Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Apples Everywhere, and a Flower Bed Full of Weeds

    Well, I have finally worked my way through a little more than half our apple stock.  I started off over the weekend and just decided I was gonna get some done.  I pulled out a juicer I have had in my cabinets for a very long time, after my three year-old's incessant rantings of,  "I want apple juice!"  (I have a friend or two who can testify that it never stops unless he has a cup of it in his hands.)  I made the first batch from some tiny green apples, they were delish!  He and my only girlie were singing my praises...."more juice, more juice"...However, it does take a huge pot full of these little apples to make a half gallon of juice.  I juiced the bigger apples next and BOY THEY WERE SOUR!  My mouth still waters thinking of how sour it was.  How in the world will I get them to drink this?  My mom saved the day, she told me to make a simple syrup equal parts sugar and water heat it till the sugar melts and cool it and add it to the juice.  BINGO!  It is still better than that stuff from the store and FRESH!
    Now off to make some applebutter.  I have personally never made the stuff.  I wanted something spicy and sweet to cover up the sour apples.  I found a great recipe that called for cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.  4 cups of sugar to sweeten and 3/4 cups of juice (I just juiced enough to add to the applebutter too)
I made a run in a heavy sauce pot... the butter was a light golden color, and the overnight crockpot butter was a beautiful deep amber color.  I made these on Saturday but canned another 11 pints this morning of the wonderful stuff.  I think I will attempt to put the rest up as apple jelly and apple sauce, till we make another run to the mountains to restock.
    I love to be in the kitchen working away while the kids are playing at the table.  It reminds me of my grandmother who was always in the kitchen cooking something.  It makes me feel close to her.  She was drinking out of Mason jars before it was cool ya'll!
     I would love to get tons of applesauce stocked up.  My goal is not to hoard all this, but change the way we eat.  My parents always do a garden every spring, putting up corn, green beans and okra is a tradition.  I have NEVER bought any of these items from a store and it saves TONS for a family of 7.  I do want to have other things at our disposal so I am not constantly making trips to the store for "something sweet"  so the applebutter will go a long way in making apple pies, apple muffins, fritters, cakes, topping for pancakes. We just want to use what we have and quit buying so much "junk."  God has so blessed us in the area of our garden, He has always been faithful to give us rain, and sunshine when we need it.  I want to be able to bless others too with excess when we have it and nothing is a greater gift than fresh food!
     On another note, school is in full swing at our home.  I am trying to manage taking care of all our animals, getting 4 out of 5 kids motivated to do school, getting myself motivated (LOL)  Don't act like you don't understand that last part.  All the meanwhile my yards is a foot tall, and my flower bed is ...ummm...well..let's just say we might loose the little one in there!  I did make a pitiful attempt at mowing a third of our yard this afternoon, but it just looks like waves of kelp floating on the top of the ocean.
     I am constantly thinking about all the things I need to do, but then realize that the JOY in life is being in God's given place, at that VERY moment when your kids all love each other and their laughter fills the space you are in....what a slice of heaven.  But, then we go out to the front yard to play and I realize.... that the reality of it is," I have a flower bed full of weeds!"