Saturday, September 10, 2011

Storing your garden goodies...Late summer edition

I find this to be a very busy time of year.

The garden is bursting with goodness and I'm either not home enough to make meals at home or too busy to actually be in the garden.  Sigh.  Unfortunately this is the WORST time of gardening season to be so busy!  There is so much of everything ripening that it seems like a huge waste to le it all go bad.

We are currently swamped in tomatoes and apples we've been given by my mother-in-law.  What to do with 7 baskets of tomatoes and a milk crate full of apples?  Well, this post is all about what we DID do with them!  Below is my wonderful husband.  He's carrying our hard work from Saturday (after we checked out the Verona Garlic Festival).  We knuckled down and peeled until our fingers hurt. 

What we ended up with was the following:  4 large freezer bags of chopped apples (ready for plopping into a pie shell or under a crisp topping), 2 large freezer bags of tomatoes, washed, rinsed and scored (so the skins with come right off of them when we make soup this winter), 3 containers of tomato sauce.  All ready for the freezer and will provide fresh summer goodness all winter long.  YUM!

The best was the apple sauce we made from scratch!  Sounds impressive, but once you find out how easy apple sauce is to'll never want to buy store bought again!  (That's kinda the point, after all)

Take a whole buncha apples, you can use almost any type or apple.  Although I do know some apple purists who swear you can only use certain types.  A quick Google search will tell you to "Make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein."  I'm sure there is a reason why, but I only use what I have, so whatever Nana grows is what we use.  You don't have to be picky about the quantity of apples, because you can adjust the taste as you go!

You chop and peel the apples and unless you have a herd of pygmies working for you, you may want to use this trick.  Have a bowl of cold water and lemon juice handy.  Place the peeled and sliced apples in the lemon water until you are ready to use them.  That way the apples will not brown prematurely!

Place the apples (not the lemon water) into a pot.  Heat slowly and the moisture from the apples will steam out of the pot, leaving nothing but warm sweet applesauce.  Hubbie likes to get fancy by adding some brown sugar, allspice and cinnamon.  Basically its like apple pie fill when we make it.

Then we place it in jars.  We steamed the jars to keep the insides sealed until we're ready to eat it.  Leaving a 1/2 an inch from the top of the lid, just in case we decide to freeze the jars we aren't going to eat right away.  This is a perfect way to keep the fall taste of fresh apples all winter long, and its also a great way to make home made foods in advance for school lunches.

Delicious, nutritious, home made, low carbon foot print apple sauce!

What are you planning to make from scratch for your kids lunches? 

Maybe a better question would be, what changes are you going
to make regarding your kids lunches?

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