Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pressure Cookin'

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My Dad is so practical and frugal. Since he has retired he has taken over the canning. Last summer he started to show me how to can. Being pregnant he wouldn't really let me get in there to much. Big softie said he couldn't live with himself if me or the baby got hurt. We had a great time and canning is a nice compliment to my love of gardening. For Christmas this year Dad bought me a pressure cooker and some jars.

The other day I was sulking because I had run out of jelly and I had no coupons for it. Bleck! I love strawberry jam and jelly but I have to have the low/non sugar variety and that stuff is expensive! My new couponing conscience would not allow me to purchase said pricey jelly. Then I had a wonderful idea. Why not make my own? At Martins I picked up some no sugar needed surgel. Then I went to Aldi and they had strawberries for around 1.20 a pint. I got two of them because I had some frozen strawberries at home that would round out the rest of the recipe.

This morning I got to work. I mashed my strawberries and because I didn't have a cheesecloth or a jelly bag I used a fine mesh colander. I let the juice drain out for about an hour. Then I followed the remainder of the directions from the surgel package and thankfully Mom came down to visit right before I started up the pressure cooker.

Mom reminded me of some safety tips you should follow when using a pressure cooker. Like looking through the vent to make sure it is open, never removing the "jiggler" when the pressure cooker is on or even for an hour after it's done, and not taking the lid off right after your done cooking (try to wait an hour). Thank the good Lord she came down because I forgot the bit about not taking the lid off right away. It would have hurt me for sure! God is good!

So here are the fruits of my labor. I made a pun, snicker. Aren't they pretty? I can't wait to try them tomorrow.

If their good I'm going to make Nick some grape jelly. Here is a break down of my costs:
1. Jars: around 8 dollars
2. surgel: around 2.20
3. 12 splenda packs: had these on hand but I would say 30 cents as I got a big box of them from Costco
4. Strawberries: about 2.20 for the fresh ones and lets say 50 cents for the leftover frozen ones

Total: 13.20 for 5 jars of strawberry jam. 2.64 each but that cost will be less next time because I can reuse the jars and only have to buy the lids. Still that is cheaper than the sugar-free jelly at Martins. Score one for the Frugalista in training!

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