Finally! Productivity

September 2nd…Where has the summer gone?  It feels like I haven’t gotten anything done this summer!!

After missing the harvesting window on so much of our garden bounty this summer, we finally managed to be productive today and do some canning.  We set up a summer kitchen out on our back deck for sterilizing and processing jars in a hot water bath.

It worked fabulous because all of that moisture from the boiling water that usually ends up saturating my kitchen stayed outdoors.  We used the two-burner propane stove that Jesse purchased for making maple syrup this spring and it was perfect!

We started out with our tomatoes.  I don’t know about all of you, but our tomato plants suffered from a serious case of blight this year.  We have nonetheless still managed to enjoy a good harvest.  Cheating a bit, we use a package mix that has all the spices and all we have to do is add the freshly chopped tomatoes.  We processed 35 pints of salsa.

After the tomatoes, we started processing our apples.  This turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated.  This is really the first year that our tree has produced a decent amount of apples and I’m not sure how I feel about harvesting apples after today.  Peeling, coring, cutting up, boiling until softened, grinding up in the food processor, heating again until boiling….what a mess!!

We processed 7 quarts of applesauce and approximately 8 pints of apple butter.  Based on the amount of work that went into these jars, I sure hope we enjoy them.
So, finally…a day of productivity here on the farm.  We have managed to preserve some of the produce from our garden.  It makes me feel good…giddy…happy…satisfied.

Some time this winter, probably in January, I will be feeling even happier as I pop open a jar of salsa or apple butter for us to enjoy.  It will remind me of summer and of how grateful I am to live here.

-Lynell

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8 Comments

Filed under Food, Freezing and Canning

8 responses to “Finally! Productivity

  1. I’m jealous of your harvest. My garden ended up producing…NOTHING this year thanks to the deer and moles! We have been able to enjoy some cherry tomatoes (because they are on our deck) and strawberries. Definitely not enough to be canning or putting up. Just enough for snacking.
    I imagine that popping open a jar of apple butter on a cold winter morning will be wonderful!

    • Lisa,
      Sorry to hear about the pesky critters eating up your garden!! It seems as though there is always some battle to fight as a gardener. We had a horrible infestation of potato bugs this summer that was really discouraging, as well as totally disgusting!! Our tomatoes are still going crazy, so I’m trying to give away as many as possible so they don’t go to waste. Hopefully you will have better luck next year!!
      -Lynell

  2. The outdoor canning is a GREAT idea! Thus far I have only frozen things, no canning, partially because I have a flat top stove and I’m not supposed to use it for canning. If I do decide to give canning a try, I’m definitely going to have to try your outdoor method!

    I think our tomatoes have blight too. Need to figure out if there’s anyway to prevent that for next year!

  3. Bonnie from MN

    Canning Apples can be easy. This is the way we do it.
    Wash and quarter apples. Leave the skin on and cook in a little water till tender. Not to much water so the apple sauce don’t get to runny.
    Then place the cooked quartered apples in a high grade food blender on high speed. It makes instant great apple sauce. You get the vitamins from the peels which are blended so fine you can’t see them or taste them.
    Scoop or pour the apple sauce in jars and can them.
    It’s easy, a lot less messy and tastes great without waisting any apple because their is no lost peel.
    Someone gave us this idea years ago and we have been doing it ever since. The kids love it.

    • Hi Bonnie-
      That sounds much easier than the process that we went through! The skin on our apples were kind of nasty looking this year for some reason though and I wonder if that would matter. They taste fine, but had lots of spots on them. I will have to consider doing this next year to make it less painful to process the apples!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Lynell

  4. Bonnie from MN

    Hi Lynell,
    If you have the dark spots on your apples but the skin is not affected, I just use a nylon choreboy to scrub them off when I wash the apples. If you use warm water they usually scrub off easily.
    That usually works for us.
    Bonnie, Mom to 8

  5. Patti

    Your applesauce process does seem very time consuming. This summer I bought a Roma Food Mill (and the add’l strainer kit) http://www.amazon.com/Strainer-Sauce-Maker-Fruits-Vegetables/dp/B0000BYDR1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353184016&sr=8-1&keywords=roma+food+mill All I did wash wash the apples in a sink of cold water, put a small amount of water in a stock pot and fill with apples. I let this simmer until the apples were soft. I then ran them through the food mill. Applesauce comes out one end into a bowl and the waste out another. They were then ready for canning applesauce and/or to use for making apple butter. As an earlier post states, you get some good nutrients by keeping the skins and even the core in the processing of the sauce. The additional strainers are for tomato, pumpkin, salsa and grapes. With my tomatoes, I ran the waste back through the mill 3 passes to get all the yummy goodness out of them. I didn’t try it with the apples but maybe you could? There are videos online to show you how the Roma Mill works. It certainly made my life easier!!

    • Leah

      A girlfriend and I managed to do 24 pints and 30 half pints of apple butter in a day. For our recipe that was just over 40 pounds of apples. We used and Apple Peeler Corer contraption with a suction base purchased for less than $10 (with a coupon) at Bed Bath and Beyond.
      We had visions of making apple jelly with the peels, but our schedules just didn’t allow for it, so the cores and peels all went to a friend who has horses and a pig. She was glad to have the “treats” for the animals.
      The second item that made things go so much quicker was a stick blender. Another gadget that I wasn’t sure about, but have found I love! We weren’t sure if it would be strong enough to do a whole pot, and had the traditional blenders standing by, but it worked like a charm. We didn’t have to change pots at all, or dirty any other containers. Once blended and cooked we were ready to jar and process.
      I don’t like gadgets that just take up room, but I find uses for these two all the time that make life easier.

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