do!

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  14. I love this post.. and canning water where there are "extra" spaces in my canner is something I've been doing for several years.. It just makes sense. I was reading an LDS ladies blog and she said "I just put every once of my canning jars to work.. nothing is empty.. and it just makes sense. I started that day & never looked back.

    I noticed a few days ago that I am out of a few items on my canning shelves and I desperately need to replentish.. And I really need to can some beans.. been meaning to, but just never got around to it.

    Thanks for being a great inspiration!!

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  15. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for all the information you so generously share. A generous man will prosper...I pray you do so without measure! Just as the other readers have said, I start here when I want advice and instruction on just about every project! Thanks again for the post about building our garden soil...it is coming along nicely.

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  16. Please share your secret on dehydrating potatoes. Mine always want to turn dark on me, despite using lemon or lime juice, citric acid........what is your secret??

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Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

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