Sorry for the long gap in posts - I lost my internet connection for awhile this week.
I have apples coming out of my ears and there is no end in sight - STILL! I thought I would share some of the things that we do with them around here to preserve the harvest. Here's the list:
1. APPLE BETTY This recipe was suggested by my mother-in-law and can be found in the Better Homes & Gardens "New" Cookbook (mine is definitely not new, more like 30+ years old). The recipe calls for 4 cups of apples so I peel and slice mine and freeze them in 4 cup portions. As you're peeling drop them in some water & lemon juice to preserve the color, then drain & freeze. I don't bother rinsing mine. Here's the recipe:
"Apple Betty Pie" 4 cups sliced pared tart apples or 1 No. 2 can (2 1/2 cups) sliced pie apples, drained 1/4 cup orange juice (I'll skip this if we don't have any) 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 cup butter
Mound apples in buttered 9" pie plate, sprinkle with OJ. For topping: combine sugar, flour, spices, and dash salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly, then scatter over apples. Bake @ 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until apples are done and topping is crisp. Serve warm with cream (real whipped cream or cool whip, I don't use anything). Serves 6.
2. APPLE SAUCE This is where I use the most apples and here is how I do it... Again, slice apples directly into bowl of water & lemon juice. When done slicing, scoop out apples and put in large saucepan with just enough water to avoid sticking. I cook mine on medium heat until the apples can be crushed with a potato masher or large slotted spoon. I don't run them through a food mill or anything, I found that to be a waste of time. My husband likes his applesauce chunky but even if you don't, I gotten it pretty well mashed this way. Them add sugar and cinnamon to taste and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of lemon juice. You can follow a recipe exactly if you want but since I use all the apples of our trees, and I don't know what kind they are, I just taste test each batch and adjust appropriately. I recommend the Ball Canning Book. Once you add the sugar bring sauce to a slight boil again and then can in quart or pint jars, processing for 20-25 minutes. I guess you could probably freeze this too, although I try to only use the freezer for things that can't be preserved elsewhere. You could also make dried applesauce, which leads me to...
3. DRIED SLICES This is a quick way to get rid of an abundance of apples. Again, slice in to water/lemon juice and then spread handfuls out on food dehydrator trays. You can also dry them in the sun or by hanging rings in your house but I prefer the dehydrator. I sprinkle each tray with cinnamon sugar and dry for 1-2 days. They should be dry throughout but still chewy. My husband and I both like these a lot better then we expected to. Actually, they are quite addicting.
5. CHOPPED APPLE COOKIES These are something that my hubby's Grandma always used to make. We're trying to track down her original recipe but in the meantime I'm planning to try this one.
6. CHOP & FREEZE Hmm, maybe this is cheating. This is how I prepare the apple to use in #5, 7, & 8. I think it's quite ingenious if I do say so myself. First I peel them and cut them in slices or chunks. Then I use my Pampered Chef gizmo to chop them up, I like them fine to medium. I've been told a food processor would be much easier & faster. I intend to try that someday but for now I'm happy not using anything electricity. After chopping I pressed the apples in muffin tins and popped them in the freezer. When you're done you have nice 1/4 to 1/2 cup portions so you can thaw as much as you need according to each recipe. Here's some pics:
7. WAFFLES I tried this recipe last weekend and it was great. I used fresh chopped apples because I had them but this winter I can use either the frozen blocks or I think adding applesauce would have a similar effect. 8. APPLE BREAD This is my favorite on the whole list. I'll use 3 or 4 frozen blocks for this one. It is great to make on a Sunday and have a slice or two for breakfast all week. It is SO good and quite filling, even without any butter. I heat mine in the microwave for a few seconds. This recipe came on the back of my electric bill and gives credit to Bernice Hass:
1/3 cup shortening 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp baking soda 2 c chopped apples 1 c sugar 2 Tbsp sour milk (or buttermilk, I use a little milk and vinegar) 2 c flour 1 tsp salt 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Cream shortening & sugar. Add eggs & beat. Stir in sour milk, vanilla, flour, baking soda, & salt. Add chopped apples and nuts. Put in greased loaf bread pan. Add topping and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. MMmmm!
9. APPLE PIE FILLING I've been canning a lot of this too. Here's the recipe straight out of the canning book, to make about 7 pints. I usually make a double patch and use quart jars. 1 quart will make a big pie: 12 cups apple slices 2 3/4 sugar 3/4 ClearJel(R) (I use cornstarch & have fine results) 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1 1/4 cups cold water 2 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice 1/2 cup lemon juice
Blanch apples for 1 minute, set aside and cover to keep warm. Combine all ingredients except lemon juice & bring to a boil. Stir constantly and cook until thick & bubbly. Add lemon juice & bring back to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and fold in apple slices. Heat again until apples are heated through. Can & process 25-30 minutes.
The book does not have directions for using the filling but I would use it as you would when you bake a normal pie, adding the filling to the uncooked crust and baking the whole thing at once.
Well, there's my list. Let me know if you try any of these things. I would love to hear what you're doing with your apples. I hope I've suggested a few things that will help them last until next harvest.
What started as a blog about the happenings here on our Centennial Farm has now evolved in to a little more personal account of things from my point of view as a new farm(er's) wife. Stick around for awhile and hopefully you'll learn a little about everything from industrial and sustainable farming to raising livestock to being green and maybe even catch a good recipe or two. Enjoy!
We're on our way out of debt and on to greener pastures...