Posts Tagged ‘Apples’

Everything I read about making applesauce indicates that this is very easy to do. I am sure it is, but this being my first time, I wanted to share with you my first time experience! I was very excited about making applesauce, and aside from doing pickles this is the first fruit that I am canning. And, why do they call it canning when you are putting this up in jars? I don’t know, but let’s get to it shall we?

I researched and discovered that it takes 3 pounds of apples to make one quart jar of sauce, so with 12 quart jars, I bought about 36 pounds of apples. Daunting to say the least!

A mix of apples

A mix of apples

Now that is one huge pile, don’t you think? This mix is made up of Matsu, Fuji, Gala, Winesap and Red Delicious apples.

One of the recipes that I found said to just wash and cut up your apples, coring them, and them cook the apples with the skins on. Then after cooking the apples you run them through a mill and then after that you run them through a sieve, thereby removing the skins… I thought, “Why run them through a sieve when you can peel and core them and just skip that step?”

With this in mind, I attacked the pile of apples armed with my peeler! This was lots of peeling as this photo will show!

Lots of peeling!

Lots of peeling!

To break up the monotony I peeled 6 at a time. I had a huge cook pot filled with water so that I could keep the apples from browning. Heading to the cutting board, I used my handy dandy apple corer slicer! This worked like a charm! Look at these lovely even pieces…

Peel and core the apples

Peel and core the apples

Once sliced then I cut them into three chunks per slice and dropped them into the pot of water.

Cut into chunks

Cut into chunks

I had gone through about one third of the pile of apples and this cook pot was getting very full. Estimating the size of the kettle I was going to cook these down in, I had enough for the first batch of sauce. I wondered how much I would get out of this group.

Now while I was working on this, I ran my jars through a sanitizing wash in the dishwasher. When recounting this to my friend and neighbor Kathy, she told me I could have saved time by filling the jars with water and doing this in the canning pot, which is what you use to process the jars with…Thanks for the tip Kathy, and I will do this next time!

Now you might remember that my range/oven combo died back in March. Yes, we have been without a stove since then. We are planning a remodel of our kitchen and have not found a range yet that we want, so I have been cooking on butane cooking stoves. Well guess what? I ran out of gas just as I was starting to cook and start my processing water! So everything went on hold as I drove to town to get butane, which took me about an hour to do…

Upon returning home armed with 20 cans of butane, I set back to work. I spooned the apples out of the water where they had been sitting into a large pot. I added 3/4 cup of water and a shake of cinnamon. I gave it a quick stir.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook

Set the heat on the apples to medium, cover and cook. They only take about 20 minutes to cook. Stir occasionally. Here they are after being cooked. You can see that they do not cook down too much.

Cooked apples

Cooked apples

The next step is to puree the apples, which I did using my Cuisinart processor and the regular blade. Spoon in the apples using a slotted spoon.

Apples go into the processor

Apples go into the processor

Use the pulse button. After about a minute, this is what you end up with!

After pureeing

After pureeing

Next, fill your jars, removing any air bubbles as you go. Fill the jars to 1/4″ from the top of the jar.

Fill the jars

Fill the jars

Place the lid on and stick this into your canning pot, making sure that the lids of the jars are under water. Boil for 20-25 minutes. While this is doing its thing, I got to cleaning the kitchen. By now hours had gone by and we were approaching happy hour. Now let’s talk about the pot that you cooked the apples in. There is all this lovely liquid left in the pot, which is made up of that 3/4 cup of water and the rest is the juice from the apples. If you strain this juice you will have a lovely, not too sweet apple juice!

The by-product  Apple Juice!

The by-product Apple Juice!

Needless to say, I was only able to do about 1/3 of the apples, which gave me a little more than 3 quarts. I plan on finishing the rest next weekend, including some shortcuts that Kathy told me about. I had the kitchen all cleaned up, and we sat with our happy hour cocktail waiting for the apples to finish processing. The applesauce that did not make it into the jars? I am serving this tonight with my Oven Fried Pork Chops!

