This fall I posted a quick recipe for applesauce, because my grandma supplied me with a few bags of beautiful organic apples. Well my Dad came for another visit in mid-November, and he brought five more bags of apples with him! Apples keep fairly well if you have the right place to store them... Unfortunately I do NOT! I have no root cellar, my garage is way below the freezing mark, and both of my fridges are filled to the brim. This month I was also busy with work, training courses on my days off, and planning my daughter's birthday. SO, what is one to do with a glut of apples, if not applesauce (and no time to speak of)? Apple Juice! Pure, sweet, lovely, apple juice. Warmed with a cinnamon stick, or cold over ice with a bit of Perrier. This stuff is AMAZING!!!!
Making your own apple juice is a bit more involved than you might imagine. Washing and coring the apples is a lot of work on its own... Then you have to run them through a juicer, and then double or triple strain the juice to remove the pulp that floats around on the top (this is a painfully tedious process, but worth the work, for the clarity of the juice). After that you have to boil your juice, ladle it into hot sterilized jars, and put in a water bath canner for 25 mins or so. It took me about 5 hours all said and done (about half the time it would take me to do applesauce). The taste is incredible, and NOTHING like store-bought apple juice!
Canning Fresh Salsa
The poor tomatoes ended up getting picked very early, and very green this year, because of the dump of snow we had early this September. We let them ripen in cardboard boxes over the past week and a bit, and have finally collected enough ripe ones to start canning some salsa!
This salsa recipe is one I received from a very good friend of mine, and she makes this stuff like a master. I hope I do it justice Chrysten!
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
10 cups chopped tomatoes (either remove the seeds or squish chopped tomatoes in a colander to remove the juice)
2 cups bell peppers (red, yellow, and green)
2 Tbsp chopped jalapeno
1 cup loosely packed cilantro OR parsley, chopped fine
1 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
Canning Organic Applesauce
I am very fortunate to have a grandma who supplies me with beautiful produce all summer and fall. My Dad comes to visit me in Grande Prairie once a month, and always has a car filled with goodies from Grandma's garden. This last visit included pickling cucumbers (which I used to make the Bread and Butter Pickles yesterday), as well as two giant bags of apples. My husband LOVES fresh applesauce with pork chops, so applesauce it is!
Applesauce is very simple to make... All you really need is apples and lemon juice. Peel and core them, and make sure to put all the slices in a lemon-water bath to prevent browning. Cook the slices in a large pot with a lid, and use either lemon juice or Fruit Fresh to make sure they don't discolour. When everything's all soupy and bubbly I like to give it a quick once over with the immersion blender before packing the sauce into sterilized jars. Then process in a boiling water bath for 15 mins. You can always add fun stuff and be creative with your applesauce... cinnamon and a hint of brown sugar perhaps. Or while the apples are cooking add in some frozen strawberries to make strawberry applesauce. Leaving it plain adds to its veratility though, and I often sub out half the fat in baking recipes with my homemade applesauce!
Bread and Butter Pickles
This recipe also came out of the canning book my Grandma gave me. It's something I remember having since I was a kid, and it has a certain nostalgia for me. The sweet, salty, sour balance is truly perfect, and makes an excellent replacement for classic sweet relish on burgers.
The Best Pectin-Free Concord Grape Jam
I don't have anything against using pectin when making preserves. It shortens the cook time so those delicate summer fruits can retain some of their fresh beauty. But there's always something in the back of my mind that feels like it's cheating. It's not the old world way of doing things. I like to make preserves without any additives whenever possible, but I will never mess with the basics of a recipe. It's like baking... you can adjust the odd spice or seasoning here or there, but veer to far and you've got a soupy mess instead of jam. So when my grandma gave me her canning recipe book I was in heaven! I can't find a date on it anywhere, but it was given out by the Edmonton gas company (Northwest Utilities Ltd.) to customers. The recipe inside for Grape Jam is the best I've ever made... and appeals to the purist in me!
5 cups concord grapes, stemmed and washed
21/2 cups sugar