In between all the chaos I found myself continuing my obsession for local food and canning. We made a day trip to Erie to search for cherries. We were too late for cherries, but the blueberries were spectacular. I think next year I will go for blueberries and just pick up some frozen cherries.
I did a lot more freezing last year too. It was easier to process fruit on hot humid days and the Food Saver makes it a lot more convenient to use the frozen product. Successes included:
Apple Pie Filling: I used my peeler/slicer http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Green-Apple-Slicer-Peeler/dp/B003FIH7QE/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1333550478&sr=8-15 then added about 4 cups slices to 1/2c flour and 1 c sugar. I mixed it all up and froze in food saver bags. I use these for Dutch apple pie mostly. In 2012 I plan to do a lot more and use them for crisps and cobblers too.
Frozen peach puree: I took the leftovers from the canning peaches or those that were a little too bruised to use for canning and I pureed them in the food processer with a little lemon juice. I put the puree in a small food saver bag and sealed it then flattened it out before freezing. I use this by chopping off the desired ammount and adding it to smoothies. I also did this with some mangoes I found on sale at the local fruit stand.
Frozen bananas: I know these are not local, but when they are cheap I buy the overripe bananas and peel and freeze them for banana bread or smoothies.
Frozen mulberries: these were the find of the year last year. I froze a few
Frozen blueberries: Just pop them in the bag and into the freezer. I add these to smothies too or use them in muffins or crisp or cobbler.
Frozen peaches: I did some of these on a day when it was just too hot to can them. They are ok for crisps, but they aren't as good for eating straight or in a pie for some reason.
As I have mentioned, I commute an hour each way to work at the lab and back. It is far to easy for me to stop at Starbuck's or Wendy's or Panera for a quick, tasty, fattening breakfast. Lately I have been trying for better though. With the five minutes I have between the last time I walk the dog and the time Rebecca is ready, I throw a few things into the blender to make a smoothie.
I start with 2 containers of lite yogurt, any flavor that catches my eye. Then I add two or three of my frozen selection of fruits or some fresh strawberries or canteloupe or whatever is left in the fridge. Sometimes I even add a packed of prepared cooled oatmeal. I top it off with about 2/3 c milk and hit frapee. The smoothie gets poured into 2 pint sized mason jars and a re-used lid tops it off. Add a straw and I have the perfect commuter breakfast, plus an additional snack for later in the day.