Tuesday, October 1, 2013
SUE ANN'S APPLES, PEARS AND TOMATOES !!!!
This is the time of year, the end of September, in Ohio, when the pear trees are done, the apples trees are done, and the tomatoes are "just about" done! And the funny thing is, I have known this my whole life, but it never changes- they ALL want to be DONE at the same time!!!!
This week has had me wishing for an Amish family living next door, so I could borrow about 6 people's hands to help!!! Makes me appreciate,and miss, big families!!! My son is in college all day, my husband is at work all day, and I have ALL DAY to do food!! LOL!! AND, all the other things one does in the house....
This is the time of year that my canning becomes more freezing!!! I do not have the time to watch a pot of water boil...if I need to get yard work done before the rains, windows washed before the cold, any sort of small thing......
The pears were great this year. We stored about 8 lbs. in the fridge, so pears are THE snack for a while!! The rest were made into pear sauce- the same way you make apple sauce, I had 10 qts., and froze them...in 1 qt. containers.
The apples were a surprise tho....Our old stand by tree of 30 yrs is dying, and had only 1 apple on it..poor thing.....but hubby found another smaller tree, on property that was deserted....and brought home 2 pickle buckets full...they were small, like a crab apple, but they seem to be a Delicious, just young. 31 of these apples, makes 5 lbs..so you can imagine how many I had!!!! I picked out the best, for "eaters" and they are in the fridge, about 10 lbs worth....and the rest became apple juice!! They were too small to bother for sauce or butter.....Making juice takes time. I had 4 HUGE pots of cut-up, cooked apples, hanging around all week!!! Takes about a day to get them to drain thru an old white pillow case I use for juice...then we squeeze the bag for a while!! I had hoped to make apple jelly, but did not have enough hands this week! We got 12 qts. of juice. Into the freezer they went!!!
Because liquids expand when frozen, you cannot put full containers in the freezer, I had to split the quarts, to be on the safe side, and that is ok, we had the room. When it DOES get cold, I can pull a quart out and put it on the stove and add cinnamon sticks to it for a hot drink, or even add tea to it. Something nice for the winter, especially around the holidays, I like to have hot apple juice on hand...it is a treat..
The tomatoes are struggling along with these cold nights- we are getting down to 46 at night....so production is much slower....I was able to get a canning for tomato soup....I will be working on that on Monday ( hopefully done, by the time you read this!!) And I will freeze it too, will have maybe 10 qts. Any remaining tomatoes that will come on, will just be eaten fresh, there will not be many more.
In canning, one has to think about the length of time the stove is on ( energy bills!!) and the water used......and by the end of Sept., I have pretty much decided that I have used enough energy!!! So freezing is better...for the little bit that is left to do. Something like 10-12 qts., I would divide the jars between cannings, each canning holds 7 qts., to make it worth my while...but that is also about 2-3 hrs. I have to be in the kitchen, or real near it, to watch the stove.....This is where canning becomes a very "business" like venture- time versus money...!!! and right now..my time is more valuable - to be out getting the yard set, house cleaned, wood ready..etc......
If you have a garden, you may still have carrots, like we do, and they are not quit ready yet, but the cool nights are longer in coming, so hill up dirt around them, a few inches deep- just the carrot part, the green tops are on their own!!! The dirt will protect the carrot- until you know the first real hard frost is coming..then pull them!!!
The same is for cabbages..they LOVE cool weather..but can wilt in the colder nights, so mound up straw, mulch, around all the leaves, don't bury them, but pretty near to it!!!! and they will last too, until the hard frost.....
The rest of our garden is done for the year, and I am waiting about a month......before I straw over the strawberries, and mulch the asparagus, they do better after a first frost......then I will cover the blueberries too..to keep the deer from them this winter....and put a cage around our gooseberry bush, for the same reason. We have plenty of woods for them to forage in, but they seem to like the tender tips of my bushes and trees...like it was deer candy!!!
This is the time of year too, that stores will have cranberries pretty cheap- buy them!!! I will give a recipe for them at the end.
Also, green peppers are finishing...they like the cooler temps too, and I will give you a recipe for them, and onions is another that will be at the tail end of harvest....and even if you don't have a garden, they are fairly cheap in the stores.
ONION RING PICKLES
1 1/2 lbs. small to med. mild onions
18 whole cloves
18 black peppercorns
3 t mustard seed
1 1/2 2 celery seed
2 c white, or cider, vinegar
1/2 c water
1 c sugar
2 t salt (regular , non iodized salt)
1 1/2 t turmeric
1/8 t cinnamon
Peel onions and slice 1/4 " thick. Separate the rings, divide them between 3 pint canning jars.
To each jar, add 6 whole cloves, 6 peppercorns, 1 t mustard seed, 1/2 t celery seed.
Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, turmeric, and cinnamon, in cooking pot.Heat to boil, then simmer, 2 mins.
Fill the jars with the hot liquid, 1/4" head space, can add a little more liquid (water) if needed. Store in fridge,-use plastic warp over the jars first, before adding the lid. If you want, water bath them, 10 mins. Be sure to cool them before putting in the fridge.
Let onions mellow for a month before eating.
RED AND/ OR YELLOW PEPPER STRIPS IN VINEGAR
2 1/2 lbs. ( 5 large) red, and or yellow sweet peppers.
2 large cloves garlic, sliced into cloves
2 t canning salt
3 3/4 c white vinegar
1 3/4 c water
Olive oil, optional.
Wash and dry peppers. Cut out stems and cores, remove seeds, cut in lengthwise strips, 1/2" - 1" wide.
Place 2 cloves of garlic in each of 2, one quart jars, wide mouths are the best for this recipe.Arrange the pepper strips in the jars, alternating the colors if you use yellows. Pack the strips firmly,scatter remaining garlic between the 2 jars, over the top. Sprinkle 1 t salt in each jar.
Combine vinegar and water in a pot, heat to simmering, pour into jars, filling to 1" of the rim. If you want to add a topping of olive oil, add it on top of the vinegar solution, add 1/4 " of oil.
You can let this cool, and store in the fridge, or hot water bath, 15 mins. Let peppers mellow for a month, before eating.
SWEET AND TART PICKLED CRANBERRIES
2, 12 oz pkgs. ( about 7 c ) cranberries
3 c red wine, or cider vinegar
3 1/2 c sugar
1 1/3 c water
1 T coriander seed
1 t whole cloves
1 T coarsely broken cinnamon stick
Pick over and rinse cranberries, let them drain in colander.
Combine vinegar, sugar, water, in a large pot. Tie coriander seed, cloves, and cinnamon, in a square of cheese cloth, add to mixture.
Bring to a boil, over med. heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer, partially covered, 5 mins.
Add the berries to the syrup, and lower the heat. Cook them very slowly, uncovered, shaking pot often, until the skins have cracked. About 7 mins.
Pour the berries, syrup, and spice bag into a large mixing bowl,cool, then cover, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
Next day, spoon berries into 3 pint jars. Reheat the syrup and spice bag to boiling, toss spice bag in compost!! Remove from heat, fill jars with syrup, 1/4 " head space. Store in fridge, after allowing to cool, or hot water bath, 15 mins. Let cranberries mellow for 2 weeks, before eating.
Any of these 3 recipes will last up to March, in the fridge. They are great recipes for special treats, but can be easily made...in a short period of time. If you hot water bath can them, they will last til next Fall!!!