I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Putting Food By

Strawberries! Red, luscious and dripping with juicy sweet flavor. 12 lbs of strawberries picked by my own hands while sweat dripped unimpeded from every pore of my being. Next year the berries will be picked early in the day and not in the scorching Florida afternoon sun.

They are now cleaned, cut and waiting patiently in my freezer to be used in the morning smoothie or maybe a strawberry pie. If it were up to the family they would be turned into strawberry shortcakes served with homemade whipped cream flavored with a hint of bourbon. Ok, to be fair I am the Bourbon fiend.The family is fine with vanilla.  

In the other freezer there are 6 lbs. of diced peppers- red and green- that will be used in cooking for the months fresh peppers are not in season or cost too much at the store. Dicing peppers by hand is a chore yet using a food processor works for slicing or mincing- not for dicing. The tasks kept me busy and the radio kept my normally worried and spinning brain occupied while listening to "Fresh Air"  on NPR. All in all much was accomplished.

Two weeks ago Onion Pepper Relish and salsa were the projects. 13 more pints of condiments are awaiting consumption and the relish is going fast!

Why do I take the time to produce these items that are so time consuming? Why put food by? 

1) It tastes better than store bought. Yes, there are flops that end up composted. Overall there is more fruit in the jam, the salsa isn't too spicy and the pickles are sliced how we like them sliced.

2) It can save money. Note this says CAN save money. If you find a local farmer, a farm market or grow your own there are savings to be had with the extra labor involved.

3) Quality- I know what is in the food. Seriously, no extra chemicals. My preservatives are salt, sugar, acid (vinegar, lime juice or natural acidity) and the application of heat. With food allergies this is really important. additionally, the berries I picked went from the plant to my freezer in a couple hours. No old strawberries here. The spices are ones we like and if possible fresh is best!

4) It is better for the environment. Buying local, freezing or canning means that foods do not need to be shipped from miles away for us to eat the out of season. Buy it in season put it up and then have it for the non seasonal periods.

5) A sense of accomplishment. I did it. Yes, me. I put food by for my family to eat later in the year. I can stand back and look at what was accomplished and take pride in my work.   

6) We can have foods we like that can't be found in stores.  Where can one find onion pepper relish or papaya jam on a store shelf? Maybe in a gourmet market but always in my pantry.

What do you "put by" and why? Happy preserving.  


  1. You go, girl!

    I use citric acid in things that have flavors that are accented by a little tang. Ascorbic acid (in the form of Vitamin C vitamin capsules, dissolved -- cheaper that way) in fruits that turn dark, and Pickle Crisp in my pickles. But no artificial flavors or colors. Yuk!


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