Friday, May 28, 2010

Freezing Plums

We have a plum tree that has given us more plums than I have ever seen. Ever. I have actually never eaten a plum until this year, off of our tree. They're really good and sweet!

In addition to canning plums (which I'll post about later), I've been freezing them. It's much less time consuming than canning and frozen plums are great for cobblers and pies.

We never thinned the fruit off of our plum tree, so some of the plums are pretty small. Others are larger, about the size of a ping pong ball. Our plums will never grow as big as you see in the store because this is a variety that is adapted to our area.

Now, on to the freezing.

Rinse the plums. These were straight out of the bucket and haven't been rinsed, yet.

Before I ordered a cherry pitter, I was cutting the pits out. Chopping the plum to bits isn't bad for jelly, but for canning and freezing I wanted them to be whole...just without that pesky pit. So, I ordered a cherry pitter and had it shipped overnight. The plums couldn't wait and neither could I!

I didn't know they made these things until I searched for a better way to pit my plums. It works nicely!

Place the plum in the slot. Some of my plums are too big for this handy dandy contraption, so I just gently squeeze them in! Sometimes the skin breaks a little, but it's no big deal.


And out pops the pit!

You can't even tell! The plum stays nice and intact, perfect for freezing.

The ratio of plums to sugar I use is 1 part sugar to 5 parts plums. So, I pitted 5 cups of plums and then added 1 cup of sugar. Stir and let the juices of the plums dissolve the sugar. This should take about 10 minutes.

These plums have been sitting and the sugar has dissolved. I give them a stir every once in a while to help the sugar, but they really don't require much attention. This batch is ready to bag.

To help me out, I used a plastic cup. I folded the edges of the bag over the cup to cut down on the mess. It's also a good idea to label your bags before you do this. Marking them after they are full is a little harder.

Don't forget to pour all of the juice/syrup out of the bowl into the bag. That's the really good stuff! Now, just push as much of the air out as you can and stick in the freezer!

To help them freeze flat, I layered my full bags in a 9" x 13" casserole dish and put the whole dish into the freezer overnight. Once the bags are completely frozen, I take them out of the dish and stack them up!


If you decide that you don't want to freeze your plums with sugar, you can also just pack them in quart bags "dry". I also did about four quarts of those. That way, I can just thaw them out and add the amount of sugar the recipe I'm using requires. I also froze my "dry" plums in 4 cup portions instead of 5 cups. Many of the recipes I've seen use 4 cups of plums.

Just tryin' to make my life easier!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cool Girl

A couple of weeks ago, Matt's graduation weekend, we visited the office in College Station. Dr. B gave Elizabeth some Cool Girl Sunglasses, which she wore like a pro!

She had been wearing them constantly and then got a little too rough with them one day and they broke. Now I'm on the lookout for some more of these horrible looking glasses that only a sweet little girl could pull off wearing!

Ok, that's all I have time for right now. I hope this adorable picture will hold you over until I have more time to write!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's on our menu for this week:
  • Enchilada Casserole; Green beans (already made and eaten last night...)
  • T-bone steak; Squash; Boiled potatoes
  • Loco Moco; Green beans
  • Chicken in the crockpot; Brown rice; Squash
  • Salisbury Steak; Egg noodles; Green beans
Yes, there are lots of squash and green beans on our meal plan and it will probably stay that way for awhile! The garden is now in full swing and we have tons of vegetables to pick.

I've had a little trouble keeping up with posting due to all of the canning, freezing, and gardening going on, but I hope to have some stuff up soon.

I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

They Let Me be on TV

And I'm sure that they have learned their lesson! I was so nervous the day of the taping. Completely and utterly nervous.

Travis and I taped the segment on good ole VHS, so it may never see this blog, but my father in law was nice enough to send me his photos of the TV with me on. You really wouldn't want to see it anyway. Turns out, when I'm really, really nervous, I have an "um" complex. I'm pretty sure I said "um" about 15,000 times in five minutes. Yes, it was that bad.

The television set broke shortly after.

I'll probably have to buy them a new one.

(Kidding! As far as I know the set still works...)

See...Me, Nervous!

With, apparently, too much makeup on for those awful bright lights. I really didn't put much on, but that camera must accentuate your colors, because where I am darker, I'm dark; where the sun rarely sees (my chest), I could reflect sunlight.

Travis thought I should add the picture with my title. I blacked out my last name so you can't find me. Mooaha-ha-ha!

Wait, what?

You all know who I am anyway?

Oh, let's keep going then.

This is probably the part where I said that last year during the drought, even though we irrigated our gardens, that we just needed some rain. I was thinking rain. Instead I said God's Water. Yes, instead of RAIN, which I was thinking, God's Water came out of my mouth.

HE must have gotten a kick out of it, because we just received over 5" of God's Water this weekend.

And's where I was talking about the WIC program. People qualifying for WIC also receive vouchers that are valid only at Farmers Markets. There are certain things that they cannot buy with the vouchers, such as anything processed - baked goods, honey, etc.

Then I said, "They can bring their own money to buy other products sold at the Market." Or something very close. Yes, please stop using the money we hand to you through government programs and bring your own darn money.

Could. Not. Believe.

I actually said that? May I eat my words, now? Pretty please?

Good gracious, I'm sure anyone associated with WIC just loves me right now.

Yup, right in the middle of answering a question, I lost my train of though and had to mouth to her that I had no clue where I was going with that. Luckily, they cut part of that out of the final show.

Man, I am smooth. Give me a contract, pronto!

I'm pretty sure this was the longest five minutes of my life.

Thank goodness it is over!

If you-know-where freezes over and they ever ask me back, maybe I'll try to be a little less nervous. It can't go much worse!

Maybe I'll even leave out a few "um's"!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Community Crossroads

I'm going to be on television.

Say, what? Excuse me, did I hear you correctly? Me? Are you sure?

Yes, I have received a request/invitation from our local news station, specifically Jennifer Gayle, to be on the weekend program called Community Crossroads.

Nervous, anyone?

I spoke with Jennifer this morning and she sounds very nice. She's my favorite news anchor. I'd watch her all of the time, except she's on at Sunrise. My clock very rarely needs those early, early A.M. hours. And, luckily, the taping is at Noon tomorrow, so I won't need to see sunrise tomorrow, either!

I'll let you know how it goes. I have to go pick out something to wear that doesn't blend in with my skin.

Oh, help.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what's on the menu this week:
  • Hamburger patties in a mushroom gravy; Sauteed asparagus; White rice
  • Sirloin steak, grilled; Sweet potatoes, mashed with marshmallows; Fresh green beans
  • Taco Salad; Pinto Beans
  • Stir-fry; White Rice
My brother, Matt, graduates from Texas A&M on Friday, so we'll be leaving for the weekend! Yay, Matt!

I'm also going to try to post some about all of the things we've been doing and what's been going on. Well, besides the fact that Elizabeth fights a nap now every day!

For now, have a great week!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what we're having this week:

  • Spaghetti, Cheddar cheese slices; garlic toast
  • Szriskes; Brown rice; Squash; Rolls
  • Salisbury Steak; Egg Noodles; Green Beans
  • Sheppard's Pie
  • Ribs in the crock pot; White Rice; some vegetable from the garden!
I hope y'all have a great week! It's promising to be a hot one down here!