It can be overwhelming sometimes, but a key to frugal cooking is to not say no to free food (unless it's terribly unhealthy food. I mean, I say no to cookies and brownies all the time). This holds true even if preserving the food is a lot of work. But friends know I am willing to take free food so it won't be wasted. Case in point: my neighbor gives me free fish (missed out this week, we weren't home when he called). My engineer also goes fishing, and gave me a huge bag of mackerel. Need to figure out how to cook that. I think that will be a project for the long weekend. Maybe grill it.
This week in free food:
My boss brought in a big bushel of apples from his orchard. After a couple of days of letting other people have their fill, I took a huge bag home. Made homemade crockpot cinnamon-applesauce.
Totally unrelated to food, but my son had a fever/cough this week, and we spent 2 days at home. Our method when this happens is that my spouse and I split the day. We basically look at our schedules and see who can be at home when (with meetings, etc.) Of course, when he's traveling, it's all me.
Our farm had an "all the early girl tomatoes you can pick" day. Bring a friend, bring water, go nuts. My son was sick that day. So I sent my husband and said "3 or 4 lbs". He forgot about that and came home with 30 lbs. We did give some away to friends, but decided to do some canning. Thursday after work, we made salsa.
Canning is a lot of work. Not so much the CANNING part, which does require a big canning pot of boiling water and a smaller pot to keep the jars warm, but the blanching, peeling, chopping, and seeding of tomatoes. Chopping peppers and onions is easier. Lotta work for 6 pints (about 4 hrs, but not steady work). Doing something like this at the end of a work day is pretty tough, and I would not have been able to do it without the spouse. I cooked dinner that night too.
A random breakfast photo. After the night of canning, I was too tired to prep my overnight oats. So instead, for breakfast the next day: yogurt, banana, Love Grown foods granola, and some peanuts.
Saturday, in between triathlon training and my annual quilter's potluck, we canned spaghetti sauce. Again, lotta work to chop and simmer the veggies, but the actual canning part is pretty fast. Spouse does the canning part (cleaning the jars, filling them, putting them in the big pot).
Gotta go find a missing lego...