Apples

I don’t know how it happened, but I turned in to one of those people who wants to excel at home preserving, grow vegetables, and keep chickens and goats. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right? I’m currently on step one, becoming proficient, confident, and successful at home-preserving local produce. It started out as a Daring Kitchen challenge, and since it was relatively easy and I had good feedback from my taste-testers, I’m plowing ahead.

This year, I’m maximizing the potential to amaze by buying fresh-picked apples from a local family farm, and using their farm-pressed cider too. So Meghan & I went to Honey-Pot Hill Orchards this past weekend to stock up on apples, peaches, cider donuts, and pies.

20 pounds of Red Gravenstein apples later….

So this is what 20 lbs of Gravenstein apples looks like...

I’ve conquered 3 of 4 batches of apple butter, resulting in 15 lovely jars currently occupying my countertop. 1 batch/5 jars left to go, and then I’m done. For now. Maybe not forever. Maybe not even for this season.

I’m also madly enchanted by the immersion blender Jim got me for Christmas last year. No more mashing my apple butter with a potato masher! Instead, I can almost instantly whip it in to a luxuriously smooth spread. Hurrah. I think that’s why I’m getting one full jar more out of each batch this year than I did in previous years, because I can blitz the apples in to a liquid instead of a chunky solid. Or because the apples were huge, fresh, and full of juice. Not sure. But the resulting butter is smooth, consistent, and richly flavored. I’m looking forward to a fall and winter full of my own apple butter, the taste of late summer.

Next spring: vegetables in container gardens. Just trying to find a local winery that might be interested in selling used barrels. Looking forward to maybe canning some fresh homemade relish or ketchup or tomato sauce next year!

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