We had the opportunity this past week to visit my aunt's little farm and pick loads of apples. My children look forward to this every other year and we have been doing it since they were young. After picking (and eating) their fill of apples they got to feed the ground apples to goats, chickens, bunnies and horses. When we arrived home an hour and half later I found myself with fifteen large bags of apples and a van floor full of half eaten apples. Now what to do with them all.
This was the first and last picture of my applesauce making day, because it was a crazy, messy, long, not want to be remembered day. So I will refer you to the post below from my Mom's blog for making applesauce, and always remember that "Mother knows best". especially when it comes to making applesauce.
These are some of the things I plan to do with the seven bags of apples I have left.
We made these apple nachos for lunch. I saw these on pinterest last year and we enjoyed them so much we make them all the time now, we make them different each time depending on what we have and what we feel like. Today we had peanut butter, chocolate shell, coconut, and almonds.
I can't have a post titled Apples, Apples, Apples without sharing our favorite apple picking book. We like to read this before we go picking apples. It is so cute and even the big kids love hearing it.
I am starting the process of cleaning out the garden and getting it prepped for winter. Today I pulled the rest of the zucchini off the plant and I still had some in the house that had be gathered earlier and shredded the entire bunch. I used my amazing Bosch Mixer with the Food Processor Attachment and it made very light work of the shredding. I have two huge bowls of shredded zucchini, so now what?
Probiotic Zucchini Relish
I went to a class last month on fermented foods and how good they are for you, along with how simple they are to prepare. My first experiment was zucchini relish and I loved it so much that I wanted to make more for the winter. Here is my recipe and here is a great post on the basics, how to and why of fermented foods (aka probiotic rich foods). Here is another good post on Fermenting for Beginners.
Add the following ingredients into a large bowl:
3 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded onion
1/2 cup chopped peppers (any kind)
3 cloves, minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Real salt (the salt is important in ferments, always use a trace mineral rich salt, not refined or iodized)
Stir together well and pour into a wide-mouthed quart jar, crock, or glass jar with tight fitting lid (I used a large Adams PB jar and some Costco raspberry jam jars). Let sit for 3-6 days on your counter top, the ferment is finished when the liquid is foggy and you can see lots of bubbles. If stored in a cold, dark place, like a fridge or cold cellar it will keep for a year.
*I ran out of peppers and had an overflowing goji berry bush outside so I threw in 1/4 cup of goji berries on the last couple of jars in place of the peppers. Improvise with what you have, as long as there is garlic, all is well:)
Zucchini Pizza Crust
I found this recipe just this week and I am so excited to try it. Here is the post with the recipe and instructions.
Zucchini Pesto Pasta
When I saw this recipe all I could think of was how much I love putting pesto on everything and how I never thought of smothering it over shredded zucchini before, mmmm. I will be making this for lunch tomorrow - picky kids beware!
Shared on: Required Ingredient.
I look forward every year to the tomato harvest when I can make a big batch of Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. After trying many tomato basil soup recipes that didn't quite do it for me I finally found this one at The Unconvential Kitchen. I make it every year and double the batch so I can bottle it and enjoy it throughout the winter season.
Start by cutting tomatoes in half, I love Roma but used a mix of what was ripe. Mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 Tbsp. Real salt and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Toss the tomatoes in the olive oil mixture and place in a roasting pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
In a large soup pot melt together 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 2 cups chopped onion, 1/4 tsp. red pepper and 6 garlic cloves. Cook until light brown, then add 1 quart of bone broth (or chicken stock).
Add to the pot 1, 28 oz. can of tomatoes with juice (or use tomato powder using the crushed tomatoes equivalent-see below).
4 cup fresh basil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
oven roasted tomatoes from above
Making Crushed Tomatoes with Tomato Powder
Scoop 1/2 cup tomato powder and 1 tsp. Real salt into a measuring cup. Pour very hot water over the powder (using the ratios given in the tomato powder post) and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Remove cover, stir until well blended, then add right to your pot of soup.
Simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the mixture into the blender, I love my Blendtec! Pulse in batches until you reached the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with garlic toast.
This batch makes enough for dinner and then a quart bag or two to freeze for later. If I have enough ingredients I like to double the batch, which gives me 8 quart bottles that I can pressure can for my food storage. I pressure can at 12 lbs. pressure for 30 minutes.
Tomato season is upon us and there are so many wonderful things to do with them it is sometimes hard to decide. The first item of business for me is making sun-dried tomatoes. I use them all winter in pasta, soups, sandwiches and anything else I would put a fresh tomato in. I also love to make all sorts of vegetable powders to add a nutrition boost to foods and an easy way for me to sneak healthy foods into my children's diets (have I mentioned they are picky?). So today we will be drying tomatoes and making tomato powder.
