Still with the harvesty-ness

Thanks for everybody who shared the Little House love with me after the last post, and thanks for the great ideas about even more stuff to do. I found one way of solving my zucchini over-abundance--I stopped watering the garden. Hah! Way to be a problem solver, self.

Since last we spoke, I have been even more like an insane squirrel or ant or similar storing food for the winter. The problem was that it all happened at once. That day I went to pick blackberries, the owner asked if my friend and I wanted peaches too. Since I am not a great fool, I said yes. And then on the way home I remembered that corn season is almost over so I stopped at a roadside stand and bought three dozen ears of corn for freezing. Which means that I suddenly had two shoe boxes full of blackberries, at least a bushel of ripe peaches, and three dozen ears of corn that all needed to be dealt with kind of now.

And then that night there was a frost warning and I ran outside and picked all my peppers, jalapenos, and herbs. It was a little bit nuts in the kitchen, and when GH walked in and took a whiff of the four grocery bags full of herbs he did not react well. "Why does our kitchen smell like this? This is awful, I do not like it." And then possibly the cookie sheets of herbs in the freezer made our Aggie's Chocolate English Toffee ice cream taste like basil afterwards. Maybe. I'll deny everything.

And then boneless skinless chicken breasts went on this crazy sale and I bought two huge packages and then had like twenty chicken breasts to cook, shred, and freeze.

And then all the plums on my trees went for real ripe.

So. Out of that craziness I ended up with:

A quart of frozen diced jalapenos
A quart of frozen sliced bell pepper
A quart of frozen diced bell pepper
Bags and bags of frozen corn in my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's freezers
Bags of frozen, cooked, shredded chicken breast. (And a big thank you to Pinterest and my Kitchen-Aid--use the paddle attachment and dump the hot cooked chicken in there and BOOM, shredded.)
More blackberry jam
More peach jam
Quarts of frozen blackberries
Quarts of frozen peach slices
Frozen sage
Frozen basil
Frozen thyme
Four quarts of peach pie filling, except the poor peach slices got really battered and mashed up during the process and now it kind of looks like big jars of snot. This is why I stopped.
Jars of plum jelly
Jars of plum jam

In the middle of all of this I had myself a nice Mommy Guilt Breakdown. Because I was determined to have a productive day, the Tiny Dark Lord spent the morning watching the new Muppets movie and Laurie Berkner on repeat. Then it was lunch time, and then he napped all afternoon. I was thinking about how beautiful September is and realized that my poor child hadn't been outside in days. It was beautiful and warm out there and he was completely missing it and soon it would be so very cold for the rest of ever and going outside will be this huge big Randy-from-A-Christmas-Story-with-the-layers endeavor and he is going to die without loving nature and it's all my fault, etc.

my sweet boy, off to seek the Christ child

So. After that delightful realization, I've made some changes. The mornings are now for taking long walks outside, and things like canning and freezing and jamming are done during nap times and in the evening. I'm loving the walks, by the way. Not only are my legs starting to get reacquainted with this whole "exertion" idea, but I found my dream house. (And no, I can in no way afford it. Curse you, finished basements and upgraded kitchens!)

TDL likes the walks too. Not only do I keep an eye out for fallen apples for him to munch on, but he is making lots of animal friends. Today we tried a new route with my sister-in-law and passed a yard that had a goat, a pony, and a Shetland pony in it and they all came over to say hello. I may or may not have done my Mark Whalberg impression. "Hey goat . . "

And now it's apple season. Anybody have a favorite applesauce recipe?

Before I dive into that, though, I'm taking a break and hitting the Shakespeare Festival this weekend with Desmama and Emandtrev. We leave tomorrow morning and I'm so excited. It's all going to be so wonderful--the plays (we are seeing Les Miserables and Stones in His Pockets), the conversation with other adult women, hours and hours in the car to knit and chat, and, of course, the tarts.

Oh, tarts. Your lover returns . . .


FoxyJ said... [reply]

I am jealous of your road trip, sounds like a lot of fun.

I don't really use a recipe for applesauce, but I do use my crockpot. It's easier than trying to regulate the temperature on the stove. I have an apple peeler thingy so I peel the apples, cut them in wedges with my other nifty tool that cuts and cores them, and then I stick the wedges in the crockpot with some apple juice for moisture. I let it cook for a while on low (4-5 hours, i think?),use my immersion blender to blend it up, and then either can it or freeze it. Yum.

Brinestone said... [reply]

I am dealing with apples and tomatoes. So far I've made applesauce and apple butter (yum!), and I'm working right now on apple pie filling. I wish I had made more apple butter, and I may use the last 20 pounds of apples for that if I can muster up the willpower to make a huge mess of my kitchen again.

