To continue the tricky list from yesterday’s post:
7. To rinse the spines off cucumbers without cutting your hands, use a washcloth, which protects you and is faster and gets them cleaner.
8. In an emergency, apples, bell peppers, and tomatoes may be frozen whole and raw (untreated). They must be perfectly spotless, unwashed, and in an airtight bag or container. They must be used within six months and they should be used for cooking only. Thaw tomatoes one at a time under running water for a few seconds. Skin should slip off easily, then core and pop it into your chili or whatever. For apples, thaw slightly at room temperature, peel or not, slice off of the core for pies, sauce, etc. Open, clean and chop bell peppers, frozen, or stuff and bake.
9. If you have plums galore, try freezing them whole and unwashed. Teach your children to love “plum-sicles” (and to wash them before they eat them.)
10. If you end up with more fruit juice than you have sugar or time, boil it, cool it, and freeze it in clean milk jugs, ¾ full. The jugs should have securely fitting lids. I made jelly with juice that had been frozen for a couple years and it was absolutely as wonderful as fresh. Allow about 24 hours for a gallon jug to thaw at room temperature.
11. To tell if apples and pears are ripe, cut one open. If the seeds are white, it is too early. If they are black, the fruit is ready.
12. The eensy fruits off your flowering crab apple tree make wonderful apple jelly and incredible, rosy, tart applesauce. I love it to serve with meat instead of cranberry sauce.
Tomorrow: Gardening, Canning, and Children!