Friday, October 12, 2012

Apple Butter

Well since we went on our apple picking excursion and we still have more apples than I know what to do with them I thought I'd try something new.

I've always heard of apple butter...but I'd never seen it or tried it.  I didn't even know what you used it for. But I mean come on...apples and butter! You can't go wrong!
But I found out soon enough that it's got no butter, just the name.

So I went online to my favorite website...Chickens in the Road and found a recipe.

So I thought I'd share it with you.  I'm thinking of making more to sell at the next craft sale since nobody around here seems to make it.  (That's how many apples I have left!)

2 quarts apple pulp
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

With ingredients like this how can anyone go wrong?!

Start with 4 pounds of apples about 16 medium size. The recipe calls for a food mill which I don't have, but I did use my stick blender. 

Cut up apples
Peel and chop the apples. It says you can leave the peel on but I didn't dare too much since I didn't have a food mill.  I left some, but not all.
It also doesn't say how to cook the apples, so I just simmered them on the stove and added a bit of water.
So bring the apples to a boil and cook till they are soft but not liquified.

At this time I pulverized them with the stick blender because
 I had two different kinds of apples 
and one cooked faster than the other.

After the stick blender and before I added the rest of the ingredients
With the rest of the stuff added
Now it's time to add the sugar, cinnamon and cloves.

Again I used the stick blender to make sure all was well incorporated (fancy word meaning mixed together).
Then you have to cook until the mixture thickens and rounds on the spoon.  
I have no idea what that meant! It said it can take a couple of hours to reach this stage.  So I waited and waited and waited some more.

I'm assuming this is what they mean by rounding on the spoon
It made a horrible mess everywhere on my stove and floor since it plops even on low heat.
Finally at what I figured what the "rounds on the spoon stage I figured it was ready.
Now you have to ladle it in hot, clean jars about a 1/2" from
 the top and process it in a hot water bath for
 10 minutes. And I'm not talking about your bathtub either.

Yummm!!To be used on toast!
A single batch made 6 jars.

Even though it took a long time. I think it was worth it.  Next time I'll just make a double or triple batch.
Hopefully I didn't miss any steps.  If you've got any questions just email me.

My first batch of apple butter

Have a Blessed Evening

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pickled Beets

I am a strange woman. 

 I cannot stand the smell of vinegar, yet I love making pickled beets for the family.
They love them. 
 I, on the other hand hate them. Blah!
So every year I plant beets so I can pickle them for my loving family.
This year there wasn't all that many, but I decided to pickle them anyway.

So here's how I do them.

Rinse off your beets and cut off the tops.  
Fill the pot with enough water to cover the beets.

Cooked Beets
Cook them until they are fork tender.  Sometimes I even cook them a little less to get crunchier beets.
While this is cooking I start my brew.

4 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (never white vinegar)
2 cups water
3 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/4 tsp celery seeds

Add everything to a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure that you tie up the seeds in a cheesecloth.

I've found an easier way than the seeds. I order from a company called Epicure Selections and they have a concoction all made up already. And I don't bother with the cheesecloth.  I find that the flavour  goes through easier if the little seeds are left to float around.  Before I jar the beets up I just use a hand strainer and take most out.

The Brew!
Also at this time make sure your jars are clean and nice and hot along with the lids.

Drain the beets and immerse them in ice cold water.

You'll notice that the skins just peel off with ease. You'll also notice your fingers get red.

Beet peelings
Then I slice the beets into the jars and fill them with the brew to about 1" from the top.

Wipe the jars clean, put the lids on finger tip tight and Voilá! You have pickled beets!

All that work for three jars! Oh well it was fun.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!