Cherry tomatoes seem to make the perfect sun-dried tomatoes, so I grow them for that purpose. Roma tomatoes are another good choice or you can use any tomato variety, the bigger ones just tend to have more moisture and less "meatiness". For cherry tomatoes slice in half, for other varieties make 1/4 inch slices and place on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate on the veggie setting or 135 degrees, check after 8 hours. They should be plump dried, like a raisin's texture. Store in an airtight container, I like a quart jar, and keep in dark, cool location. You can throw them in any dish as is or reconstitute a bit by covering with boiling water and letting sit for 15 minutes.
For making tomato powder you want to let the tomatoes dehydrate another 4-6 hours until all moisture is completely gone and they a very crisp. Place in a blender or coffee grinder and blend into a fine powder. Pour into a used (or new) spice jar and the remainder into a glass jar for storage. You can now reconstitute this powder into tomato paste, tomato sauce and tomato juice. I also love to sprinkle away in all our food including, soups, pasta, refried beans, sandwiches and spreads.
Making Tomato Products Out of Powder
Years ago I got these equivalents for transforming tomato powder into usable tomato products like those below. Since then the link is no longer active so I cannot give credit to the creator of these equivalents.
Tomato Paste, 6 oz. can = 1/4 cup powder, 1/4 cup hot water, 1/4 teaspoon salt
Tomato Sauce, 8 oz. can = 1/4 cup powder, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/4 teaspoon salt
Crushed Tomatoes, 14-16 oz. can = 1/4 cup powder, 3/4 cup water, 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt
Tomato Juice, 8 oz. = 2-4 Tbsp. powder, just under a cup of hot water, 1/8 tsp. salt
I love summer for many reasons, the heat is not one of them but basil is. There is no way to capture the aroma and flavor of basil as it is just picked and added to a dish. In fact I add basil to just about everything during the summer. I was surprised and excited when I started studying more about this kitchen herb and the many medicinal properties it carries with it.
Family: Labiatae (Lamiaceae) mint family
Parts Used: All aerial (leaves and blossoms)
Basil is an aromatic herb that does not have to be crushed or bruised to release its oils. There are over 150 different varieties of basil, each with its own unique fragrance, look and even medicinal properties. I love to plant a variety of basil throughout my garden.
Methods of Use
In The Garden
Basil is quite easy to grow from seed or you can transplant them from a nursery. It will grow in almost any garden and there are many varieties to choose from.
Drying: Basil can be dried but will lose much of its flavor and aroma so if you want to keep the flavor in tack, use one of the other methods. Dry as quickly as possible and only use the leaves that retain a healthy green color. If they turn dark or black the medicinal properties have been lost.
Freezing: There are two methods for freezing basil, first wash the leaves, dry with a towel and freeze them whole, wrapped in paper towels. You can also chop the leaves, place in an ice cube tray and pour water over the top. Freeze, then pop out the cubes and store in a freezer bag.
Pesto: My favorite method for preserving and eating basil is by making pesto. I make big batches and freeze in ice cube trays. I use this all throughout the winter for a fresh from the garden basil taste and with all the medicinal properties of both the basil and the garlic.
I love my dehydrator and use it every chance I get, not much comes out of the garden that doesn't go into it, so of course I had to throw some zucchini on. I made some yummy zucchini chips, a healthy replacement for potato chips, and some zucchini and yellow squash powder.
Another thing I love is my Bosch mixer. It came with this awesome attachment that slices, juliennes and shreds. I used the thick slice attachment and in a matter of seconds had my zucchini chips sliced and ready to dehydrate.
Lay out the slices on a dehydrator tray so they are touching but not overlapping. Last year I tossed them in olive oil but that made them way too oily so this year I filled a spray bottle with grape seed oil and just sprayed the slices. It was so much easier and they turned out perfect. Next sprinkle some seasoned salt - I love Real Salt seasoning blend. Remember when sprinkling on a seasoning that these will shrink. My first batch I added way too much but the next batch was perfect, just a little seasoning goes a long way. I went ahead and made some yellow summer squash chips also. Turn the dehydrator to the vegetable setting (135) and check it in 8 hours, they are done when crisp. Store in an airtight container in the cupboard and eat with sandwiches instead of potato chips or as a snack.
While I'm dehydrating I always make powdered vegetables that I can easily and sneakily add to other dishes. Dehydrate the slices minus the oil and seasoning salt. Once crisp blend into a powder. Powdered squash works well for thickening soups and adding extra nutrition to any dish. I also throw it in my pancakes, waffles, muffins and sweet breads or baked goods - the possibilities are endless.
I found some other great zucchini recipes here and here. I just got another load off the zucchini plant ready for the cooking, now its just deciding what to make.
