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Worth Reading Round-Up

Just a few good reads from the last few days:

::Amy is doing an excellent series on How To Save Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons. Check out her first installment here.

::I loved this piece on How to Save Money By Getting Almost Everything Free. I definitely concur. My philosophy is why pay money if you can find a creative way to get it free?

::Megan posted an excellent step-by-step tutorial here on making and canning your own applesauce. I'll admit that canning my own stuff terrifies me. I'm just sure I'll do something which will ruin the whole batch. But Megan's post almost makes think I could pull it off!

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26 Comments

  • valerie says:

    Nestle has a $1.00 coupon off cookie dough

  • For applesauce, we use the Pampered Chef apple corer, peeler, slicer to make nice even apple slices. Cook them down over low heat, stirring regularly so they don’t burn. Add a bit of sugar, cinnamon (I added cinnamon sticks while they were cooking, so no added cinnamon was needed), and nutmeg if you like. Place in hot canning jars when it’s cooked down to the consistency you like – we like ours chunky! The hot sauce in hot jars will seal themselves.

  • Michelle says:

    I just want to chime in and say that canning food scares me too. I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong and kill everyone with botchulism.

  • Somewhere out there says:

    Oh, that strainer she used for the applesauce is just like the one we used while growing up. There isn’t a better investment for making mondo batches of applesauce.

  • Thanks for the link love, Crystal!

    Danelle Ice / Home Ever After

  • Cindy says:

    I make my applesauce the easy way. I just use one of those sectioned apple slicers to core the apples. Then I toss the apples skin and all in a large pot with a little water, cover and cook until mushy. You do need to stir them once in awhile to make sure they don’t stick. Then I run them through my Foley food mill which pushes the cooked apples through the holes and leaves the skins in the food mill. Add sugar to taste and I put the applesauce in quart freezer bags and freeze. The applesauce is a nice pink color and you don’t have to hassle with canning.

  • I can totally understand your fear of home canning. I used to so very scared of it, but after looking into it, and jumping in–I haven’t looked back. It is so rewarding to look into a full, home-grown, home-canned pantry! 🙂

    I have a few tutorials and How-To’s on my blog.

    http://www.gettingfreedom.net/search/label/Canning

  • We love canning at our house~as a young mother, I learned a lot from my mother-in-law who canned for a family of ten.
    I would encourage the younger ladies to look for a lady who’s been doing it awhile and ask for a lesson or two. I’ve done some for ladies in my church so they can bless their own home with winter food storage.
    It’s a wonderful feeling to grow your own food and know what’s going into the jar~give it a try, it’s easier than you think:)

  • Of course you can do it! It’s just work!

  • Megan says:

    Thanks for posting my link, Crystal!!!

    Megan

  • I clicked through and left a comment . . . the cooking part is spot on and it really is that easy – you can also put it in the blender, peels and all, but you have to take the middle part out of your lid and cover it with a dishcloth – not to mention don’t fill it too ful!!

    The canning part is a bit more than she describes, though. :>) I left a link to Laura at Heavenly Homemaker’s post on making and canning applesauce, and from that post, there is also a link to her canning 101 post.

    This is my first year canning and I share the same concerns as the rest of you, but it really isn’t that hard . . . you just have to really follow the directions. And newer directions are much more strict than old directions – for example, the Ball books say to include lemon juice with tomato juice or sauce and process in a pressure canner, but I went with Laura’s methods (she has a post on making and canning tomato juice and sauce, too.)

    And it doesn’t hurt to take a look at this post at tipnut.com on signs of home canning spoilage.

    I canned some apple-pie-in-a-jar and it kept oozing out after I processed it, so I finally opened the jars up, took out the apples, put them in the food processor and turned them into applesauce, and I’m processing THAT in jars now. :>)

  • Cate says:

    What a great post about freebies! I’ve been decluttering and reorganizing a lot lately, and I came upon a TON of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion samples that we got from hotels, sample requests, and coupons…I’ve been coasting on our free shampoo for weeks now!

    I’m also kind of intimidated by canning, but I know I could save us a lot of money by doing it (as well as contributing to our overall health). I’m determined to learn next summer!

  • renee says:

    I’m having problems using coupons at my local Wal Mart. I used the 1.00 klondike coupon and had some 1.00 coupons I using on trial size items (no size exclusions on the coupons). They wouldn’t let me use my coupons because “the price of the item has to exceed the price of the coupon”. I have searched the walmart.com site do you know where the coupon terms of use is on the website?

  • renee says:

    I should have looked harder I found it….

    http://walmartstores.com/7655.aspx

  • LFinn says:

    I am relieved to hear that canning terrifies other people as well, thoug h I hear it might not be that hard….still, I can’t do it yet!

  • Gosh! I have made applesauce (canned it) for years now, and you do NOT need a blender, do NOT need a corer… goodness! All you need is a knife to peel and slice the apples, a potato masher, and a pot to cook them in and then your canning supplies. Why collect a bunch of supplies that you’re only going to use once per year when you can use your elbow grease and tools you already have!

  • Patti says:

    Canning is not hard but it is a food safety issue. Please contact your local County Extension Office for complete, up to date information or go to a web site like http//hgic.clemson.edu for how to preserve food. The Ball or Kerr Canning books are also reliable. Following the recipes of your grandparents is not a good idea because we have different varieties of fruits and veggies and different growing conditions now. Even a drought can affect the water content of homegrown food! And you do have to process your jars either in a water bath or a pressure canner (it depends on the fruit or vegetable) to kill the organisms that will cause food spoilage. Just heating the sauce and putting it in a hot jar is not enough even if it does seal. And you cannot tell what is spoiled just by looking at it, smelling it, etc. Your family’s health is much more important – food spoilage does harm and can kill you. But it is not hard to learn to do correctly and you will feel quite accomplished for learning this new skill! I am speaking as a Home Economist who answered food preservation questions for 18 years!

