Fall is for apples!

IMG_0066What’s better about fall than making applesauce with all those gorgeous fall apples??!!! My recipe is a little complicated, but oh! so worth it. Follow the recipe carefully for some of the most delicious applesauce you’ve ever eaten. IMG_0070I’ve been told it tastes like apple pie filling, but better! Wash, peel and slice your apples. Cook them over med high heat in a covered stock pot. When soft, add 2 tsp of cinnamon. Voila! That’s all. It truly is delicious applesauce. We like to leave it chunky, full of tasty bits of apple. IMG_0064Can it in a water bath canner for 20 (for quarts) and you’ll be able to enjoy this special treat all winter long. I also freeze some, to no ill effect, for a different option. I used all the cores and peelings to make apple juice. It was a breeze in my steam juicer!IMG_0176

Goobers

IMG_9972Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now. I’ve never seen a peanut plant. I knew they grew underground, but that was the extent of my peanut knowledge. Now we have seen first hand how they grow, when and how to harvest, what a healthy plant looks like, how more peanuts grow from the little suckers that creep along the ground. IMG_9980It was great to visit with friends, and enjoy time in their garden on a cool morning. We dug and dug and dug. Only a handful of peanuts grew on each vine. They tell us more would have grown if the ground had not been mounded up so high. I’m glad to share in the knowledge of their experience.IMG_9977 After we dug an entire row, we had a rubbermaid full of peanuts. Jeremie is especially excited about this harvest because he is thinking he will be able to tolerate these heirloom legumes. Peanut butter from the store bothers him, but there is so much garbage put on conventional plants, it may not be the actual peanut to which he is allergic. It could be the sprout inhibitors, the pesticides or preservatives that make him feel ill. After we dry these nuts, we will better be able to tell if he can tolerate them or not. Homemade peanut butter! IMG_9984We also shared in the harvest of our friend’s blue corn. Isn’t it beautiful?! I’m told it makes excellent corn meal for breads, muffins, waffles and more. We enjoyed this field trip on our second day of “school”, realizing that learning happens all the time and anywhere, not just around the table or at a desk! IMG_9987

You say Potato, I say Patatoh

Canning potatoes. Not something I’ve ever done before. But inspired by a good friend who got a great deal on organic potatoes from the local food buying club, I learned how! Washing, chopping, blanching, canning. It was a big day! IMG_9921We started right after breakfast and went til after midnight. One of the jars didn’t seal, so we got a chance to taste and see just what canned potatoes would be like. I fried them up in the cast iron skillet with butter and a few spices. They were done in 5 minutes and tasted nice and crisp! We like to have fried potatoes for breakfast with eggs, but it’s always a hassle waiting for the potatoes to cook. Now breakfast can be on the table in minutes!IMG_9925 The more I use the pressure canner, the easier it is. I still check and double check and triple check the times and gauge readings, but usually I am able to step away and do a few other tasks while the jars are being processed. IMG_9926

Bubble, bubble pasta pot

IMG_9691Boil me some pasta, nice and hot. Homemade pasta is on the menu tonight. I’ve never made pasta before, and was surprised with how easy and quick it was. Flour and eggs? That’s it? Mix and knead til smooth.IMG_9692 Then roll out between two silpats. Roll it nice and thin. Next time I’ll go thinner. Then cut into whatever shape you desire. Next I want to try cheese stuffed tortellini. It all goes smoother with a bunch of little helpers in the kitchen. IMG_9693 The noodles turned out delicious! Homemade noodles floating in broth made from pasture-raised chickens. Living the dream, folks, living the dream. IMG_9690

millions and millions

Probiotics. Millions of them. That’s what we’re growing here today. There’s nothing healthier than a jarful of fermented, raw sauerkraut. And few things as tasty! All of the kids like this tangy, sour treat. And making it yourself is easier than you think. It’s very difficult to grow cabbage here in the south because it grows best in a long cool spring. But I found a beautiful head at the farmer’s market and Charlotte has been asking for sauerkraut, so I snatched it up. IMG_9076Simply chop it up, sprinkly a couple tablespoons of salt on it, let it sit for a few hours and then put it in a clean jar. Pound it down making sure the juice that is released covers the cabbage. There are some recipes that call for whey, or carroway seeds, but we don’t like the results of those recipes. So we make it plain and simple with just salt. Let it sit at room temp for a couple to three days, depending on how sour you like it. I recently purchased a “pickle-pro” which is a contraption that fits on a mason jar and keeps out any yucky mold or fungus. But I have fermented veggies for years without one and very rarely did I have a mold problem. And if mold develops, you can just skim it off and use the good stuff underneath. We like to eat this as a side to any dinner, on hotdogs or burgers, instead of pickles, and in salads. It is full of healthy bacteria that is so good for your gut!

Suh-weeeeet!

Some friends of ours offered to let us come pick some of their sweet corn from a large field that their extended family had planted. They had done a mega-day of shucking, cutting, freezing, and processing and were back in their home state of Alabama.IMG_9022 We were only too glad to come enjoy the fruits of their labor seeing as how the racoons are eating more of my corn in the garden than we are. We waited until after 4 in the afternoon to pick, thinking it might be cooler, but not a chance. We sweated and toiled (although not very hard) under the late afternoon sun.

Why aren't YOU picking?!

Why aren’t YOU picking?!

It didn’t take long and when we were loading the corn in the van we counted 465 ears! We have been busy shucking, washing and cutting these beautiful white ears of corn. IMG_9024Smothered in butter, creamed, in soups, there is no shortage of ways we enjoy this delicious vegetable. We are so thankful for friends who share their harvest with us less fortunate gardeners :)

Work now, Feast later

Whew! Does everything come in from the garden at the same time?! My canner and propane cooker have sure gotten a workout these past few days. I’ve never canned green beans before, but I’ve eaten the bounty of others’ work before. Boy, are they delicious! So 100 jars of beans? Hope so!IMG_9027 Here’s my favorite method of canning tomatoes. The resulting sauce can be used for a delicious marinara sauce over pasta. For a savory pizza sauce. It’s very versatile. And I love knowing that everything in it comes from the garden. First, roast washed and halved tomatoes in the oven under high heat. We’re talking hot, like 450. For 40 minutes. Believe me it’s worth heating up the kitchen for this deep, smoky flavor. A lot of the juices will run out of the tomatoes so make sure to put them on a rack on top of the baking sheet. IMG_9025Then take those fire burned beauties and whiz them up in the blender. To 8 sheets of tomatoes I added 4 smallish red onions, 10 garlic cloves, a large handful of basil and a couple tablespoons of salt. I kept the sauce on low in a stockpot to keep it warm while the tomatoes all were getting roasted. Water bath can them for 35 minutes. To be on the safe side you can add 1T of lemon juice or 1/4 tsp of citric acid to each quart jar. The smell in the kitchen during this process was mouth-watering!