Apples.

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I amuse myself with my bad drawings of food.

Apples are in season. I went out and picked close to a bushel and a half. I had a half bushel of Cortlands, a half bushel of Gala and something else mixed and 2/3 of a half bushel Honey Crisp (which would be a peck and a 1/2?). Then we went to a farmers market because I wanted to find some pears. When we went to the market I found they had seconds of apples. Woohoo! The price was $8.00 for a 1/2 bushel. That was cheeper than the apples I just went to the orchard and picked myself!

Naturally, I picked up another half bushel. They also had pears so I picked up a half bushel of those as well.

I started with trying to can up apples for pie. Typically I would make and freeze the pie but since I am out of a freezer at the moment canning apples for pie and baking sounded like a good idea. I ended up with 14 quart size jars of canned sliced apples. I was a bit disappointed how they turned out in the jars as many of my jars lost liquid in the processing. The apples are still good but I have had some darkening in the apples. I think the problem with canning resulted from trying to pack too much fruit in the jar. The recipe I was using said I would get roughly four quarts to the amount of apples. I was getting constantly six quarts. The second round I tried to stuff more apples into the jar to match the recipes yield and those were the jars that lost the liquid when processing. In all of my apple canning recipes I ended up with way more apples than the recipes said I would. Maybe I’m not getting as much waste when I peel/core them? I don’t know but I know it’s a consistent problem.

After the jars of apples came apple sauce. I wasn’t planning on making that much apple sauce as both kids don’t eat it. I was only canning it to use on cooking roasts. My half bushel of seconds yielded me about eight quarts. Then I made cinnamon apple rings and apple butter. Which for the record making apple butter is for the birds. It took FOREVER to cook down. I had to let it simmer all day running to the pot to stir it at the same time as taking care of two small children. I will NOT be making apple butter for canning until they are either in school or big enough to entertain themselves for a few hours. I ended up with seven 1/2 pints of apple butter and seven pints of apple rings. The apple rings are all for me as Husband has stated he doesn’t like them.

I dried a few apple slices from the apple rings, because I ended up with way too many apples once again.

Since it seems that when I’m canning I can never come up with a perfect amount I end up with extra food, not enough to can but too much to toss out, or enough to can but I don’t have a jar at the ready. It goes in the fridge. Of this extra food much of it was apple sauce. I decided to try feeding it to the children. They ate it up. Won’t touch store bought stuff but eat my homemade applesauce like it’s the last meal they will ever have. Next time we went out to the farmer’s market I picked up another half bushel of seconds, resulting in about another 8 quarts.

Canned Apples

A selection of home canned apples

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Salsa-not-so-riffic

I was given a large amount of Roma tomatoes. It sounded like the giver of the tomatoes wanted me to make salsa with them, which I can only assume means that they are expecting some prepared salsa in return for the tomatoes. A fair trade.

One major problem with this.

My salsa takes awful.

Unless you want your eyes to burn from the vinegar and your teeth to hurt from the sweetness. Then it might be delicious.

The first batch, it was so vinegar-y tasting, and HOT. I’m not sure if the heat came from the jalapeño’s or the vinegar. I think it was the vinegar, it was so…well burn-y, like I tried to drink some cider vinegar. Yuck. The second round looked better. It still was a bit strong on the vinegar smell even though I tried to cut the vinegar, and was using a different recipe. The second round turned out even worse. It was vinegar-y AND super sweet. I think the little bit of sugar that the recipe called for could have been totally omitted and it still would have been sickly sweet. It was definitely not a flavor mix that I found appetizing in the least.

We’ll use the canned jars, but instead of being able to eat them on chips or tacos it will have to be in dishes that are cooked to help mellow out the taste. Thankfully I have a ton of recipes that utilize jars of salsa for slow-cooker cooking which will help mellow out those overly in-your-face flavors.

If anyone has a great salsa recipe I would love to try it! I hope to find one that works with just the right balance of flavors. I’m going to be trying the Ball canning salsa mix and recipe on the mix in the hopes that it’s a good one. I figured with years of expertise they should have been able to perfect the perfect salsa combination of acid and bases, sweetness and heat.

But I am open to trying just about any salsa recipe, as long as it doesn’t have corn in it.