Freezing pineapple and pickling eggs

23 October 2013
If you can't grow vegetables due to having no time, bad health, young children, or no space, the answer for you might be to buy local seasonal fruit and vegetables. You might have a vegetable garden but not for the full year and buy your local vegies when the garden isn't growing, like we do. As you know we grow a fairly large garden but no matter what time of year, I'm also on the lookout for cheap, good quality, seasonal produce that we can use to supplement what we grow. Sometimes it will be a box of produce; at other times it will be smaller amounts of something we don't eat a lot of. I think this is one of the best ways of maximising the quality and nutrition of the food I put on the table as well as paying the lowest price for it. We all know we can but cheap food, but buying fresh, local, nutritious food, well, that's a challenge. You need to keep your eyes open for the bargains.

There are so many things you can bring into this category but let me show you an example of something I did here yesterday. I live in an areas surrounded by pineapple farms supplying Golden Circle. Often at this time of year in pineapple season, there are a lot of local pineapples for sale at roadside stalls. I just checked the Woolworth's online store and a fresh pineapple is selling there for $3.98 each. At a nearby roadside stall, local pineapples are selling at two large for $1.80 or three small for $3.00. When we drove passed the other day, I bought four large pineapples for $3.60 or 90 cents each. I have no need for fresh pineapple now, the season will go on for a while yet, but as soon as the holiday makers arrive, the prices will go up. They'll never be as high as the supermarket prices, but they'll be higher than they are now. I wanted to preserve some pineapple for later in the year when the prices will be higher, it will be hotter and the idea of local pineapple and passionfruit on a pavlova, or a glass of pineapple crush, will be very appealing. The passionfruit is already in a sealed container in my freezer. I've been putting aside our home-grown passionfruit so I'll have it on hand over Christmas when I know they'll be expensive. Oh my! I just checked the price of passionfruit at the local Woolworths and they're $1.98 each! How can they justify that? I wonder how much they paid the growers for them.

As you can see, you have to outdo the supermarkets at their own game. We're all on budgets and we are all hoping to get the best value for money. I think this is a very intelligent way to buy. It's similar to having a big canning/preserving session with boxes of produce or buckets from the backyard, but it's on a smaller scale for the food you don't eat a lot of. If you're in a food producing region, you'll be able to do something similar.

The entire pineapple processing exercise took me about 20 minutes. All I had to do was top and tail the pineapples, skin them, chop them into chunks, and put them in the food processor to do the heavy work. They'll sit in the freezer quite nicely until needed, probably sometime in December when pineapples will probably be five dollars each. And what did I pay? Ninety cents. If you're in Brisbane, or on the Sunshine Coast, I bought these sweet and delicious pines at the Matilda service station. If you go by in the next week or two, drop in to see if they're still there.

I know there are homemakers - women and men, who are in dairy regions and they buy large quantities of cream when the price is much lower than normal. As soon as the cream gets home, it's made into butter. This is such a excellent way of getting good produce at a low price. I make cultured butter when we can get the bulk cream.

Here is a pickling liquid recipe for boiled eggs from Mother Earth News. This is great for preserving eggs for a month. This amount will cover eight hard-boiled duck eggs, 12 hard boiled hen eggs or 20 hard boiled quail eggs.

Golden Pickling Liquid for Eggs
  • 1½ cups cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons pickling or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
Fill a sterilised litre/quart jar with peeled, hard-boiled eggs.
Boil the pickling ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes then pour it over the eggs. Screw on the lid. Store in the fridge for up to a month.

Do you have any handy hint to share about the storage of eggs?

Andrea left a comment here yesterday, and when I checked her blog, she'd written an excellent post on this same subject, here is the link so you can read what she has to say as well. Andrea's experiences with her group of women in a buying group might give you some good ideas about how to do something similar in your neighbourhood.

I'm sure there are many other examples out there, please share your story so we can all build our skills in this important area. What have you been able to do in your region?