This post was shared on: Tuesday Garden Party.
I use a couple methods for freezing my apricots. First I cut them in halves, remove the pits and place them on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen remove and place in a freezer bag. These work great for throwing in smoothies and my kids like to eat them frozen, as is.
My favorite way to freeze things is by pureeing and placing in freezer trays to make food cubes. This is the best way to make your own baby food and even though I don't have babies anymore I still love this method. I use food cubes for smoothies and for adding nutrients to any meal - I have to be sneaky around my house.
Another freezer option is popsicles. We love experimenting with different kinds of popsicles so this was no exception. I pureed the apricots and added honey to sweeten, then froze in popsicle molds. Mine are in great need of replacement so it will be hard to decide with all the options available now.
You can use these methods for freezing any kind of fruit or vegetable (although veggie popsicles might not fly around here). As always experiment and see what works for you.
My favorite way to preserve food is through dehydrating. Not only is it one of the easiest ways to preserve, it is the most beneficial. When something is dehydrated the water is removed but the nutrients stay intact, even when something is frozen there is nutrient loss. Dehydrating takes up a lot less space on your pantry shelves and leaves precious freezer space for other things. And best of all you can get a 5-10 year self life versus 1-2 years for canning and 6 months for the freezer!
Dehydrating is very versatile, you can dehydrate something whole, chopped, or pureed. Today we will be dehydrating whole apricots and making fruit leather.
Before dehydrating fruits it's a good idea to soak in lemon juice or citric acid for 10-15 minutes to prevent browning. I used 1 Tbsp. citric acid per 1 gallon of cold water. Citric acid is more concentrated than lemon juice and does a better job of preserving color.
Next, fill your trays and place on the fruit/veggie setting. I like my apricots a raisin like texture, still soft. What I got was very chewy ones because I forgot about them and they went all night long. I tell you this so you remember to check on those babies after about 8 hours. If they need to go overnight I just lower the temperature and check first think in the morning. I store mine in quart jars and if you have a food saver with the canning attachment you can prolong the shelf life even longer.
Apricot Fruit Leather
Last year I pureed my apricots and threw them on my dehydrator trays and thought I was good to go. They were so tart that no one would eat them and they ended up in the compost pile. Well this year I was going to make a yummy batch of apricot fruit leather - enter some sweetener. Honey is my favorite sweetener so that is what we used. As a rule of thumb about a tablespoon honey per cup of puree. Although after taste testing we stopped measuring and just poured the honey in until it tasted good and sweet.
Place on the fruit roll sheets for the dehydrator and dehydrate at 100 or below to preserve the healing benefits of the honey. It should peel and bend easily when done. I let mine go too long again (I get distracted easily) so we had apricot "crisps" along with fruit leather. After peeling them off, roll up in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.
We just had a big apricot picking day at my aunt's farm. Now the question is - What to do with all these apricots? I like to do a combination of preserving techniques with most of my garden vegetables and fruit. With apricots we will be canning, freezing and dehydrating.
Citric Acid Wash
The first thing I do is give them a little citric acid wash. I put 1/4 cup citric acid in a sink full of cold water. The citric acid will prevent browning, cleans and removes dirt from the food. As I do with everything, I also added a couple drops of lemon essential oil. I then enlisted a couple of helpers to pull the apricots apart and remove the pits. One helper decided to just eat the apricots and then throw the pit in the bucket, that works too.
I don't do the traditional canning of the apricot halves (we freeze and dehydrate those) instead we make apricot syrup. My kids love this on their pancakes and waffles and it tastes so good on fresh bread. Because I pressure can them for our food storage I do use *gasp* refined sugar, although a much lower amount than the original recipe calls for, which is why it is a syrup and not a jar. If anyone has a great canning apricot jam/syrup recipe that does not use refined sugar, please share!
Apricot Syrup Recipe
Pour in sterilized pint jars (this batch make 9 pints), wipe tops, and place hot lids and rings on. I really like the tattler reusable lids, which I need more of since I only had two left. I know a lot of people just water bath their jams and syrups but I find it easier to just pressure can them, so do what you like best. Bring up to 10 lbs. pressure then turn off the stove and wait for the pan to cool down before removing the jars.
15 cups pureed apricots
1/2 cup lemon juice
6 Tablespoons pectin (2 boxes)
3 cups sugar
Mix apricots and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Stir in pectin and bring to a boil. Stir in sugar and boil for four minutes. Pour in pint jars, seal with lids, and place in a pressure canner. Bring the pressure up to 10 lbs. and turn off the stove. This recipe makes 9 pints and I always double it to fill my pressure canner.
Hi, I’m Annie, a Mother of Influence and Master Herbalist. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating and living, gardening, homeschooling,herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.