Sunday, September 13, 2009

South Winds & Marigolds

Marigolds in full bloom. No rain and above 20 C highs non-stop since mid-August, and more of the same in the forecast. Steady south winds have drained the rain barrels down and driving the grass into dormancy (haven't watered grass).

Above, left to right: Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, dill, marigolds, kale, poppy, more dill, carrots, brussels sprouts.

Above: Prairie Pride Tomatoes ripening fast, waning Lincoln/Homesteader Peas (behind) drying out.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Apple Sauce Runneth Over

We've been raiding the neighbourhood orchards this past week, with yummy results. We are fortunate the previous generation took the time to plant so many apple trees in our neigbourhood, and the next generation is so generous to have them picked (and haven't cut them down yet).

These apples were picked within less than 2 minute walk of our house. After a week of picking and a freezer full of applesauce, we've hardly picked 20% of the apples on our choice tree. The small red ones on the left came from the choice tree, called Rescue Crabs by a relative, not sure actual variety name.

The red ones are much sweeter than the yellow-green on the right, but the yellow-greens boil down quicker. The red apples do not need added sugar, we usually add some sugar to the yellow-green ones, though I eat both fresh apples as is. Some apple sauce mixes blended both apples. Cinamon and cloves also added.

We ran out of freezer space so decided to attempt canning for the first time at the last minute. I drained the apple juice (center jar in above photo) prior to placing the boiled apples through the food mill (above left), salvaged from a garage sale (maybe $5 or so). The canning set came free with our house (discovered abandoned in a dark corner in the garage).

Bernardin glass jars were collected over time from Last Mountain Berry Farms jams, so only purchase was 12 snap lids (70mm) for $2 and some electricity estimated at about $0.16 for the four jars shown. Total time (picking to canned) maybe 2 to 3 hrs total.

Canner took about 1/2 hr to heat up then boiled for 25 minutes as per Bernardin canning guide (with 10 minutes added for Calgary's high altitude). Next year will be more efficient with a full canner.