Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Apple A Day

Although our local farmers' market was a bust this week due to the rain, I did run across a big apple sale and grabbed a bushel.  I've never canned applesauce before, but it is one of the very few things everyone in the family likes.  

I have to say, applesauce was way easier to make and can than the tomatoes I did in the spring.  Basically, the apples were quartered, (with bad spots removed), heated up on the stove till soft and crushed.  I used my KitchenAid grinder with the strainer attachment and it was smooth sailing!  I fed in the hot pieces and the machine churned out beautiful applesauce with no seeds or skins.  The sauce was very sweet and I added a little citric acid to keep the color and it gave it just the right amount of tanginess for my taste.  I added cinnamon to half and canned it all.  I ended up with 14 quarts of sauce and just over a half gallon of juice (and a burned hand-applesauce explodes out of the pan as it gets hot).  Because I cooked the apples with the skins on, the juice is a light pink color and delicious.  I am planning to boil down some of the juice to make a syrup.  Not sure what I will use it on, but I'm picturing it poured over vanilla ice cream, yum!

Since I had the canner going, I decided to finish up the salsa and pizza sauce I had been planning to make all summer long and then picked enough hot peppers to pickle a few pints.  I also chopped and froze a few bags of sweet peppers.  All in all, not a bad day's work.

In garden news, I have decided the bugs on my Tabasco pepper are not beneficials, but dreaded stink bugs.  I was able to remove all visible ones and will keep checking to make sure I got them all.  

My butternuts and cucumbers are dropping tiny fruit.  The larger butternuts (over a few inches) look fine, but many of the tiny ones are turning yellow, then dark on the end and the flower rots so I'm guess blossom end rot.  I didn't test my soil this fall, but the weather the last two weeks has been wet, wet, wet.  It had rained every day for the last week and we just came off of a three day flood watch.  I have some blossom end rot spray I got for tomatoes but never needed it so I'm wondering if I can use it on the squash and cukes or is it too late to correct the deficiency?  I need to get a little better with the preventative stuff so I'm not trying to put out fires.  An ounce of prevention, and all that.

The mailman brought me a package today and I now have something new to plant.  I just love deliveries for the garden!  I think I've said, at least a dozen times this year, that I am not adding anything new to the garden.  Well, I can't resist a good deal and, perennial veggies are a great deal.  Plant once and harvest over and over.  I am now the proud owner of 25 sets of Egyptian Walking Onions.  I read about them, and other perennial/wild aliums, in a book on vegetable gardening in Florida.  When I was younger, we had wild onion or wild garlic in our yard and I loved eating it.  My friends always thought that was so strange.  "She's eating the grass again!"  I was so happy to find the walking onions online along with wild onion (I was unable to find perennial leeks, everyone was sold out for the season).    

I'll have to figure out a place for them-that's quickly becoming the story of my life-but I have a few ideas.  I should have some space in the garden opening up this fall.  I was given the ok by my husband to move my potatoes, garlic and annual onions to a piece of land we own in the neighboring town.  I'm very excited about this and am hoping it will also become home to other "larger" crops like corn or grains.  Looks like I need to get out the garden plan and start working.  My kinda fun on a Saturday night!  Oh boy, I'm pretty sure I'm too young to say stuff like that, but its true.

Hope you enjoy your Saturday night!

Thanks for reading,

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