Tag Archives: apples

Progress but a long way to go!

Today I tackled the basket of apples and Asian pears picked from our fledgling orchard yesterday. Last year I discovered this book.

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And another by her, preserving by the pint. Sometimes I follow the recipe, sometimes it is a springboard to create my own. Last fall I used one of her recipes to create my own Apple Cranberry Chutney. As the orchard harvest was mostly pears, it was modified to be 1/3 apples and 2/3 pears. Five pints of Chutney prepped and canned and it didn’t put a dent in the basket of pears. One of her recipes is for Ginger Pear Conserve, so I chopped double the called for quantity of pears, two oranges instead of one and doubled the rest of the ingredients to make 5 1/2 pints of the Conserve. It smelled so heavenly cooking with all of the ginger.

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I’ve used only about half of the basket of pears

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After dinner, a few more were processed using the peeler corer and chopping them small.  With a splash of lemon juice, some vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, it cooked down.

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Five pints of pear sauce canned.  One quart of chunks partially cooked and refrigerated as the base ring on my blender cracked and came off in my hand with half a blender full of hot cooked pear.  Tomorrow, I will try to buy a cheap hand mill and make a second batch of the pear sauce using the remaining partially cooked pears and peel and core the rest that won’t be stored for eating with sharp cheese.  While they canned, I ordered the replacement ring for my blender.  I love it as it has a glass jar and a strong motor.

All in all, it was a productive afternoon.

 

Fall Generosity

Saturday mornings are Farmers’ Market mornings and we drifted in to see what we could score to add to our own garden produce.  Most of my flowers are perennials and they are fading this late in the season as are the sunflowers, so I purchased a bouquet of annuals from our favorite county organic farmers, Stonecrop Farm.  Their flowers and produce are always superior.  Beets and cucumbers were also acquired from their weekend offerings.

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Some lamb chops, beef, eggplant, salad mix and corn were added at other stalls to provide us with fresh local food goodness this week.  We got home with it after a stop for dog food in time to put it away and venture back out just a bit later to meet my 92 year old Dad and Stepmom for lunch.  They drove up yesterday to attend the wedding of one of my cousins this afternoon.  It was great to see him, his health improved from a couple of months ago, when we last saw him for a short 24 hours.

While we were out, we left the hens free ranging as there was no fear of the dogs being accidentally let out.  We came home to find they had breached the low fence around one of my perennial beds, digging in the spoiled straw bedding from the chicklets brooder that I had tossed around them as mulch.

This morning I realized that the Asian pears and apples were beginning to drop from the trees, so it was time to harvest them.  The handmade basket is 22 X 10 X 7″ and the fledgling orchard rewarded us well.

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This is the first year that we have allowed fruit to set on the trees and though the apples were scarce, the Asian pears were generous.  We have harvested another large basket previously, many of which were taken to Northern Virginia with grandson #1 as he loves them.  I will make chutney, ginger pear sauce and perhaps freeze a few.  That will be tomorrow’s task.

While doing a bit of weeding in the vegetable garden, I picked an ear of popcorn to see how it was doing.  Looks like we will be enjoying homegrown popcorn this winter.

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There was another colored egg this afternoon, each day the size is getting more average and bluer in color.  I still don’t know how many of the Americaunas are laying, but as I am getting only one per day, I guess it is only one.  With the summer visitors gone and with daughter’s family not really being egg eaters, I am going to have to get eating or sell a couple of dozen to friends who like the fresh eggs.

When I arrived back from Northern Virginia yesterday, I realized that we are entering Stink Bug battle time.  I collected more than a dozen inside the house, found dozens more outside the screens.  Winter before last, they were horrible, last year not as bad.  It looks like this may be another bad year.  It is unfortunate that they want to come in just as the weather is right to have the windows open to enjoy the beautiful weather.

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What a nasty pest they are.  None of the homemade or commercial traps really seem to reduce their presence.  Any suggestions other than poisons?

 

 

Rainy Autumn Afternoons

are perfect for processing a half bushel of apples.  The apples peeled and cored, some chopped fine for applesauce, another 7 1/2 pints canned, others chopped for Apple Cranberry Chutney, 4 pints, 4 pounds pared and sliced and frozen for pies or cobblers during the holiday or when guests arrive.  Again I am thankful that I discovered the Peeler/corer tool, but it still took quite a while to prep all the apples and prepare the recipes for canning.

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Apple Cranberry Chutney

After trying Marisa McClellan’s Green Tomato Chutney in her book food in jars it seemed that apples would be perfect for a chutney.  After looking at various recipes, I created my own that turned a beautiful red color from the blush pink of the Rome Apples and the red skins of the cranberries.

Apple Cranberry Chutney

  • 2 qts.  mixed apples, pared, cored, chopped
  • 1 c yellow onion chopped
  • 1 c Cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 c Yellow seedless raisens
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 Pt. Raw Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c Brown Sugar

Place the cloves in a muslin bag or tea ball.  Add all ingredients to a large non reactive pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until reduced by half and thickened 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring frequently.  Remove the spice bag and the star anise.

Ladle into clean hot pint jars, wipe rims, add hot lids and bands.  Water bath process for 15 minutes or pressure can at 11 PSI for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool, wipe and label jars.  Enjoy with roast meat or served over Neufchatel or goat cheese on crackers or baguette slices.

 Tomorrow, I harvest radishes, turnips, tomatillos, and peppers then cover as much of the remaining garden as I can with sheets and hope that we don’t really get a frost this early in October.  Many of the radishes and turnips will become Kimchee, the Tomatillos and peppers will become salsa and hot sauce.  This may be the end of the season for us or we may get lucky and have a few more weeks.

Tomorrow will also be a day to make a batch of Sauerkraut.  I see Roast Pork or chops with sauerkraut and chutney in our future.

It Can’t Be Over

Warm weather and garden season that is.  When I arrived home from last week’s wanderings, the woods were beginning to wear jewels.  I had seen a bit of the dark red Poison Ivy climbing the trees and the barest hints of color elsewhere, but by this week’s end there is much more color on the mountainsides.

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The Maple aka, the Tick tree as you can’t walk beneath it without acquiring at least one.
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The photo doesn’t show nearly the color the eye sees.
So I conceded and pulled out the fall banner and mini banner, the fall wreath, tablecloth, napkins and kitchen towels.  With no kids in the house and no Trick or Treaters come this far, I only put a few decorations out, a real pumpkin on the porch, a resin one on the front table, a ceramic ghost and ceramic lighted jack-o-lantern on the bookshelves.

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The table set with a large dried bottle gourd, a smaller gourd I painted at Garden Club years ago and a Burgess Buttercup squash from the garden.
So I have conceded, sort of, but I’m not ready for the early frost/potential hard freeze predicted for our region on Saturday night.  Today and tomorrow, I will harvest Tomatillos and peppers, drape a sheet over the peppers tomorrow eve in hopes that we either miss the frost or only have a short light one.  Sunday I may be able to find all of the Buttercup squash, Seminole Pumpkins and sweet potatoes, but I’m just not ready yet.

This is when I wish I had a portable hoophouse that could be put over the two beds that are still providing, hoping to extend their season by a few weeks.  Maybe next year.

Today as the rain comes in, I will can applesauce and apple slices.  Yesterday I started the cider vinegar. Tomorrow, we will bundle up and go buy meat for the freezer, leaving space for the 15 chickens that will be processed next weekend.