Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Fruit is On

Cheap Eat Challenge: Watch as our family of 6 eats, or tries to, on $6/day.

If you care at all about getting your foods locally. Or getting your foods at the freshest. Or getting your foods for nice and cheap, well, your time for fruit has come.

Peaches are cropping up in CSA's and in grocery stores for nice and cheap. These are from our CSA (Joe Engelbrecht's Fourth Generation Orchard if you're interested for next year) and I know that a few stores in town have them for less than $1/pound. If you can afford it, it's a great time to buy a lot, use what you like, and then jam, can, or freeze what you don't. Today we jammed a bunch. Freezer jam, in case it seems intimidating to you, takes all of 25 minutes to make: process fruit in food processor, boil sugar and pectin for 1 minutes, add pectin/sugar to fruit--the best recipes usually come in the packages of pectin. I don't even peel my fruit, just chop up the skins with the fruit. Nobody in my family complains, and they are not the type of family to, you know, not complain in the name of politeness. And for the record, even with the cost of pectin, this perfect-in-every-way jam is cheaper or at least comparable to the grape jam at Walmart.

Also, be sure to use as many differently sized containers so you're sure to have trouble stacking them neatly in the freezer. This is the tried and true method I always use.

If you'd rather just freeze them, slice them up, lay them on a cookie sheet to flash freeze them (or freeze them enough so that when you throw them in a Ziploc bag, they won't glue freeze together in a huge gallon mass of peaches), and then throw them in a Ziploc bag.

Blueberries are in season too.

This morning we went to a blueberry farm (Decker's--1 lb for $2.50) and picked a whole stinking lot. I froze 10 large bags of them. I hope to have a bag for the next 10 months for blueberry soup purposes. You don't need to wash them before you freeze them. Just give them a rinse when you take them out to use them.

Strawberries have come and gone in our neck of the woods, but up north (which if I'm not mistaken is better strawberry country anyway), I believe that they're coming on strong. Which results in sales and sweet strawberries. I forgot to take a picture of my 10 lb of strawberries, but we ate about 4 lb and then I froze about 3 and jammed about 3.

So go forth, buy fruit, and prosper. Seriously, buy as much as you can afford, freeze it in bags and use it throughout the winter. If you get it on sale the prices will beat any bagged/frozen varieties you can find in the off season months and the taste is so far superior, you might cry.


  1. I made some awesome (Paula Deen) peach cobbler with some of ours on Thursday. I was surprised to find today that they were nearly over ripe, and on Thursday they were mostly hard as rocks... So, with you as my inspiration, I whipped up about 2 cups of freezer jam :) I prefer the instant pectin. I'm sure it's more expensive but it uses HALF the sugar, which I'm sure you would like (maybe not your family though). So, the next time you are going to make some freezer jam and need to buy more pectin, give it a try. The packets use 4 cups of fruit, but now they have a small jar that has instructions for smaller sized batches (1 2/3 cups of fruit).

  2. Have you ever tried mixing peach with another fruit for jam? My family will eat peaches, but not peach jam... not even the husband. But I have a theory that if it were red, they would eat it. Strawberry?

  3. Heather--I haven't, but I'm going to try combining some of the raspberries I have in the fridge with my next batch of peach. I'll let you know how it goes. If it works, I'll post the recipe.

    Brooke--Now it's your turn to inspire me. I was wondering what to do with mine. My sister is coming tonight, so I think I'll do a peach cobbler. What's the link for the one you used.



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