Monday, September 7, 2009

A Bountiful Harvest

We've been super busy this past week! Although we don't have a garden ourselves, we've been picking at my in-laws house and pulled in almost more than I have time to deal with.
So far we've made 2 quarts give or take of sun-dried roma tomatoes. That doesn't sound like much, but it started as three plastic shopping bags filled to the brim. The bushes are still producing, too, so there may be more to come.

My father-in-law also had more jalapano peppers than he knew what to do with. That provided hours of fun, especially when we kept finding little patches of the oil on our skin throughout the day! My husband got some in his eye; I got lucky enough to avoid that. Next time I think we'll have to get gloves. We froze 3 quarts so far and will probably pick up some more next weekend.

Then, today, we wanted to celebrate Labor Day by, what else, laboring! But this was the fun kind of work. We went to a small country apple farm where they run the tractor out to the orchards and let you pick your own apples. We got just under 25 lb of apples today: 20 (2 pecks) of jonathons and 5 (1/2 peck) ozark gold. Which led us to our next fun experiments...
Shaune elected himself to be in charge of apple pie filling. He manned this cool contraption here, which did all the work for him:

That there is my mom's Apple Peeler-Corer-Slicer from Pampered Chef. It is such a fun toy. I had to stop Shaune or else he'd do all 25 lbs of just that! It makes like a giant apple yo-yo that is excellent to play with. We sliced the yo-yo in half, dumped them into a large freezer bag, and added the spices. We've now got 5 pies worth of filling ready to whip out and bake whenever we need it.

I decided to make apple butter. This is my first experience canning and although it was a little rocky, all 10 jars sealed correctly on the first try! I love apple butter. This stuff started as a full pot of apple pieces and cooked down to 10 cups worth of cinnamony, sweet, perfect goo. We couldn't help taking a spoon and eating a good bit while cooking. I think I'm going to save it and give it away for Christmas presents.

I still have about 12 lb of apples to deal with. I know what we'll be eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week. I'd like to can more but with the pot I have, I can only do 1/2 pint (8 oz) jars right now. Unless I can borrow a bigger pot, I think it would be too expensive to buy enough jars for the rest of the apples. Not to mention the time. So for now, they're going to hang out in the cooler and be fresh treats, at least until I can come up with a better idea.

Any suggestions?


Amy said...

Ooh yummy! Apple butter was my first experiment too, and I loved it bunches!!

Sarah Jane said...

Wow, is it apple season already?! I LOVE apple butter. Last year was my first time trying to make and can it on my own, although I used the crock pot for the main cooking part. :)

My mom has one of those apple peeler/corer/slicers too. I love it! I wish I had one, it's a great tool!

We need to get ourselves out to an orchard and pick some apples. Have you tried dehydrating any yet?

Whitney said...

I was going to suggest the same thing as Sarah Jane: apple chips in your new dehydrator :-). You could also try making apple bread and freezing it (I'm sure there are recipes out there similar to pumpkin bread), or apple muffins that you can grab out of the freezer in the morning for a quick breakfast, etc...