Disorganization - costs food $$!

mommabirdSeptember 1, 2009

Disorganization cost me a big chunk of my food budget this past week. I picked raspberries to make jam for $3 a pound at a pick-your-own farm. I picked 10 lbs. ($30) plus a bag of sugar to make jam ($3).

I picked on Friday, knowing that:

1. Raspberries mold very quickly so I had a tight timeframe to make jam!

2. DS had a football game Fri evening, 2 DS had soccer games Sat, and we had a family reunion Sunday.

So - suddenly it's Sunday morning, no jam in sight, and I relaize I will be gone for 14 to 16 hours. By the time I would get home those 10 lbs of berries would be a moldy mess. So I decide to dump all the berries into my biggest crock pot and leave it on "low" all day, plus dump in the sugar.

NOT A GOOD IDEA! Crock pot cooked raspberries don't turn into jam. They turn into a grey-brown goo. It tasted OK but looked AWFUL. The reason I make jam is to give to people for Xmas - and I certainly could not give that gross looking mess as gifts!

So - time and effort of picking berries, lots of money, a big mess, and I'm left wiht a gross goo. And I knew UP FRONT that my weekend was insane. If I'd been organized, I could have picked Thursday and made the jam during the day Friday. Hindsight's 20/20 - but I need to develop a little organized foresight!

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Sorry you had such an expensive lesson....and raspberries are my favorite, so I really sympathize with you. I have occasionally overpicked berries for jam, so I measure the amount for a batch and put it in a ziploc bag and toss into the freezer to deal with later.

About 30 years ago I had an opportunity to stay at home for about 6 months. I decided I would be as frugal as possible. My husband pitched a pair of slacks that were worn out, but I decided to take the zipper out of them to use to replace a broken one in another pair of slacks. I must have spent two hours with a seam ripper pulling those navy blue threads on the navy blue fabric, to get that darn thing out. Finally, it was free! For storing, I pulled up the tab to close it and wouldn't you know I ran that thing up and right off the zipper! I never again have tried to salvage anything more than the odd button or two.
And I'm not sure what that tale has to do with raspberry jam..........


    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 11:40PM
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Yikes, good lesson and thanks for sharing. I know that I'm pretty sick when I have to take expensive produce to the compost bin. So while I'm not a Jam maker I can relate to the frustration of food waste.
What changed for me on the normal day to day food waste issue was oddly enough, wanting to lose some weight. I started planning meals at least a week in advance and not surprisingly better planning has led to almost no waste.
I am sorry about your jam!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 10:59AM
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Absolutely! And not just food! I just ran across a receipt from my daughter's tetanus shot from a "non preferred provider" which could have been completely reimbursed... if I had turned it in within a year (!!!) of the visit. I had the form filled in, made copies of the receipt and didn't make that last step of putting it in an envelope for, well, 368 days! Darn!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 2:44PM
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I learned a similar lesson last fall. I bought some lovely kirby cucumbers to make pickles. (I have a recipe from my Grandmother). I washed them, set them out on a table and left them for a week. When I decided I had time to make pickles, I picked one up. Squishy moldy!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 4:13PM
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I feel your pain - Ya Ya, who just cleaned out the refrigerator yesterday and it wasn't a pretty sight! Sheesh!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Sorry you lost all those berries. I've learned valuable lessons with food before also. Now I don't buy perishables to cook unless I absolutely know I'm going to cook them that very next day.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 11:26PM
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I never make jam in the summer. Most of the time it is just too hot.

I mash them, measure enough for a batch, mark the container with the amount-If it calls for lemon juice I add it then and store the freezer. I make sure I have enough certo on hand--because most times you can't buy it in the winter.

Then on a cold winter's day I make the jam and jelly. The night before, I bring up the amount of fruit I'm going to make into jam or jelly to let it thaw. In the morning I dump it in the pot, add the sugar and away I go. It turns out just as good as freshly made.

We have our own bushes so I often have extra berries. I mash them and freeze them in 1 or 2 cup quantities removing some of the seeds. For a special dessert, I make my favorite shortcake recipe or buy a flan or make white cake cupcakes, which I split in half. On top of the cake I pour some thawed, saved Raspberries, then a spoon or 2 of custard or vanilla pudding, top with whipped cream and some berries--I like Europe's best. Absolutely scrumptious

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:13AM
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Two years ago, we had a bumper crop of apples from the trees on our property. We picked the best ones, and put them into two bushel baskets ... and then we never used them!

I felt awful. But I was too sick and tired to do anything with them. Maybe I should have given them away. But I didn't want to admit that I couldn't handle the process of converting those apples into something that would store better, such as applesauce or frozen pies or canned pie filling.

I didn't want to admit to myself that my fatigue might keep me from doing even something that I WANTED to do.

I think that is the key. I'm figuring this out as I'm typing. You can make all kinds of nice plans, but do you have the time and energy to actually do what took you only seconds to write on your TO DO list? Are you simply cramming too many expectations into each day?

And then, have you noticed that if you are able to tell yourself that you are only going to do, say, three things today, and are able to cut out all distractions, you can get tons of work DONE?

I love it when that happens.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:32AM
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Spontaneity isn't in my makeup so when it does happen then the best laid plans for perishables does cost $$$. I debate with myself as to which costs more--going to the store as I cook or stocking up and hope I will be able to follow through without interruption.

To your original question/though--I find that now that I don't have a job (2,200 laid off at my facility of a major financial institution), I am less effective in accomplishing routine tasks and special home projects.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:54AM
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OK, I have to revise. Last night, I had to the toss some stuff from the fridge, so in the interest of full disclosure, I would have to say meal planning has led to "greatly reduced" rather than "almost no" waste.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 9:41AM
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I feel so sill - I didn't even think of freezing the berries until I read your responses!!! I should have frozen them. That would have given me time to deal with them later.

See how I get caught in a "thinking rut?" All I was thinking was "cook these into jam" so that's why I thought of the crock pot. I need to crawl out of the rut and look around for other options.

Thanks for the ideas for next time!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 12:24PM
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"Thinking rut" -- that's a good word for it. Sometimes I get into a thinking rut, too, even though I try so hard to define the problem in order to find the most simple solution.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2009 at 12:41PM
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very true, i threw out some food in garbage today..bad girl

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 8:10PM
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should this happen again, if you have gotten food or bought it, if it is freezable..if you know you won't get to it right away toss it in zipper bag in the freezer.

with just 2 of us we used to have things spoil all the time..hubby is a really bad eater and i can't eat everything..(already 100 pounds overweight)..so i have tried to remember to freeze things that are too much for me to eat right away..leaving on a small amount of food for hubby to warm up..or eat..(he basically would prefer to live on ice cream and junk food..and i can't force him to eat right).

i've learned..if i fix a meal and he doesn't eat his..i am better off eating it myself or freezing it..rather than throwing it out..in a week with mold on it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 12:39PM
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