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LJWorld.com weblogs Shop Talk with Jenn and Julie

Aldi Produce Has Me in a Jam

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I ran out to Aldi Saturday morning to grab some frozen fruit ... when I did a quick "fly by" on the produce I discovered their 1# containers of strawberries were only $0.99! What a deal! I bought up three containers, some grapes and bananas to throw together a quick fruit salad for the company were were having for dinner. I was kicking myself as I left thinking "I should be buying up more of those, what a great price!". I didn't buy them because I was assuming I wouldn't have the time to do much with them in the next few days; I'm trying to be more realistic about my time constraints this summer (go ahead, laugh).

The thought of these super-berries turned into an obsession and I kept thinking there had to be something easy I could do (besides freezing the strawberries, which I didn't want to do). Then I remembered that I have all of the canning supplies I would need to quick make up some jam! I LOVE strawberry jam and we haven't had any of our own homemade version for nearly two years!

I'm back to thinking I can do it all so I'll be making another trip to Aldi today in hopes that maybe I can snag some more strawberries to make us some Jam!

Canning (or freezing) is a great way to control what food you are giving to your friends and family AND a good way to save yourself money! According to my Ball Blue Book of Preserving, here is how you can whip up some jam for yourself too:

Ingredients:

2 quarts strawberries

1 cup water

1 package pectin (check your box to see if you will need to add sweetener)

Directions:

Wash, drain and hull strawberries. Crush the strawberries (I use my potato masher!) and measure out 5cups. Mix the strawberries, water and pectin together, stirring to dissolve the pectin. Bring the mixture to a boil and add whatever sweetener you are using according to the directions on your box of pectin. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. If your mixture starts to gel and get too firm before the entire minute is up, pull it off the heat!

Laddle the hot jam mixture into hot half pint jars. Fill the jars leaving 1/4" headspace at the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles from the jars, attach the two piece lids and then process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Results:

Approximately 6 half pint jars of jam for your pantry!

If you want to make this an even bigger family adventure, you can skip the Aldi shopping and head straight out to the strawberry fields and pick your own! There are lots of local "Pick Your Own" farms with all kinds of fruits, depending on the season. You can visit Pick Your Own.org to find information on farms near you. This website also has a lot of helpful information for first time canners!

Another option, if the above instructions are a little daunting, is to make freezer jam. I've never actually made this myself but I've seen recipes all over the place, including these at about.com. It looks very simple. If you have experience with freezer jam, or a favorite freezer jam recipe....please share!!

Just in case you aren't interested in, or are allergic to, strawberries.... you might also be interested in these other produce finds at Aldi:

Pineapples $0.99

3 pk. Colored Peppers $2.49 (This same package was $4.99 at Target!)

Mushrooms $1.50/package

I hope you have a great weekend...and enjoy that great produce!

Comments

overthemoon 3 years, 6 months ago

Any idea where these super cheap strawberries come from and what chemicals are used on them?

SuperJenn 3 years, 6 months ago

Even more expensive fruit is often covered in chemicals, and organic produce has residue from people handling it and the natural fertilizers, etc that are often used on them. I would never recommend anyone eat fruit without cleaning it first!

I also listed a site above, PickYourOwn.org, that will lead you to many local growers that allow people to come out and pick their own fruits and vegetables throughout the year as different varieties come in season. Finding a grower who follows your standards for growing and then sticking with them can be a great way to get fresh produce.

I have been using this make-your-own veggie and fruit spray that I heard about from my Sister In Law several years ago and it is great! We have a family friend who is a vegan chef and she agrees this does a great job of cleansing your produce.

http://www.oprah.com/food/Sophie-Ulianos-Veggie-Cleaner-Spray

ksriver2010 3 years, 6 months ago

If they are at Aldi's, and 99 cents, that pretty much answers your question. You get what you pay for.

