Cornbread is pioneer food at its best – – simple, hearty, and inexpensive. And although cornbread is most famous as a co-host for chili, I love warm, buttered cornbread for breakfast with a piece of sausage and a cup of steaming hot, black coffee. My kids like to drizzle maple syrup over cornbread for breakfast.
Aldi had butternut squash for 59 cents a pound, so I picked up 8 in different sizes. Winter squash is a winner to stock up on, because it lasts for months on your counter. No need to come right home from the store, and start putting your winter squash in jars. But since I bought so many, and four large heirloom pumpkins to process before Christmas, I decided to get a head start.
This year I discovered how to turn fruit scraps into something special. You can make vinegar, syrup, and jelly by boiling it down and saving the juice. I actually started making apple cider flavored syrup not just for pancakes, but as a binder for granola bars. I made peach syrup a few months ago, and I’m going to make some granola with peach syrup, almond slices and dehydrated peaches. Playing with food is just so much fun, especially when you can turn would-be kitchen trash into treasure.
One of the reasons I can, is to stock up when prices are low. So when I saw beef prices started to rise, I stocked up. Beef sky rocketed at one point, and the only place it’s come back down is at Costco. I’m unsure of what’s going to happen in the near future, so I canned a bunch up for my food storage. While people are most afraid of canning meat, it’s actually the easiest thing to can. I wrote a food column on canning meat with safety statistics proving, it’s safe and easy.
I got a new kitchen toy – a steam juicer! It’s a three piece contraption with water in the bottom, a juice catcher in the middle, and a strainer-like top for the fruit. The juice comes out of a hose.
My first experiment was with grapes, because they were on sale for 89 cents a pound. Filled to the brim with grapes, my juice steamer yielded two, half-gallons of grape juice. Only apple and grape juice have been tested as safe for canning in half-gallon jars. I wish the USDA would do more testing for these sized jars, because I would love to can soup in them!