Thursday, October 4, 2012

Preserving Eating Spending

Who says that preserving your own food is cheap? I just bought four cases of pint jars and one case of half pint jars. I gave away about two cases of pint jars to friends when I gave away my tomato sauce. I've gotten a couple of them back, but it will be a while before everyone is done using them up. And in a couple week I have the massive job of pressure canning a lot of my sweet potatoes. I look at the photo and you know what I get excited about? The box. The only brand our local hardware stores sells is Ball and they don't have real boxes. I like real boxes because they stack easier.

Then my vacuum sealer gave up the ghost after 15 years. It was a cheap brand. It worked just OK. The vacuum wasn't really strong. So I bought myself a FoodSaver sealer. Well it turns out you can't use regular bags like my old one could. It needs better bags with little ridges on them so it can get all the air out of the bag. The vacuum is amazingly strong. I'm sure it get so much more air out of the bag. But the bags are not cheap. Using Ziploc freezer bags and cutting off the zip it cost me about $0.06 each. With and off brand bag that conforms to FoodSaver standards it will cost me $0.17 per bag. Ouch. Name brand ones are about $0.25 per bag. I'll find out if it was worth it after a couple of years.

I did a little preserving this week. I made up three jars of dilly beans. Except only one of them was dilly. Another used tarragon and the last used basil. I've never had dilly beans and figured I'd see which spice I like best. Right now I wished that I had tried rosemary beans since I have so much rosemary in the garden.

I'd been meaning to make veggie burgers for ages now. All the recipes online use nightshade crops which I can't eat. So I had to adjust. Last week at Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard, TS told me the recipe that she uses. It has oatmeal as the binder starch. I liked that. I wanted it more as oat flour though so I ground it up. I wanted to add more umami taste to the burger too and used mushrooms and soy sauce to help build that up.

Daphne's version of Bean Burgers

  • T oil
  • 1 c diced onion
  • 1 1/3c chopped mushrooms
  • 2 clove minced garlic
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 4 t Worcestershire sauce
  • t cumin
  • 1/2 c oatmeal
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro (if in season)
  • 1 egg
  • Pint jar of canned beans

Add oil, onions, and mushrooms to a saute pan. Cook until the mushrooms start to turn brown. Add garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and cumin. Cook until the liquid evaporates.

In a food processor grind oatmeal until it is a course flour. Add salt, pepper, cilantro, and the onion mushroom mixture. Process. Add egg. Process until all blended.

Mash beans with a fork then mix in the contents of the food processor. Form into patties. Cook in a fry pan until cooked and brown on the outside.

So there are no peppers or tomato in my version. The beans, onions, garlic, and cilantro came from the garden. I topped it with mustard (sadly not mine yet), bread and butter pickles (from the garden), and pickled onions (from the garden). The bun was a home made 1/2 whole wheat bun with sesame seeds. When winter hits it will be a nice garden meal that I can still make.


  1. Bottles can be expensive, I agree. I found FULL swing top lemonade bottles on offer at the local supermarket: 2 for 4.99. The EMPTY bottles were retailing at 3.99 per bottle! (prices in GBP).

    Plenty of rosemary here too! I like it best in bread!

  2. Sounds yummy. Did you look at the CR recipe?

    1. Yes I did. Their recipe doesn't even have beans though and the point was another way to eat my beans at lunch. Theirs is an entirely mushroom based burger. Lots and lots of mushrooms of all different sorts. I do think shitakes in this would go wall for about a quarter of the mushrooms. But I wanted a recipe that used what I usually have on hand. And I don't usually have shitakes. Theirs is also vegan and gluten free (if you consider oat flour gluten free, some do some don't).

  3. looks great! I am out of pint jars and most stores have put away their canning

  4. Wow, I love how you modified the recipe. The addition of mushrooms sounds very nice. I definitely have to try this! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have a real hard time giving away canned goods, not because of what's in them, but because of my jars. Jars are precious for preservers. As far as the vacuum bags go, I just invested in wide mouth jars and vacuum seal those - nothing to throw away because you can reuse the wide mouth lids.

  6. My husband is vegetarian, so I definitely would like to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing it!

  7. I don't think it's cheaper at all! Maybe it's cheaper than going all organic in the grocery store. Our garden is our way around that kind of expense.

    I've not thought about canning sweet potatoes. We don't have enough to do it this year. Maybe we'll get to try it next year.

  8. When my wife and I combined our households a few years ago I got rid of hundreds of canning jars. A few years later I wished we had them back, as we ran out and I have to buy more.

    I made black bean burgers a while back from a C/L recipe that were nightshade free. Yours sound like they might be more flavorful, I'll have to try them next time.

  9. Just an interesting bit of info, oat flour is gluten free if it isn't grown near wheat fields. Apparently if the oat fields are grown near wheat fields, the wheat pollen gets blown by the wind onto the oat plants, contaminating them with wheat pollen, and gluten. It is possible to buy certified gluten free oats that are grown away from any contaminants.

  10. I'm not always sure if doing it ourselves is cheaper. . . I like it, though. And finding beans pickled just the way I like them would be much more expensive. I'm enjoying the reusable Tatler lids, but will have to purchase many more to use them exclusively. Your tweaked bean burgers sound good. I usually make basic oatmeal/walnut burgers: 1/2 onion, 2 c oats, 2 eggs, 1 c walnuts, some sage. Brown, then steam in the covered frypan with 2T water, et voila!

  11. I just had a conversation about the cost of jars. I'm asking everyone that I've given salsa & pickled peppers to this season to return them. Haven't invested in a sealer yet, maybe I won't, lol.

  12. Its been ages since I made bean burgers. I seem to spend half my life searching for second hand preserving stuff on ebay because the price of buying it new is fairly prohibitive.

  13. Often you can find canning jars at yard sales - you just have to be sure to feel the rims to make sure they are not chipped etc. I have some many given to me from people who no longer do canning, that I am swimming in jars at the moment.

  14. I try to eat 'fresh' from the garden all year, partly because all methods of preserving have a cost and also I like to eat what's in season, I did make tomato sauce for the first ime this year and I hope the jars will last for many years; I ask people to return jars when I give them jams and preserves but they rarely do. I'd like to grow sweet potatoes next year, they're not something I can buy here in Italy. Christina

  15. Daphne, I have gotten most of my canning jars from friends, family, neighbors, yard sales, auctions & Craig's List. They are very costly when you purchase them new! I also buy my bags in a roll instead of separately. They are much more economical that way. Ginny posted a great place to buy them on her blog. I'll have to look it up.