Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bountiful Baskets and a Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe

Eating healthy is a constant struggle for me.  I find it helps if I stock up on healthy snacks, like fruits and veggies, and don't even bring the junk food into my house.  Once the junk is here, I can't help but eat it.  And, no, I can never stop at one bite, one cookie, one chip.  I like to eat it until it's gone.

For the last six months, I've participated in something called "Bountiful Baskets."  It's basically a food co-op.  I go on their website every other Monday and place an order.  I always order one "basket," which is 50% fruits and 50% vegetables, costing $15.  Sometimes I order "add ons," like loaves of homemade bread, granola, or bulk amounts of fruit.  The add-ons vary each week.

On Saturday, I go and pick up my basket.  It's always fun to see what's in the basket because it varies each week.  Whatever it is, it's always a LOT of stuff.  This week, for example, I got 2 acorn squash, romaine, kale, a cucumber, 5 mangos, 6 tomatoes, a bag of plums, a bag of apricots, a pineapple, a bag of apples, a honeydew melon and a huge bunch of bananas in my basket for $15.  I also ordered 5 loaves of homemade honey wheat bread for $12 and 8 packs of strawberries for $11.

I like that it forces me to try new foods (like Jerusalem artichokes...delicious!) and to be creative about cooking all of these goodies.  This week, I froze some of the strawberries for smoothies (see my recipes for green smoothies here).  I also made strawberry freezer jam.

If you've never made freezer jam, you have to try it.  It's so easy and doesn't require any tricky canning techniques.   Best of all, it only takes five minutes max to make a batch.

Strawberry Freezer Jam
1 2/3 cup strawberries (hulled and pounded with a potato masher), this is about 1 pint
2/3 cup sugar
2 T instant fruit pectin
This is fruit pectin.  Make sure you get "instant" pectin that doesn't require cooking.  It's usually in the same grocery store aisle as baking goods.

Mix the sugar and pectin.  Add the smushed strawberries and stir for three minutes.  Put in a storage container (I just use tupperware).  The jam is ready after about 30 minutes.  It can be stored in the fridge for 3 weeks or the freezer for a year.

The jam is great on bread, but I LOVE to use it as a topping on vanilla ice cream (I know, I know...not so healthy) or mixed into vanilla Greek yogurt.  I might even eat a spoonful straight out of the jar when no one is looking.

This post isn't sponsored by Bountiful Baskets, but I encourage you to check them out.  Right now, they are in 20 states, but if they are not in your state, you can contact them about starting a new site. 

Like me, I know many of you are cheap thrifty and struggle to feed your families good, healthy, "real" food.  Bountiful Baskets is great because it keeps my fridge stocked and I hate to let food go bad, so I feel obligated to find ways to prepare this healthy food (rather than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven!  Oh, wait, I might still make pizza or fish sticks, but I always try to make something healthy to go along with it).

As always, I'm interested in any tips or tricks you have to eat healthily and/or frugally.


Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

I cannot believe what a deal that is!! All those fruits & veggies for $15???? I swear, after meat, the biggest part of my grocery budget goes towards produce. I have to see if there's something like that around here - thanks for sharing!!
The freezer jam sounds delish, and right up my alley with it's ease of preparation…I'm going to add it to the kid's summer bucket list :)

Elizabeth@themustardceiling said...

Wow, Suzy, lucky you! I wish I could find something similar around here...we don't even have a farmer's market. What a great way to keep fresh fruits and veggies in the house. I am like you, I have to keep all of the junk food out of the house or I snack on it all of the time.

I'm going to have to try your freezer jam recipe, it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing.

Ange said...

What a great price for all that produce! I am going to check and see if there is one near me. Thanks for the tips! The jam looks delicious but can you believe that not one single person in our family eats jam or jelly? Apparently we are crazy.

The Bold Abode said...

I've always wanted to do a co-op like that!

We always made strawberry freezer jam every summer growing up....it was sooo good... we'd eat it on everything!