Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Potatoes, Pumpkins and Your New Pioneer Woman

OK, fine, I am not the new pioneer woman yet, but I am getting closer ya'll.  I can just feel it.  Even my oldest wanted to know why we had so much fun learning new things AFTER she left for college.  Yes, she wanted to butcher the cow with us and unlike me the wimp, SHE would have stayed around for the whole thing!

Anyway, next up in my training...canning.  Now, just so you know, I have canned.  Well, mostly I have watched my daughter can.  I am a good cleaner-upper though!  In the past our knowledge has been small and involved a water bath canner only.  I am moving up and purchased a pressure canner.  (Thanks honey!)  Don't worry, our farming friends have assured me I will not blow myself up easily nor poison my family accidentally.  Regardless, I may or may not have asked them a million questions before, after and DURING the process, just to make sure.  Having jam and peaches on hand has been great, but for true food storage, "survival" storage and money saving, you really need a pressure canner.

Potatoes!  Yes, I bought 100 pounds of those things.  Do you even know how many potatoes that really is? Let me just make it simple for ya- A LOT!  I love potatoes more than most, but honestly I got tired of dealing with potatoes after two days of canning.  In the end I think I canned about 80 pounds and then gave up. Some of the remaining we have eaten already and some are in the cold garage waiting!  Since we transitioned to as natural eating as possible, we use potatoes for french fries, hash browns, homemade mashed potatoes as well as roasting and boiling them.  Potatoes are actually a cheap way to do a lot of side dishes as even a 5 pound bag can go a long way!  When the fresh potatoes are gone in a few weeks we will eat from the canned ones, hopefully until this time next year rolls around and we start over.  Not bad for $35.00 of potatoes!

Pumpkins!  Can there be a better thing than pumpkin?  I think not.  This family loves everything pumpkin. Maybe that is why fall is my favorite season. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes and waffles, and on and on and on!  You get  the idea.  But, have you bought a can of that stuff lately?   Wow, it has gotten expensive and last year you were hard pressed to find it on the shelves.  I almost had a panic attack.  Luckily, during October you can find pumpkins in abundance.  I stocked up!  Just one $3.00 pumpkin will yield more than several cups of pumpkin, saving you money AND is healthier for you at that.  I cheat and do it the easy way...just slice the pumpkin in half, clean out the yuck and then pop it in the crock pot for 3-4 hours with a little water on the bottom so it won't scorch.  Once it is soft you just scoop out the meat, blend in a food processor and freeze in 2 cup portions.  Again, I freeze enough to use pumpkin at least twice a week until this time next year.  Yay me!

Last year we did the same thing with apples, freezing apple pie filling and applesauce and canning apple slices, but this year it just did not happen.  I waited for prices to fall like they did in Virginia and they just did not.  Well, they did one week, but I missed  that one week and right back up the prices went.  Lesson learned- when living in a new place ask around about the prices of things and when you should expect to see the low price and WHAT that price will be so you will recognize it.

So, while we are still limited on the garden prospects and chickens in the yard thanks to continual moving and rental houses, we are slowly making our way to self sufficiency, one potato and pumpkin at a time! How about you?  Do you dream of a little cabin in the woods like me?


Linking up with Hearts For Home today at Upsidedown Schooling!  You will want to take a peek at all the great posts there!

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  1. Next step in the pioneer woman growth: wrangling up an escaped calf!! LOL ;) -You know who!

    1. I am on it! I just need a calf! ;) Oh, and a farm!

  2. I am very impressed with the canning and freezing. I've tried canning once or twice, but I'm always unsure about what I'm doing.

    1. Don't be too impressed Leah! I am very unsure of what I am doing which is why I called our friends several time! :)

  3. I freeze my pumpkin too. In bags with 2 cups per bag since that is the amount I use most often.

  4. I have thought about cooking real pumpkins but haven't gotten up the nerve to try. But the crock pot method is something I can do! Thanks for sharing!


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