Frugal Savings Week 29 – 2014

I am getting more accustomed with balancing my new out-the-house-work and homework, so I got quite some things done this week.

I made a start with my blackberry vinegar, which I made with home made white wine vinegar. I hope to make about 5 liters so I can give this vinegar as gift to family and friends. I get up really early in the morning and pick the blackberries which are ripe. It is not much yet but enough for making a liter of vinegar at the time.

I started vin de noix, a sweet wine made from green walnuts. It is not a cheap home made wine but it is fun to make. I made it with one liter vodka (13 euro), 1 kilo sugar (0.90 euro) and wine (2.33 for 1 liter) and I need 5 liters. The total amount of vin de noix will be approximately 7 liter. The costs per liter are 3.50 euro. That is when I count the most expensive ingredient: the vodka. I am lucky that my mom gives me 1 or 2 liters in exchange for some elderberry tincture and some blackthorn cordial. I think she wants a bottle of 2 of the wine port as well.

I got 4 (!) old jute postal bags and I will make them into a new slipcover for my couch. I already got 2 more so I think I will have enough. I will wash them and get started soon, I hope.

There were 2 small bags with potatoes left and I did can them. I love home canned potatoes because they are so versatile and convenient when I come home after work and want an healthy meal without being in the kitchen for 1 hour or more. I use them to make garlicky potato soup, oven roasted rosemary potatoes just to name somethings.

It is quite warm here so a lot of fruit and vegetables are not keeping up that well. I had about 2 kilo´s tomatoes left and I made 2 jars of 500 ml of roasted tomato ketchup. Better then throwing the tomatoes away!

Another thing I experimented with is eggplant. I bought some eggplants when they were on sale. I cut them into 1/4 inch slices and sprinkled them generously with salt and put them in my fruit press. I pressed the eggplants for a couple of days and tightened the press twice a day. When there was almost no water left, I got the eggplants out of the press and peeled them of each other. I put the slices in a large jar and topped it with home made wine vinegar. After a couple of days I put them in their final jar and put them on olive oil. This is an Italian way of preserving eggplants. It brightens up your salads!

Finally finished with the ‘last’ onions and made another batch of onion marmalade. It is so nice I spoon it on everything, well, almost everything.

Next couple of weeks I will be quite busy with inventory of my home canned food and knowing what I still have to can. I make a list with what I still have on the shelves and what I think I need. With that list it is easy to look for sales. For example: we like canned green beans so I always want at least 60 jars in the pantry, approximately 1 per week and a couple extra jars. I know that I am already low on jars, so I will order some more this week.

4 thoughts on “Frugal Savings Week 29 – 2014

  1. It sounds like you live in an area with a lot of wild blackberries. We do, too. I am just now finding some ripe ones, about 3 weeks earlier than usual. My two daughters will pick a couple of pints this afternoon, on their way home from work. I’ll add what they pick to some apples from our trees for an apple-blackberry pie. Yum! I can hardly wait!
    I freeze our surplus blackberries, and like to use them to make blackberry gelatin, cobblers, pies and fruit sauce, during winter.
    All of your canning efforts will certainly be appreciated in winter!

    • Thank you Lili, for visiting my blog. Yes, I live in an area with a lot of wild blackberries. I walk with my dog every morning before dawn and I saw the ripe blackberries to my big surprise. They are about 3-4 weeks early!
      How wonderful you children pick them up after work. I would love to know what kind of pie you make. I can a lot because I don’t have a freezer. My freezer broke down last winter and I never replaced it.

      • The blackberry-apple pie sounds rather plain and simple, but we think it is so delicious. It’s just chunks of apples, combined with blackberries, some sugar (about 2/3 to 3/4 cup, depending on sweetness of berries), a pinch of cinnamon, plus some flour to thicken the fruit juices, in a two-crust pie. I am getting hungry just thinking about it!

        I have only canned pickles, relishes, jams and jellies — items with high vinegar or sugar content, as I don’t have confidence in my canning skills. So, I use the freezer as much as possible. Good for you for turning to canning more when your freezer broke down. That’s a great solution for your situation!

      • I love pies which are simple but full of flavor. I rather taste the flavor of the fruits then all kind of (artificial) flavors. Thank you for the idea, I am going to can some blackberry-apple pie filling!
        I understand your anxiety about canning! I have been canning according to European traditions for more then 15 years: pickles, all kind of tomato things and fruits and jams. I am fairly new to meat canning in a pressure canning. I even had to import my pressure canner from the States! At first I was a bit nervous about meat canning (that scary botulism) but I am now more relaxed with doing so. It saves me a lot of money to can meats as well. And I just love canning, I make all this fancy stuff for my children! What about nectarines in a honey syrup, olive salad, pickled smoked onions to name some. But this said… I do miss my freezer! Who knows, perhaps one day again 🙂

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