I went back to Goodwill today to buy canning jars. They were 20 cents a piece and I ended up with twelve really good quart size jars and three really pretty pint size jars. Last time I went I got 12, a mix of both. And I have a dozen new ones that I got a while back in an unopened box at a garage sale. I have both Ball and Kerr jars. I don't think it makes much difference as long as it is one of those two brands. So I think I am set for a while. New, this many jars would have cost me a fortune. I was lucky I got there when I did. After I picked out the jars I wanted a lady came through behind me and cleaned out the rest.
I also popped over to Kmart to buy lids and rings. Some, but not many, of the Goodwill bottles had rings (2 were rusty and had to be thrown out), but of course you don't know if the lids were used or not and since I mostly want to can with these, I need good lids.
I filled up the entire dish washer with all of my jars and rings and gave them a heavy duty wash. Tomorrow I hope to make grape jelly using this recipe I found at Owl Haven:
I am also going to attempt to make homemade yogurt following this method I found at The Frugal Girl: http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/10/how-to-make-homemade-yo.... I don't know if I will do that tomorrow or not, but I'd like to do it this week. I was actually looking into yogurt makers, but you still have to do all of the work involved with the process before putting it in there and then it just keeps it at the right temp. But this method uses stuff I already have, a cooler and hot water at 120 degrees. So why pay $25 to $50 for a machine that basically keeps the water warm and then beeps at you when it's done? And makes tiny little six ounce jars. I mean, one of the points of making your own yogurt is to have some fairly good sized jars of it to spoon out of and not to have a ton of little bottles to constantly wash out.
When I make it I am going to just do a half batch. I want to make sure my family will eat it, so using a half gallon instead of a whole gallon of milk makes more sense at the moment. If they don't particularly care for it I can use it up in fruit smoothies or try freezing it. It should be an interesting experience.
Mom gave me a space to use that gets a lot of heavy sun so I am going to pick up some more tomato plants. I really want to can tomatoes and tomato puree (for making sauce) this summer. Canned organic tomatoes are one of our biggest expenses and I want to see if I can cut that down by canning. Also with glass jars I can be assured of no BPA in the can liners.
I might even try my hand at canning some beef. There used to be a little old lady at the church I went to as a kid who canned beef and it was the tastiest stuff. I'd love to do that because sometimes it would be nice to just open a jar and heat and serve pot roast that way. On days when I am just far too tired to cook or something.
I am also thinking about canning green beans. I've not really liked green beans in canning jars in the past, but I think this might be because the beans were too mature, so if I pick them young it might make a difference. Also I may just attempt to freeze young green beans as they are great for stir-fry.
This June I will be going out to get a bunch of organic strawbrerries for freezing and jelly and then of course I will pick our own raspberries in July for jam, and our own blueberries in August for making blueberry jelly and frozen blueberries (we are still eating some from last summer!), and if we get enough blackberries, maybe I'll do jam for those, too. The brambles were pretty small last year, but they are over a bigger area this year, so I might have enough. Mom is also hoping her grapevines are old enough now to produce grapes. I'd love to have some frozen ones on hand, though I'd prefer not to make jelly from grapes, though we could juice them and make the jelly from the juice.
I am also considering making pickles. I've been wanting to grow cucumbers anyhow. At the very least I can make the ones you don't pressure can, but just keep in the fridge up to a month. I won't even get into how much junk is in commercial pickles. Yellow #5 is enough to turn me right away from them. If I want yellow pickles I can use tumeric, but I don't see the point in my pickles not being greenish white like the actual food it comes from.
I might not have enough jars for all I want to do! But then my mother has several jars herself and she seldom does much more than make freezer jam anymore. And she has the canner so I don't have to buy one, though they had those at Goodwill, too.