Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall is in the air!

I.LOVE.FALL!!  It is my favorite season! I have been busy, busy, busy!!   From August to October, I have been filling my pantry with canned goods, and filling up my freezer.  It has been a very abundant harvest at our house this year, and I couldn't be more pleased, and feel SO very blessed!  However, it has kept me on my toes, and busy, busy, busy!  This was definitely the year for fruit.  My grape vines, were overflowing with big beautiful clusters.  I was so excited!!

I was able to make around 28 quarts of grape juice! We are finally getting to a point, where our own trees and fruit bushes are finally producing and I am having so much fun trying out new recipes for our family.

I am thinking next year, we may want to invest in a juicer if our grapes keep producing, like they did this year. 

We also had some apples on our trees this year!  I was very excited about this as well.  Next year they will be four year old trees, so we are making progress, and I hope in the next few years, I will no longer have to buy apples from an outside source.  I did find a good deal on some apples at a local orchard and purchased enough for applesauce, apple butter, pies and juice.

I just wanted to share how, a family of 7 makes enough applesauce for canning.... In my opinion, the easy way.  I use my roaster!  As we are peeling and coring the apples, we place them in the roaster as we go.  I add 1-2 cups of water, and then start adding the apples.  When the roaster is full, I add my sugar/honey and seasonings and slow cook.  My favorite thing to do, is cook the apples all night. In the morning the house smells wonderful, and I'm ready to can my applesauce.  I run my jars through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle right before I go to bed, and when I wake up, my applesauce is ready and my jars are sanitized.  And as an added bonus, everyone has applesauce for breakfast!  This year, I used two roasters at once.  That is a lot of applesauce!

I had such good success with my roaster, I decided to try the same method with my pumpkins.

Max loves to cut open the pumpkins and save the seeds.  This may be our new favorite variety of pumpkin.  The Cinderella pumpkin is one of the best pumpkins for baking.  We decided to buy one from a local farmer, and we were so thrilled with the taste, I may never bake with another variety of pumpkin again.

We washed the outside of the pumpkin, cut it open and cleaned out all the seeds (and saved them for next year)  I added no more then 1/4 cup of water to my roaster, and placed the pumpkin pieces inside, and placed the lid on top.  I cooked on 250 for 60-90 minutes.  When the pumpkin was soft, I turned off the roaster and let it cool.  The pumpkin was SO soft and the skin just peeled right off the flesh. I then pureed the pumpkin with my immersion blender and placed into freezer bags. From ONE pumpkin, we were able to get 22 cups!  I was very pleased!!  From here on out, I will be cooking all my pumpkins in the roaster!

This past week, was absolutely beautiful, and I have been enjoying the view.  This is what an early Midwest morning, in October looks like....

♥ Shannon