Freezing and Vacuuming and more, oh my!

All at the same time! 🙂

On the merry return from my camping vacation, I stopped at Keremeos, BC. It is arguably the fruit stand capital of Canada, and is smack in the middle of an entire organic farming region. It's a beautiful little whistle-stop with lovely people. If you're there at lunch time, I highly recommend enjoying it on the street-side patio of the K Cafe. 

Since I've started to make my yogurt at home, we've been consuming a lot more smoothies (funny how that works!) So I've decided to stock up on real, local fruit that I will have available for year-round consuming. To fulfill my mission, I stopped at a fruit stand and picked up
10lb peaches
10lb apricots
10lbs nectarines
10lbs cherries
and for good measure 6 huge bulbs of russian blue garlic

Once home I promptly ignored my trove, feeling quite overwhelmed at the task before me. Since then, I've "put up" one fruit a day. Basically this includes washing, peeling, pitting, slicing, vacuum sealing with my FoodSaver 3000, and tossing into the bottomless pit that is my deep freeze. Today is the last day – cherries. Cherries are a pain in the ass, but at least the interwebs taught me a better way to pit them. I got a chopstick and just pushed the pits out. Much easier than halving and then digging the pit out with my fingers or a knife! Next time I wear gloves, though. Right now it looks like I've been spending time slaughtering small but bloody creatures for about a week. Not to mention the cherry juice I managed to unknowingly drip down the cupboards… 

Combined with my 18lbs of local blueberries, I am nearly up to my goal of 70-80lbs of fruit for the year. This will enable me to make my smoothies as well as have extra for muffins, pies, and whatnots. All winter long I have been tempted to buy those frozen $10 bags of dreadful, frost-bitten fruit chunks from the store. And canned fruit are fine for now and then and pies, but not for regular eating. Now I will have no excuse to not eat healthier! 

So far my small changes of eating more local and more sustainably and healthier have been money-saving, too! In the past year or so I've changed the following things:
– now buy all beef from local farmer, prepped in freezer packs. Product is hormone free and free range and produced by lovely people
– now make yogurt at home, from 2% milk. Product is fresh and additive-free. The whey goes into my breadmaker for exceptional fluffiness and wonderful results. 
– now make all daily bread at home in breadmaker. Product is fresh and additive-free. Goes stale naturally without molding, providing croutons for salads. 🙂 
– now stocking up on local fruits for year-round health benefits. 
– make own granola at home. Not much price benefit, but love the flavours.
– now buy full chickens instead of boneless/skinless. Trim and skin myself. Goes much farther and the trimmings are the dog's dinner (literally) or go towards chicken soup/stock.

Still to change:
– I want to find a local supplier of chicken. We eat this most often, so I would love a local, organic/free range option.
– Need to pick up local eggs more often. There are people around here with eggs for sale. I need to actually STOP and buy them. 
– I need to stop buying interesting looking pastas. I have no idea what to do with them all! 

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