  • Lisa says:

    I have heard that you can freeze your applesauce… I made it for the first time this year (at 50 cents/pound for apples I coudln’t turn it down!), so I am going to try it.. we bought quart size freezer bags and will leave room for it to expand

  • Alex Hall says:

    I make applesauce in my crockpot. If you peel the apples before coring them, it’s really very easy. I just made a batch tonight, in fact, it’s only the 2nd batch I’ve ever made! I ordered a hot water bath canner last week and I can’t wait to get started, although I am a little nervous as well.

  • Jessi says:

    I have no idea how to can, but we have applesauce every year! And we don’t even peel the apples! Together with my mother and sister in law we follow this process:

    1. Cut the apples in halves (or quarters if large).
    2. Cut out the little stem thing at the bottom of the apple.
    3. Put in a kettle w/a bit of water — cook until slightly mushy.
    4. Run through a machine like this:
    http://www.instawares.com/roma-sauce-maker-food.pgt-70801.0.7.htm?LID=BZRT&srccode=cii_10043468&cpncode=18-43974573-2
    5. Put in quart freezer bags and freeze.

    Step 4 takes a bit of practice to determine how much water to use and how long to cook them, but overall it’s very easy. My MIL owns the machine, so I have not had to buy my own, but I think it would be well worth it (you can use it for other produce besides apples). Also, there is no waste, and the kids love to help by turning the crank.

  • If you’re afraid of canning… freeze it!! I just made 32 cups of applesauce in four batches with my crockpot. After that, I put it into freezer bags and ziploc containers. It keeps up to a year and thaws wonderfully.

  • Lydia says:

    Crystal, I KNOW you could do it! You do all sorts of other amazing things and canning isn’t really that hard if you simply follow directions. It might sound intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but just think of it sort of as a recipe.

    Just in case you are interested I have a similar tutorial on how to do tomato juice. You can use the same contraption that Megan used to make applesauce to make tomato juice too…it is just a bit messier when making juice. http://thriftyfrugalmom.blogspot.com/2009/09/tomatoes.html

    Oh, and if you are getting started canning, I would recommend the open kettle method instead of using a pressure canner which it sounds like Megan’s MIL was using. They are expensive and the open kettle (google it) method is so easy and the canner that you need is less expensive too.

  • Ashley says:

    Crystal,
    Are you planning on writing a post about your recent Entre Leadership event? I would so love to hear how it went, and what you gleaned there. I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan thanks to you, and my husband and I hope to go to that event one day.
    Ashley

    *************************
    Money Saving Mom here: Yes, I just haven’t had a chance to get to it this week. Hopefully this afternoon!

  • Milk Donor mama said that she would rather core and peel the apples than use the machine. You can, and then use a blender, and I have done it that way, but it takes a really long time. I am SO glad I bought a strainer and that it takes the skins and cores off for me. I don’t just use it once a year; I use it several times a year. I used it this year to can grape juice (it would be difficult to peel and seed all of those grapes!), and to make tomato sauce. If I make apple sauce a second time this year, I’ll have used it four times. It really cuts down on my time, and is worth every penny to me. My very frugal husband agreed, once he saw how much easier and quicker it was. The difference between a week of canning versus a couple days of canning makes a huge difference in my ability to serve my family (especially because I can quite oftren throughout the year).

  • Erika says:

    i just want to echo that the victorio strainer (what’s pictured in the linked post) is SUCH a wonderful tool in the process! up to last year i had only used a small food mill–and the strainer processed the apples soooo fast–actually, my 2-year-old did most of the straining!

    and canning can be a lot of fun–my parents gave me the Ball Blue of Canning with my canning supplies, and it’s a wonderful resource–tips, directions, recipes, etc. but hey, if you have freezer space–stock up on freezer boxes!

  • Kerry says:

    I have been canning applesauce for years and use a much simpler, lower cost process. I had been quartering and seeding the apples, but I may try it w/o seeding this year, after reading several posts on this, and I do remove obvious bruises. I have an old fashioned cone-shaped applesaucer that sits on a metal stand, w/ a wooden pestle-like stick (altho I often use a soup ladle instead, as it is sometimes a more effective press), to sauce the apples once they are cooked well enough. It is probably a little slower than the fancier separator gadget, but is a lower cost upfront (I find them at yard sales often for about $3 and pass them along to friends). W/ apologies to the home economist who wrote on food safety, I do bring my applesauce back to a boil, use jars that have been sterilized and kept hot in my oven, fill and seal 1 jar at a time, and have never had any problems. I understand that there is some risk to this method, but it has worked for us. I put just enough water in the pot to keep the apples from scorching until the apples have “juiced down” a little. With a quality pot, scorching is rarely an issue. Usually we are busy prepping more apples nearby so are vigilant w/ stirring. I don’t sweeten mine. If you like, you can add a can of concentrated frozen unsweetened apple juice, and avoid adding regular to sweeten. It is more fun w/ a friend, spouse, or mother-in-law, I agree. Usually I can enough in 1 year that I only have to do it every other year. Hope this helps.

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