When the buzzer went off, I pulled the jars and set them on a cooling rack, which is another pointer from Kathy. Here are the finished jars. The jars processed just fine with each top making that popping noise to let me know that they were good!

Applesauce is done!

Applesauce is done!

Well, this was a rather long post…I hope that you made it to the end! Has anyone made a sauce like this using pears? I was thinking that this would be really good too, especially served with pork! Please let me know!

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great Sunday!

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The area where I work here in the Sierra Foothills is called “Apple Hill.” Can you guess what they grow here? Aside from grapes for wine, apples are grown all over the region. I am really lucky that I have a friend who helps out one of the local farmers in their orchard, and yesterday I was given a wine box full of apples!

Box of apples

Box of apples

They are mostly Fuji apples with a few Pippins as well…so this got me to thinking, pies or applesauce?

Well, I have not made applesauce before, and I feel like it is time to have a real adventure in the kitchen! So this weekend I will be making my first applesauce! I found a recipe for an easy to make applesauce that uses no sugar! The recipe comes from PickYourOwn.org.

To make 14 quarts of apple sauce I will need one bushel of apples. This works out to three pounds of apples for a one quart jar! As I do not quite have 42 pounds of apples for 14 quart jars, I will be heading out today after work to one of our local farms to scrounge up the rest of the apples that I will need to make my applesauce.

My list of recommended apples is prepared.

The list

The list

It is recommended to use more than one type of apple. The pippins I will use for pie, but the Fujis will be good for applesauce! I need more jars, so I will pick these up too!

Stay tuned for a foray into Apple Hill! Thanks for stopping by and have a terrific Thursday!

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I took a stroll through the orchard today to check the progress of the fruits. It has been a strange year indeed with my vegetable garden not producing for the first time in years. For the fruit orchard we will have a handful of almonds. This is the first year I will have a good crop of Bosc pears considering how young the tree is. As for the apples, only one of the three trees produced this year. I decided that this would be the topic for today! So I grabbed the camera to share what we will shortly be harvesting!

Our first stop is at the almond tree. The nuts, again only a handful, show signs of necessary ripening. Think of a peach on a tree, and the fruit covering the pit is starting to dry. This is what the almond tree needs and what is happening as the photos will show.



The skins are starting to split which seems to be allowing the pit inside drying time, which causes the nut inside the pit to dry…Earlier in the year I pulled a nut off the tree and after removing the hull I discovered that the pit inside was soft, and when I crushed that there was an almost clear liquid inside. This next photo clearly shows the split in the skin.

Husks are splitting

Husks are splitting

Heading over to the Bosc pear I see that the pears are just about the right size. There are many hanging and it will take use of a ladder to harvest them.

Pears hanging off the tree

Pears hanging off the tree

Color is starting to really come up in the pears! Check this lovely pear out!
A bosc pear

A bosc pear

Almost looks good enough to eat, don’t you think?

Heading up the slope to where the apple orchard is I can see the color blushing the cheeks of these apples. I believe, based on the skin of the apple, that this tree is one of the “delicious” varieties!

Delicious apples

Delicious apples

They sure are pretty aren’t they? There are many clusters of apples, and I see pie in our future!
Clusters of apples

Clusters of apples

Stay tuned for photos of my orchard harvest in the next couple of weeks! Thanks for visiting with me today, and have a great rest of the day!

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Here in the Sierra Foothills region where we live, apple trees thrive! And we have some great places locally where we can buy these apples at farm prices. It kills me to see folks buying apples at the grocery store when the apples that are locally grown are so close. This area is known as Apple Hill, and there are quite a few farms where you can stop by not only for the apples but other fresh produce. Be sure to check out links at the end of this post should you decide to come and visit!