Desmama said... [reply]

You did laps and laps and laps around me in terms of canning and preserving and freezing. I am so impressed and more than a little jealous.

Also, if you do decide to do anything with apples, I have a corer/peeler thingie I bought that you can borrow. It's wickedawesome and makes things much easier. Perhaps we shall stop at fruit stands on the way down? I still need to find some good apples for apple butter and/or pie filling.

goddessdivine said... [reply]

Oh, eat a cream cheese tart for me, will ya'?

Janssen said... [reply]

That house? I love it. Holy cow. Dying over the kitchen.

Mike Harrell said... [reply]

Ugggh. Basil will totally do that. I got ambitious a couple years ago and bought a ton of herbs at the Provo farmers' market. These were, of course, all left in the same bag and out in the bottom drawer of the fridge. Next morning, it had basically all become basil. V disappointing.

Kara said... [reply]

Regarding basil ice cream:
Admit nothing,
Deny everything,
Make counter accusations

So jealous you're going to USF. Brian Vaughn > Colin Firth.

Lindsay said... [reply]

I make this applesauce every fall. It's super easy.

Crock Pot Applesauce

Approximately 5 medium-sized apples (sweet, tangy varieties are best, but any apple will do.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar or 3-4 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Peel apples, if desired, and cut into fourths. Toss into a crock pot, top with water, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook on high for about 2 hours or until apples are soft. Mash apples using an electric hand mixer or immersion blender. Serve warm or chilled.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Okay, this crock pot applesauce stuff Foxj and Lindsay are telling me? Blowing my mind. This is going to be tons better!!

MBC said... [reply]

I like chunky applesauce, but Steve likes it smooth and the baby likes it smooth, so now we make it smooth and, if you have the right equipment, it's the easiest thing in the world (even easier than in the crockpot). We're doing some up tonight. You just rinse off all the apples and chuck them whole into a pot (a pressure cooker will take your cooking time down to about 5 minutes). Cook until soft, adding water if it looks like the apples are sticking or burning. Then you just dump the pot of apples into a food mill (or if you have a kitchenaid, the strainer attachment). All the peels and cores get left in the top of the food mill and applesauce comes out the bottom. Actually, you could probably do the first part in a crockpot.

We buy ground fall apples. which are a mix of all the apples our orchard sells--just whatever they pick up from the ground that's not bruised--and having multiple varieties of apples in the sauce is really delicious (also CHEAP). We don't add anything to it at all.

I've been watching videos of Stones in My Pocket on Facebook and weeping for myself. Hope you have a lovely time.

Dave and Gina said... [reply]

So I made crockpot applesauce last night. Threw some pears in there too since they were starting to turn brown. I do NOT peel, I leave it in big chunks, fill crockpot. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of apple juice, cider or water, and a couple cinnamon sticks. Maybe 1/2 cup of brown sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples. Cook all night on low. In the morning take out cinnamon sticks and toss and then I use my submersion blender or food processor and make it into sauce. The peels practically disappear, my kids gobble it down, and I rarely have enough to freeze anymore. Have fun!

Dave and Gina said... [reply]

Yikes, I meant 1/4 cup of brown sugar, no more. Or none if the apples are sweet enough. You can also use your crockpot to make apple butter.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Okay...so if I was a little envious of your canning while we were chatting in the car, I am now a very unbecoming shade of chartreuse. Look at your canning/preserving/freezing prowess. You are amazing!

I'm interested in trying that crock pot applesauce. Maybe. I'm kind of a wimp on some of these things.

I had a wonderful, wonderful time at the festival. So much good conversation, food, laughs, plays...ahh. And virtual hugs again re: one of the other discussion topics. I'm thinking of you!

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

So I didn't really get past where you mentioned Aggie ice cream and now I'm thinking about heading to Aggie ice cream for a double scoop of oreo mint and oreo fudge. Hard to get actually because of the way they are situated in the freezer. I know this because I worked at Aggie ice cream one summer and the uniforms haven't changed a bit. Unfortunately I'd have to get in the car and drive 600 miles for Aggie ice cream so I think THAT craving won't be satisfied for a few more months . . .

What were we talking about again?

Cathy said... [reply]

If you haven't yet totally solved the zucchini problem, may I recommend destroying a plant each time things get really vexatious? I had one year when I really couldn't keep up with the zucchini, and that is when I discovered the cathartic power of zucchini plant destruction. My gardening shears and I might not be able to take over the world but we could triumph over the accursed over-producing zucchini.

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

That house is amazing. And your Shakespeare Festival trip sounds fab! Not to mention your fruit and vegetable production. Go you!

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