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..  



  1. One of our apple trees died this year I think, the other old one produced well but it is fading fast as well and you can see the dead part rising in it's trunk. Another year or two at most. One of my new trees tried hard and produced about 8 apples but they were all casualties before they ripened.

    Looks like you got one hell of an organization going on. Very nice!!!

    1. Bummer about the trees. If it drops all of it's apples again next year.. cut some open to check for coddling moth larvae. Possible the one may try to make a come back next year. If the tree is not dying back due to disease.. maybe you could cut some scions and graft them on to the new trees.

      Trying to get organized. It's not something I am very good at. lol It will help me crank out things a lot faster next year. Just somethings were a hit.. and my family devoured more than I planned. (Seriously.. what kinda weirdo goes through 3 quarts of curry ketchup in a month?!? **glares at husband**)

  2. Wow you are organized- looks great.

    Oh, my what I would not give for some of that apple sauce! We have a few trees but not much was produced this year. And what apples were close enough to the ground the kids picked, the ones the fell on the ground the cow cleaned (she literally ran each morning, when I let her out, to the trees to eat).

    1. Lucky cow! It's so hilarious when the animals get a treat like that and it is so obviously a highlight of their day. A lot of the farmers here (are quite old) still think any apples will make their cows dry up.
      I can't believe how much applesauce & apples we've used up in just over a month. My family goes through food phases. They won't eat something for months and then suddenly they rediscover it and go nuts.
      Hoping next year is a bit more "normal".. and that the trees all do well!

    2. I have never heard that. Well I can tell you our cow has not dried up. Just got done milking her not to long ago.

      The first day she ran to that apple tree I chased after her, I can't even remember what was running through my head at the time...but something like "the dam cow is running away!" Anyway it became a morning ritual for the kids and I to watch her run. Well then later one afternoon she decided to visit the neighbors corn field (1/4 mile down the road) after that she was on house arrest. She is quite the cow!

    3. The girls would have to eat a lot of apples to cause a decline.

      This might be helpful to look at: http://beef.msu.edu/Resources/Nutrition/FeedingApplesorApplePomaceinCattleDiets/tabid/599/Default.aspx

      but it is for beef cattle vs dairy.

      She sounds wonderful! Her antics will make for fantastic memories for the kids... unique and priceless memories.