Today, I made a lovely apple pie using the Fuji apples from my orchard, and I tossed in some walnuts too for added flavor! Good apples for pie include Gravenstein (tart), Pippin (tart), Fuji (sweet) and Gala (sweet). You can mix the types of apples up too for a great flavor burst. So, let’s get to making some pie, shall we?

Pie dough (you can easily make your own or if you buy the dough, the Pillsbury pie dough is the best)
6-8 apples
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups sugar – adjust the sugar for the tartness of the apples
1/4 cup of flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
2 TBS butter
Milk and sugar

Peel the apples.

Lovely peeled apples from the orchard

Then quarter the apples and remove the core.

Quarter and core the apples

Next, slice the apples into a large mixing bowl.

Slice thinly

Once all the apples are done, add the walnuts.

Add walnuts

Next, in a small bowl add the sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Then add this to the apples and walnuts and mix it up well.

Apples and nuts mixed with flour sugar mixture

Set this aside as we turn to the dough.

Today I used pre-made dough. I use the Pillsbury pie dough as it is the best out there and I have tried them all! This dough comes out very flaky when baked. You will need to take this out of the refrigerator to warm up before using it. I take this out before starting on the apples. Roll out the dough to a size much larger than your pie pan.

Roll the dough out for the bottom crust

Make sure that you flour your surface or the dough will stick. Lay the dough evenly in your pan. Then add your apple mixture spreading it out evenly. Dot the top with butter.

Add the apple mixture to pie pan and dot with butter

Do not forget the butter or your pie will not cook correctly.

Next, roll out the upper crust of the pie. This too needs to be bigger than the pan. Fold in quarters and slit with a knife as shown below.

Slits cut into the top crust

These slits create the steam vents for your pie. Center the quarter folded dough over the apples and unfold carefully so you do not tear your vents.

Lay the upper crust over the apples

Next, tuck the upper crust under the bottom crust so that the crust is at the edge of the pie pan. Gently pinch the dough to seal it. Holding your thumb and pointer finger together at the outside edge of the crust, use your other pointer finger to push in the dough creating this pretty edge.

Fold under and crimp the crust

What I like to do next is baste the top crust with a small bit of milk, then I sprinkle on a bit of sugar for added sweetness and a beautiful looking crust.

Sprinkle with a bit of sugar

Bake in a 425 degree oven for about a half hour. Check on the pie at this point. The crust should be a lovely golden brown. Using foil, make a collar to cover the outer edges of the crust to keep them from burning. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and then let the pie cool.

Pie is done!

Isn’t this just lovely? Serve this up with a bit of ice cream on the side!

The Apple Hill region in the Sierra Foothills is just outside of Placerville in the little town of Camino. You can access this region from Highway 50 heading towards Lake Tahoe. Here are some links of places here in Apple Hill that you might like to visit!

Boa Vista Orchards
High Hill Ranch
Gold Bud Farms

For general information on the area: Apple Hill Growers Assn.

Enjoy the pie, and do come and visit this lovely region!

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Even though the summer season has passed, there are still green plants growing in the vegetable garden. Yesterday was a day spent of getting rid of the dried corn stalks, and pulling up plants that will no longer produce. There was a lot of weeding too as I was putting in cauliflower and brussel sprouts. The broccoli just needed to be trimmed back. And, there were so many green tomatoes that I picked a huge bag, mostly green but not all! Here is what I brought in…

Green tomatoes

And, more green tomatoes

The larger green tomatoes

The entire tomato bounty

So, what does someone do with all these tomatoes, you ask?

Well the larger of the tomatoes will be ripened on the counter with an apple to aid the process. To see what happens with the rest of these tomatoes, well, you will just have to stay tuned!  I will be featuring a post using these green tomatoes this coming weekend!

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It is after 5 p.m., and I am sitting in the front of my house sharing a cocktail with my husband. Why the front you ask? It is on the eastern side and with temperatures in the mid-90’s, this is the place to be. So here we are sitting enjoying an after work cocktail, when company decided to join us. Not our usual friends, but some of the neighborhood crowd. So here are photos of our cocktail hour.

