WHEW! I finally finished with all the fresh apples my aunt let us harvest from her tree & bring home. Ten bushels worth! TEN bushels. T-E-N. Wow. I’ve made and canned Apple Pie Filling for quick homemade pies this winter. And I dehydrated some of those delicious apples into crispy Cinnamon/Sugar Apple Chips for snacks. But I love the Slow-Cooker Applesauce the most. I’ve even taken some of the regular applesauce & flavored & canned it into Cinnamon-Vanilla Flavored Applesauce. And of course the liquid released when I cooked down those apples into applesauce wasn’t wasted either. I strained & canned it for apple cider.
All are delicious, but today I was thinking about that applesauce. How versatile it is in my kitchen. Not only do I enjoy eating it straight from the jar, but it replaces a cooking item I typically have to buy.
Although we often plant winter rye and clover for early grazing opportunities for our cattle herd, we planted clover heavily in the pen right next to the beehives. It’s beautiful in full bloom! We’ve kept the cattle off of this piece of land to allow the bees to do their thing with the clover blossoms. I suspect there’s not a much sweeter delight than home-grown clover honey #amiright?
But as we were walking through that paddock recently I commented to RancherMan how fragrant those blossoms were. Wonder if I can make jelly from them? Hummmm…
I love fresh spinach & I’m sure to plant it every year in my edible landscape garden. It’s beautiful, leafy-green and makes a lovely border. Oh, and you can EAT it! What’s not to love??!
But in our part of NE Texas the window of opportunity in enjoying fresh spinach is short. In no time our spinach bolts and becomes bitter. But I’ve recently been introduced to a completely different kind of spinach. One that grows vigorously in a vine. In the heat! Malabar spinach!
A sweet neighbor offered to let RancherMan & me come harvest from their huge pear tree. We took a ladder but only had to pick the sweet pears within our reach to bring back about 75 lbs of fresh pears!
I’ve heard of people making something similar to applesauce but using pears instead – Pear Sauce! I love applesauce so I figured I should give it a try. Using my slow cooker it was super easy too, the procedure is the same as when I made applesauce. Check it out!
When our garden is producing extremely well I like to preserve as much as I can from it. Oftentimes our tomatoes are producing like GANGBUSTERS and I’m making Tomato Sauce and Pasta Sauce from it Sometimes I dehydrate them into Tomato Powder or just Dried Diced Tomatoes to drop into my wintertime simmering soups.
But one of my favorite ways to preserve tomatoes is by dehydrating it into tomato leather. That way I can roll it out directly on top of my pizza crust & just start piling on the toppings. The cooking process and the moisture in the toppings rehydrates the leather for me.
But I didn’t get many tomatoes this year so I find myself purchasing pasta sauce until I can make it myself again. (sigh…) But recently I had leftover pasta sauce and wondered what to do with it. Since we’ve recently discovered tortilla pizzas I decided to make some tortilla-sized tomato leather!
I’ve canned food almost all my life – I actually enjoy it. Recently I was gifted many fresh pears that I didn’t want to go to waste. And THEN we took a long weekend to go visit my favorite aunt & uncle in west Texas. My aunt sent me home with about 20 lbs of fresh apples PLUS a huge cooler packed with frozen cut/sugared apple slices & pureed apples.
OMGoodness there’s NO room in my freezer or fridge – that means more food to process!
That can mean only one thing: Go into power-canning mode for several days trying to FINALLY get done with the fresh produce that needed to be dealt with. Although I ended up with many jars of delectable treats, getting there was a comedy of errors! C’mon in & see.
I’ve heard that pear relish is delicious but… I dunno. I mean sweet pears coupled with savory onions & bell peppers? And jalapenos? And MUSTARD? Blech! I’ve never been a fan of sweet & savory tastes together. But RancherMan asked me to get the recipe from a friend so I did. The instructions she sent were kind of vague and the recipe seemed to make quite a lot . What if all that food & work were wasted because, well… (see pears vs peppers & onions argument above!) So I made a small batch just to check it out. After sampling the results we found it delicious! RancherMan has already asked me to make it again, this time a full batch #ifyouplease!
Squash is a prolific veggie. Summer gardens are often so overloaded with zucchini & summer squash that although you anxiously enjoy it the moment it’s harvest-able in the spring, soon your family tires of squash every night. You then attempt to preserve some for winter months but still that squash harvest keeps coming Every. Single. Day.
Finally in a futile attempt to dodge being consumed by the giant growing mountain of squash you start giving it away to grateful friends and family… for a while.
Soon even they run when they see you coming toward them with yet another squash harvest in hand. You can’t stand to see that beautiful garden produce go to waste. But “What’s a girl to do?” you wonder to yourself as you slowly disappear beneath the growing squash harvest pile… Recently I was skimming my Facebooknewsfeed and I saw someone post about making a sweet chewy treat from overgrown excess garden squash. Whaaaaaa….??? I’m intrigued!
I planted pickler cucumbers in my garden this year and they’ve been producing well. But I only planted one vine since there are only two of us at the house now & I didn’t want it to produce more than RancherMan & I could consume.
So each morning I go out to the garden and pick a few 3″ – 4″ pickling-sized cucumbers and set them in the fridge until I figure I have enough to make refrigerator pickles. It doesn’t take long since I’m making them 1 quart jar at a time this year.