a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, August 2, 2013

When Life Defrosts Your Freezer . . .

While hurrying to leave for a short trip this past week, I grabbed a last minute item from the freezer and left the door ajar.  Ooops!

When we returned 2-1/2 days later . . .

The difference between a spot and a stain is time. Check out this amazing (and amazingly simple) way
to clean up spills on carpet 
 It could have been a lot worse!!!

This freezer (we have two) sits on carpet in the office. When we bought the second one I debated as to whether I should try to divide our frozen items equally in case something happened to one or the other.

Fortunately I decided that would complicate keeping track of things and  I like to keep things as simple as possible.

This freezer holds mainly fruits, fruit butters, juices, nuts, baggies of pebble ice, bottles of water and and a gallon of milk

They were thawed but still cool.  My first stop was Internet searches on their safety and usability.

Restoring . . .

Since we eat very little meat, there was very little to throw out.  I did have a package of thin beef, waiting for me to try my hand at dehydrating it into jerky.  It was still in its original packaging and that package was in a plastic grocery bag so I didn't give it much thought as I went to dump it in the trash. I should have. The trash can was two feet from the freezer and the package spilled its bloody meat juice. It almost made me sick --- and definitely made me panic.

While I was frantically searching the Internet for protein/blood-based stain removal, Dave calmly got a couple of bath towels and a spray bottle of clear water. Five minutes later, I was still searching and. . .

Dave was finishing up.

There was not a single trace remaining. (Pessimist that I am, I was sure the stain would reappear when the carpet dried---along with an accompanying, and probably horrible, smell.)

Dave was a Church custodian for many years and learned this from a fellow professional. The first thing to realize in the removal of spills is to remember that the difference between a spot and a stain is TIME. Tackled immediately most spills will come up completely with water.

1. Blot up as much of the spill as you can with cloth toweling.
2. Generously spray water on the spill and let it sit for two or three minutes.
3. Blot up with more cloth toweling.
4. Repeat process as needed.

Dave did this three times. There is no stain and no odor!

Preserving . . .

 I moved the bottles of juices and apple butters to the refrigerator. Neither has made us sick.

Same with the milk but later tossed it because of how it looked.  It didn't smell bad but it was full of clumps that did not dissolve when shaken. Probably milk is so processed that it isn't possible for it to spoil in the real sense of the word but I wasn't going to take any chances.

I made several loaves of banana bread and froze those we did not eat immediately.

I let the grapes, pomegranate seeds, and a few things like that refreeze. I haven't checked them out yet.

One of my biggest concerns was the 10 pounds of crushed raspberries I had frozen to make raspberry-peach jam when the peaches were plentiful and therefore---cheap. Thankfully I had separated the berries into recipe amounts and heat-sealed the bags.  Only one, that I had already opened and lazily closed with a rubber band, leaked onto the floor and a door shelf of the freezer but not onto the carpet.

Fortunately the peaches aren't cheap enough yet.  Why would I say fortunately?  Didn't I mean unfortunately?  Nope!

We still had quarts of peaches that we had bottled two and three years ago, allowing me to "kill two birds" without the work of having to remove any of the stones---or peach skin!

and Raspberry-Peach Jam

While I love the raspberry-peach jam recipe I have used for years,


I was never overly excited about the package of jello it required and I don't like the thought of  packaged pectin or its price. So, this time around I used another recipe I found on the Internet. It is great --- just like my grandma used to make it. It thickens by cooking "down" so you get  less but without commercial pectin or "cow hoof" jello.

It is  from Patricia Larsen on a Taste of Home site. It took first place at her local county fair. Her  basic recipe is given here with my comments in green. You can check out her readers' comments by clicking below---they include using Splenda in place of sugar.


  • 2-2/3 cups finely chopped peeled peaches  (that amounted to just under two quarts, after draining them and quickly blending them)
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed raspberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


  • In a Dutch oven, combine all ingredients. (I used a stock pot and while the ingredients were only a  few inches deep it still splattered out during the boiling and stirring time.) Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Bring to a full rolling boil; boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; skim off foam. (for some reason I didn't have foam with any of the batches I made.)
  • Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. head-space. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Note: add 1 minute to the processing time for each 1,000 feet of additional altitude over 1,000 feet. Yield: 5 half-pints.(I used pint jars which averaged out to four half-pints)
I followed the advice of one of the reader comments and used the drained bottled peaches with total success.

You should probably do as they say and not as I do

Current information for jams and jellies, as has always been with all fruits, is to process the bottles in a water bath for about 15 minutes. I ignored this advise.  While I have always processed all  fruits in a water bath, for 45 years I have followed the old practice of pouring the boiling jam into hot sterilized jars, sealing them immediately with lids and rings, and turning them upside down on a folded bath towel.  When I turn them upright they have always sealed. And have never molded.

Possibly modern research has discovered this NEED to also process the jams and jellies but sometimes "modern" is based on overreaction and/or over-the-top and unnecessary caution (maybe because of an isolated case caused by an sloppily un-sterilized jar or . . . worry of a lawsuit.)

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