Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Canning Pumpkin!

When I first started using pumpkin I was concerned with the type I chose. That was until I tried a carving pumpkin and found it to work just as well in pumpkin bread as any other type. I have used them for the last four years. These seven quarts pictured were from one pumpkin purchased at Aldi's for $3.99. 

Here is how I do it: 

Cut it in half and scrape out the slime with a spoon. Save seeds to either bake for a snack or for planting next year. Cut the halves into a few sections. Take the sections and cut into slices about an inch thick. Cut the slices into small squares. Slice off the side of the square that has the skin. Not only is this the easiest way to skin a pumpkin but it is easier to compost the skin. Boil your pumpkin squares for 2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and fill your jars. Pour clean boiling water over the pumpkin. Place your lids on your jars and put in pressure canner. For pints, 55 minutes at 11 lbs, for quarts, 90 minutes at 11 lbs. Just drain and blend or mash to put into your favorite pumpkin bread recipe! One pint generally equals 1 cup of pumpkin puree.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Cost of Tomatoes

I am a newbie when it comes to purchasing tomatoes.  Of course I have bought a few at a time at the grocery store, but until this year I had never canned tomatoes and had no idea how to purchase larger amounts.  I had heard that people had success at the farmer's markets.  Our local community had a Tomato Festival at the Franklin Farmer's Market and I thought, "Okay this had to be the best place to buy good quality tomatoes."  It was a yuppie fest for people willing to fork out way more than I wanted to pay.  Sure the tomatoes were beautiful, but you could not find a tomato there at a reasonable price, most sold for $3-4 per lb.  Yikes!  So I went to Aldi's on the way home and purchased tomatoes grown in Georgia for about $1 per lb.  I like supporting our community farmers, but I don't want to be robbed.

My next attempt was at a farmer's stand in Franklin near the historic City Cemetery.  They sold beautiful boxes (about 25 lbs) of Amish organic tomatoes for $24. Wow, less than $1 per lb and these were beautiful.  Unfortunately, the following week they had raised their prices to $28 per box.

I then tried the farmer's stand on Old Highway 96 in Franklin.  They had gorgeous yellow and red Roma tomatoes for $22 a box. While that was still a better price, it was not the fantastic deals that I had read about online in the canning groups that I am a member.

My next trip was to the Farmer's Market in Nashville.  The first warehouse type structure closest to the road had tomatoes for about $2 per lb.  Not a deal.  The second structure behind the first actually had boxes of tomatoes ranging from $12 to $16 per box and the lady was somewhat concerned for the "high" price.  Amazing.  So I bought an exceptional box of Roma tomatoes from Swafford Farms (TN) for $12.  It was around 30 lbs which was about .40 per lb.  Now that is a deal!

Hope this helps those on the lookout for tomatoes!  If anyone has a great place to buy produce locally, I would love to know!