Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Bargain Hunter

It all started with a recipe.

The morning was warm and sunny when I stumbled out of bed to let the dogs out. News reports were all about stupid things political candidates said recently, but Anna Olson was making grilled Pork Ribs. Richard has two days off, so it's laundry and a bit of shopping - I'm looking for inexpensive apples, Sure Jell & tiny 125ml jars.

I want to make apple pie filling to store in the freezer for later this winter, and I want the jars to make tiny fruit pies in. I mentioned it in yesterdays post, about the recipe I found online at, Not Martha's Blog, for the tiny pies made
and stored frozen in jars, then taken out of the freeze, lids remove, brought to room temp and baked. And all the other recipes I could think of for making and storing in the jars. But I get ahead of myself.

Nobody seems to have apples for a good price. You see, there's the store price, then what I think they should cost, and what I am willing to pay. We live in BC, where apples grow plentiful, and should have access to good apples at a fair price. I WILL NOT pay $8.00 for a 5 pound bag of scabby apples, while they ship out all the good apples to the Prairie provinces and the US. Nope, uh uh, won't do it.

Many of the stores usually have huge bins of apples this time of year for a reasonable price, around 70 to 80 cents a pound. Not this year. Quality Foods had the best price I could find, some battered looking Mac's for 98 cents a pound. I bought 4 pounds of the best I could pick out. Their jars were too expensive. I wont pay $7.99 for 12 tiny jars. Nor will I pay $3.00 for Bernardin Freezer Jelling powder.

We get lunch and go to the Victoria Quay to eat it, watching the Turkey Vultures circling over the canal as they look for dead fish in the water. Toss a bit of carrot and celery to the two young Ravens who drop by, demanding a toll to eat in their territory. Then it's off to Walmart where I am sure I will find a good price on Pectin...

...not so much. They didn't have what I wanted, and while what they did have was less expensive than Quality Foods, I only bought one at their price. I did, however, find a bargain on some Chrysanthemums. At Quality Foods they wanted $12.99 for their Mums. Walmart had a clearance sale - you know me and clearance sales on plants. $2.00 for a big pot of beautiful Mums, so I bought one Bronzey-Yellow one, one Wine colored one and one that is Wine with a Yellow heart. Good Deal!

Back in the van, Richard suggests checking out Extra Foods, because we are there, to see if they have any jars or pectin. My expectations are low for finding either item, but what the heck, may as well look. We wander the store, finally finding the jars and pectin waaaayy back in the far corner. The jars are a decent price, $5.99 a box. I notice the label underneath says "disc" which usually means discontinued. I put one in the cart, wander over to the pectin, can't find what I want but the Bernardin I got at Walmart is even cheaper here so I get a package. Then decide I need one more box of jars, if they really are discontinued.

I go through the checkout with my pectin and two cases of jars. Now bear in mind, I always know about how much the total of my purchases is - I had guestimated it at close to $16.00. The teller checks me through and asks for just over $8.81. Hmmmmmm. My heartbeat accelerates. The lower price can only mean one thing...

...BARGAIN! "disc" really means we-are-selling-these-cases-of-jars-at-a-ridiculously-low-price-so-some-woman-in-a-pink-tshirt-will-come-along-and-buy-them-all.

I quickly hand off the two cases I just bought to Richard, mumbling as fast as I can while pushing him out the door of the store, that the jars are on clearance 2 for 1 and I am going to get the rest and will meet him in the van.

I quickly clear the shelf, 10 more cases, and hold my breath while going through the checkout again, half expecting her to say the price was a mistake. Then quickly out to the van. Richard shakes his head at me "wow, found a good deal, did you?"

Now I am home with my bounty, and have to find a spot to store the jars until I am ready to use them. I have placed the 3 Chrysanthemums out in the sunshine where they will thrive. Trimmed 4 ragged pieces off them, putting them in a jar of water, maybe they'll root and I'll have more mums to pot up. Oh and I still have two Mum's I saved over from last year that are ready to bloom as well.

And those tiny fruit pies? After dinner, when Richard is out from underfoot, I will take a frozen pie shell out of the freezer, thaw it slightly, roll it on a floured board, cut out small circles of dough from it, carefully place them in a couple of jars, and fill them with mincemeat - because I have a jar in the cupboard and it is quick and easy - cover the tiny pies with a small circle of dough, poke steam holes, set the jars on a silpat covered cookie sheet and bake them in the oven. Then...

...savor each tiny delectable bite, thoroughly enjoying it, all the while thinking of the bargain I got that all started with a recipe.

Yeah I know, as Kate would say, BITZ!

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