Kiana Griffin 3 years, 6 months ago

Check out Wohlez Farm just south of town. You can pick your own strawberries. You can't get any fresher than that! :)

http://www.wohletzfarmfresh.com

SuperJenn 3 years, 6 months ago

There are lots of pick your owns in the area! The site I listed above, PickYourOwn.org works with local growers/farmers to list their times, websites and information about when their fruit is ready to be picked. We've gone many times to pick and the kids love it....my husband and I even made a little date out of it one time!

Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

Aldi's has had these strawberries on sale for the last couple of weeks and they are really good. We went through 4lbs last week & I bought another 4 for this week. The blueberries are a very good deal too at $1.49.

I bought one of the pineapples but I haven't sliced it up yet. It does smell really good so I am anticipating a nice juicy fruit.

p>PickYourOwn.org also have very handy tips on all sorts of produce and how to store them. It is a great resource.

SuperJenn 3 years, 6 months ago

I heard from someone else about the pineapple... I was in such strawberry shock that I missed it :) I'm headed over there this afternoon so I'll grab one, too :)

Curtis Lange 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm not attacking you, so please don't take it that way. However, WHY are people so intent on adding an 's' to the end of Aldi and calling it Aldis. Its Aldi. "I'm going to Aldi." "Hey! Did you check out the specials at Aldi?" Can't even count how many times I've heard someone say it incorrectly. Its not just Aldi though. I've heard people say 'Walmarts' and 'Targets' too.

Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

No biggie. I used a possesive in error in my post.

Never heard "Walmarts" or "Targets" though unless the person was taking about more than one.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 6 months ago

It happens, haha. I tend to think faster than I type so a lot of times things look weird after I see them posted. :)

Even if someone was talking about more than one Walmart, it would still just be 'Walmart.' "I went to a couple Walmart stores looking for that elusive magic unicorn." I think the Aldi one bugs me so much just because it is an acronym for two German words (ALbrecht DIskount) and that I hear the incorrect usage so often, lol.

Curtis Lange 3 years, 6 months ago

Saying all that, Ron's usage below would be correct since he is talking about something the store stocks. "I think that Aldi's produce is..." Same would go for Walmart too. "Walmart's Great Value brand of bread tastes just as good as the name brand bread."

Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

This has a list of area pick your produce. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/apr...

I thought there was another article but I can't find it on here :(

Dog 3 years, 6 months ago

Aldi is a great place to shop for all types of food. I am not sure why "overthemoon" would question the quality. Quality, quantity and cost do not correlate when shopping at any grocery store. If you are curious about the quality of the berries pick up a container and check out the grower on the Internet. Most of the growers supply other grocery stores too.

Kris Adair 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the information. I received a free packet of freezer jam pectin from Ball at the Downtown Farmers Market yesterday and we ate all of the strawberries we purchased. Audrey loves to make freezer jam as we can enjoy homemade jam all year with minimal effort. Even a toddler can make it!

SuperJenn 3 years, 6 months ago

I actually picked up some of the same today because 1) I haven't done that before and 2)It seems a lot simpler with the kids and the heat. SO ... we are giving it a go tonight.

Katara 3 years, 6 months ago

Let us know how it turns out. I have been considering making freezer jam. It looks so easy but I've chickened out on making some.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 6 months ago

I have an agenda of my own, and that's because I think that Aldi's produce is not always the best value. Always shop around before you make a large purchase!

LadyJ 3 years, 6 months ago

I planted a strawberry bed two summers ago and this is the first year I am getting strawberries. Love going out in the morning to pick some to go with my breakfast. Planted raspberries and blackberries at the same time and they also are coming out this year. Blueberries bushes kept dying though. I want to thank the people at True Vine Ranch for telling me how to finally successfully grow blueberries. They are doing great, I can't wait till they're ripe. I will be having a fruitful year

LoveThsLife 3 years, 6 months ago

Good luck on your blueberry bushes! I've been looking into planting some myself, but it seems like the soil needs to be prepped to make it more acidic in this area. Any tips for when I take the plunge?

Also, did you ever find out why it took your strawberry plants so long? We planted some this year and nothing came of them. I was wondering if I did something wrong. Maybe they just take a little longer to get established???

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