Monday, August 20, 2012

$187, $139

   - a short jaunt to market ($22 for dairy stuff and sandwich meats),
   - the peach-picking and tomato-buying escapade ($86), and
   - a grocery store run for shrimp, canning supplies, and ice cream ($79),
we managed to spend $187 on groceries this past week.

The canning supplies -- it floored me that I'd run out.  I had oodles of jars left over from last year.  I'd gotten more canning jars at yard sales. I'd gotten canning jars as Christmas gifts.  I have jars everywhere.  But somehow I managed to buy even more food than I had space for in the jars.  I'd already put up cherries and some pickled zucchini this summer. With the table chest-high with peaches and tomatoes, I somehow managed to run out of jars.  Oh, cripes.

I spent all day Friday and much of Saturday canning and preparing food. It was both exhausting and fulfilling at the same time.  Here's a picture of Friday's work: 38 quarts and 24 pints of catsup, tomato juice, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and peaches.

Saturday saw another 10 quarts of peaches and 16 half-pints of pickled peppers (can I say that again?  pints of pickled peppers -- heh).  I also made a gallon of shrimp gumbo inspired by the okra that showed up in our CSA basket.  Cheap okra leads to expensive shrimp purchases . . . go figure.  The gumbo is destined for the freezer, by the way; I'm nervous about canning seafood, plus I'm totally out of jars.  

Even with the expensive shrimp, and even with 3 dozen new canning jars, this is not a bad haul for $187, if I do say so myself.  The shelves are groaning.  

I'm done for now, but I'm not done for good.  The garden tomatoes are coming in gang-busters now.  Their name is salsa.   Apple sauce is in the future.  I'll need more jars yet.  I've become a canning monster, for sure.  I'm loving the chance to buy food in season and to spend my relatively free summers doing cooking, since in the winter I have neither much time nor access to baskets of fresh tomatoes.  

Where does this leave us money-wise?  The weekly average -- not counting those weird restaurant-intensive weeks -- is $139/week, for a total of 22 weeks.  139 is a prime number (in fact, it's a rare "twin prime", coming as it does on the heels of its prime sister, 137).  

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