Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Apples & Organization

 New shelves of the first section are up and getting filled.

 I have 2 binders that I am using to try and keep my recipes organized. The lids are labeled with batch numbers, content, and date. I'm doing this because I have a lot of different variations and I'm trying to hone it down to the ones we like best.

 The binders will let me rearrange the recipes later so that I can have them divided up by the primary ingredient. One I will keep in the kitchen, and the other will stay by the jars. The one downstairs has additional pages so I can keep track of how much I have made, so I know how much I have used.

 Having an idea of what we consume will help me gauge my garden plantings. I'll know what types we like best and how much I need to plant. It will also help me with some things like jam combinations. I know that next year I need to have at least 4 pounds of raspberries and black raspberries frozen to make my daughter's favorite jam combo later. 

 All of these butternut squash, came off of 2 hills that combined had a total of 5 plants. We'll be eating it at least once a week for a year. By "we" I mean my family and my birds. The lowest level is a bench that spans the wall which is roughly 18 feet and it's almost completely full.

 I finally cried "Uncle" and said we have enough apples. We're using king size pillow cases for them. Each holds over 50 pounds of apples. Just as I tackle 1 bag, my husband would wander home with more. That void in the shelf of quarts will be filled just as soon as the latest jars of applesauce have cooled. I will finally be under 400 pounds of apples today. We've been snacking on apples constantly.. the birds get some every day.. even the dog gets a cored apple. (One of the apples is everyone's favorite.. it's yellow with a red blush at the stem end. Crisp wonderful texture and tastes like a really sweet pear! An old lost tree that no one knows what kind it is. I HAVE to get scions!!)

 This is my apple crumb cake..

  To those that let us glean apples from their trees, I made them one of these, fresh warm rolls, a pint of applebutter, and also some quarts of applesauce as a thank you. They've all offered up an open invite so we can pick next year too. The assortment is nice because I have different kinds that can be used different ways.

 None of these trees are sprayed, pruned, or bothered with in any way. The spring flowers are nice, but the apples are seen more of as a nuisance that have to pick up each fall before they mow the lawn. It makes me smile when they say "Oh wow! You made this from my apples?" 

 I did... now appreciate that damn tree ya lucky bastard!  
 We have more apple trees planted, but they need a few years yet to produce. The old orchard at the big farm seems to be nailed by a blight. It's hard to tell as it has been swallowed up by the encroaching forest and now is almost impossible to get to on foot. All the more reason to plant more.. and more varieties!

 Maybe I should gather a few more just in case..