Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fresh Produce

I do love me some fresh veggies, there's nothing like it in fact.  But, it can be pretty expensive to stock up on.

When I heard about The 3000 Club Market on the Move, I was so excited.  For a $10 donation, you can get 60 pounds worth of fresh produce, and it varies from month to month depending on what is in season.

This was the first time it was in our area so needless to say, there was a huge turnout and not too much of a variety and by the time we arrived, they were also running out.

But I think we still managed to get quite a good deal for the $10 we donated.


Not bad huh?


Tons of tomatoes, it was around 10 and a half pounds. Tons of cousa squash, cucumbers and zucchini, plus some cherry tomatoes.

It's great to bring home all that produce and still be helping charity, but when you get home, what to do with it all???


First thing, I set to washing everything really well, then got to work.

Four Jars of Homemade Salsa following the recipe on my food blog.

Homemade Salsa

Then I took half of the leftover tomatoes and turned them into some Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce.  I got four jars out of that, you can certainly make huge quantities but for the 4 of us, this was more than enough.


Here is the recipe I used for these and I didn't do the same amounts, I just tweaked it to the amount of tomatoes I was using. The recipe I'm sharing with you makes a WHOLE lot more. (my notes are in red)

Canned Spaghetti Sauce
One batch makes about 10 quarts of sauce

20 pounds of fresh tomatoes
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped fresh parsley OR ¾ cup dry parsley
2-3 tsp. bottled chopped garlic OR 4 fresh garlic buds chopped in small pieces
½ cup olive oil

2 Tbl. chili powder
3 Tbl. Un-iodized salt
2 Tbl. Sugar
2 tsp. Oregano
2 tsp. Rosemary
2 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. powdered basil
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. Sage
1 tsp. Cumin Seed

Peel the tomatoes and chop them into bite size pieces. Another option is to put your washed tomatoes in the blender and puree them. (that is what I did)

After the tomatoes have been chopped or blended, weigh the tomatoes. (20 Pounds of tomatoes is about 12 quarts)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, green peppers, celery, parsley, garlic, and olive oil in a large stockpot. Note: I can fit 1½ times this recipe in one of my tall pressure cookers.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for ½ hour. Stir it every 3-5 minutes so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Now add the rest of the spices.

Bring the spaghetti sauce back up to a boil and cook it over low heat for 2½ hours. Remember to stir your sauce every five minutes. Roma Tomatoes cook down faster than the other tomatoes because they aren’t so juicy.

Fill your quart or pint jars with the spaghetti sauce. Wipe down the top of the jar before putting on the lid and ring. One batch makes about 10 quarts of sauce.

I processed the jars before canning. If you want to learn how to do that, just check out these Simple Instructions.

While the spaghetti sauce bubbled on the stove, I set to work, washing, slicing, blanching and bagging the zucchini and some of the squash for the freezer.  They keep up to 6 months in the freezer.

Here's how I do it:

Wash and slice the zucchini or squash into about half inch slices, you can also slice the squash into sticks, I do a combination of both really.


Bring a pot of water to boil, then drop the slices in, just do a small batch at a time. Boil for 3 minutes.....


Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.


Drain, bag and freeze for up to 6 months :)

Here's some of the zucchini....


Here's the squash......


So, if you're in the Arizona area, check out the schedule for when the Market on the Move from The 3000 Club will be in your city.

For those that don't have the Market on the Move, be sure to check out your local co-op's, Bountiful Basket etc.  I'm sure you can find a good deal :)

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