Our first visitors drop by

Chasing the apple martini

Caught sucking on the apple martini

If you click on the photo above, you will see our guest sucking on the apple!

Dare I have another?

Sharing the apple ‘tini

What kind of fruit is that hanging off your tree?

Hope that you enjoyed our partners in happy hour! Now go have a great Wednesday!

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I was given a single pork loin, and I had to come up with what to do with it. And, I was thinking about a raspberry pear jam from my neighbor Kathy…What could I do with both of these items given to me to make a luscious dinner?

I went on a quick trip up to Boa Vista Orchards in search of pears. The season of these being available from the farm was over. But I did spy some Granny Smith apples, so I grabbed one of those.  Then nearby I saw really good looking oranges, so I grabbed one of those too! Then I found the treasure of the day:  fresh asparagus!

So what can I do with these ingredients?  Here is what I put together:

1 single pork loin
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
Zest from one orange
2 shakes of Saigon cinnamon
4 twists of fresh ground salt and pepper
1 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 dash of cumin

1/2 cup of raspberry pear jam
1 cup of Chardonnay (You can substitute Merlot for the Chardonnay, but the Chard was really, really good!)

Take the pork loin out of the refrigerator to warm up. Take the next 7 ingredients and combine them. In a greased baking pan, add the potato and apple mixture.

Apples and potatoes

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. While this is cooking, take the raspberry pear jam and add this to a saucepan and blend with the Chardonnay. Heat on medium high, and bring to a boil.

Jam and wine sauce

Reduce the heat to medium low, and stir every five minutes, until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and strain the seeds from the mixture into a bowl. Be sure to push on the solids with the backside of a spoon. Rinse the pot and return the mixture to the pot.

About this time the timer should be going off on the potato apple mixture. Remove this from the oven, stir the potatoes and apples, and then split the mixture so that they are split in half with a trough in the middle. In the open area, lay in the pork loin.

Pork loin added to the apples and potatoes

Even the potatoes and apples around the loin, and then with a paint brush, baste the loin with the raspberry pear chardonnay sauce. Just a bit, because the rest will be used for a drizzle over each serving! Put this back in the oven and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 135 degrees. While it is baking I got the fresh asparagus ready.

Asparagus is ready to go

At the 25 minute mark I basted the meat again with some of the jam sauce, and again at the 30 minute mark. When the pork is done, remove the pan from the oven.

Right out of the oven

Transfer the pork to a cutting board and cover. Stir up the apples and potatoes and cover. Get the asparagus going. Let the meat sit for 10 minutes. Reheat the wine and jam sauce. Slice up the meat,

Slice the meat

and serve it up with the apples, potatoes and asparagus. Drizzle the jam sauce over the meat

Dinner is served!

and dinner is served!  This dish was incredible blend of flavors and it was so yummy that we ate the whole thing!  This recipe is a keeper, and Kathy, I will need more of your terrific jam!

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I was so tired yesterday after the day in the kitchen, that this recipe had to wait until this morning! This recipe is a good balance of sweet from the sugars and tart from the apples. The topping is a bit crunchy!

Apple Cobbler

Apple Cobbler

8 large Granny Smith apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples. Core and cut into slices. Add the slices to a 9 x 13 baking pan and spread evenly.

Apples in the pan

Mix 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and the 3/4 cup of sugar. Spread evenly over apples.

Apples covered with sugar/cinnamon mixture

In a mixing bowl add the remaining ingredients except the melted butter. Combine until crumbly.

Crumbly mixture to go over apples

Spread evenly over the apples. Drizzle the melted butter over all.

Butter is poured over...

Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown.

Cobbler is ready to eat! Serve with ice cream!

Cool and serve topped with a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

This recipe got rave reviews! Most yummy!

This recipe is courtesy of Land ‘o Lakes Butter.

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