Monday, April 2, 2012


My Story

I love apples!  I had planted a Cortland apple tree in my back yard in honor of my mother.  It is her favorite apple. I also planted a Delicious apple tree.  You must have two for pollination purposes.  Just as they were beginning to mature and give me good yields, a 10" rain in a day made the Cortland apple tree fall last year.   This year I only have the one and if I plant a 2nd I have to wait another 5 years to have any real apples.  I'm heart sick over it, but I love canning apples so will be deciding what I want to do this year.  

I have been lucky enough in the past to have apples given to me that I have canned. I will never turn down free apples. If you are offered apples, take them, and can them so you can have apples all year round.  My favorite way to can apples is to make Apple Pie in a Jar. I have also canned apples into apple sauce and have included both of these recipes in this capture. I also like to dry them for apple chips for my grandsons. I have also made fruit roll ups with apple sauce by drying the apple sauce. It is a fun thing to do with kids and grandkids.  


The apple tree originated in an area between the Caspian and the Black Sea.  Apples were the favorite fruit of ancient Greeks and Roman archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since lat least 6500 B.C. Charred apples have been found in prehistoric dwellings in Switzerland.

The Lady or Api apple is one of the oldest varieties in existence.  Newton Pippin apples were the first apples exported from America in 1768, some were sent to Benjamin Franklin in London.  In 1730 the first apple nursery was opened in Flushing, New York

One of George Washington's hobbies was pruning his apple trees.  America's longest-lived apple tree was reportedly planted in 1647 by Peter Stuyvesant in his Manhattan orchard and was still bearing fruit when a derailed train struck it in 1866.


Apples are fat free; saturated fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, and an excellent source of fiber.  Apples are a natural source of health-promoting phytonutrients, including plant-based antioxidants.  Apples and apple juice are two important foods contributing the mineral boron to the diet, which may promote bone health.  Apples contain natural fruit sugars, mostly in the form of fructose.  Because of apples' high fiber content, the fruit's natural sugars are slowly released into the blood stream, helping maintain steady blood sugar levels.

There has been some controversy lately regarding arsenic levels in apple juice but like all things, doctors are saying it is ok in moderation.


All apple varieties should be considered self-incompatible, meaning that they cannot pollinate themselves or any flowers of the same apple variety. The highest quality fruit is harvested when cross-pollination occurs with a suitable pollinizer variety. You will need to plant at least two varieties of apple trees together in order to maximize fruit production and quality. Make sure that the varieties you choose have overlapping bloom dates, so that both varieties bloom at the same time. Remember, two trees of the same apple variety cannot be used for cross-pollination. Since the pollen from apple blossoms is transferred primarily by bees, be careful not to spray insecticides during bloom when honey bees are present.


Soils - Take a soil test prior to planting your apple trees. Your local County Extension Center can instruct you in collecting the soil sample, help you interpret the results, and provide valuable information about the soil in your county. Results from the soil test will determine the soil amendments necessary to correct nutrient deficiencies and adjust soil pH. The amendments should be worked into the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches where the tree will root, not just the planting hole. Apple trees will tolerate a wide range of soils as long as water and nutrients are not limiting and soil pH is adequate. Avoid heavy, poorly-drained soils and low spots, since apple trees cannot survive if water remains standing in the root zone.

Air Drainage - It is important to select a site where the tree will not be in a "frost pocket", where cold air settles in low-lying areas. In a frost pocket, low spring temperatures commonly kill the blossoms or developing fruit because cold air settles around the tree. Good air drainage, especially during early spring frosts, is critical. Choose a higher site with a slope if possible so cold air will flow down away from the trees and will not accumulate around the trees. Do not plant the trees close to a fence row, wooded area, or at the bottom of a hill, as cold air drainage will be impeded.

Other Considerations - Apple trees require full sun and should be planted where the trees will not be shaded from large trees or buildings. Do not plant trees near wooded areas or streams to avoid animal damage. Prior to planting, remove weeds either manually or with an approved herbicide that will not harm the young tree. If you are planting the tree in a lawn, remove the grass from the planting area in a 4-foot diameter circle. Grass competes with young trees for available water and nutrients and can significantly reduce tree growth and productivity.

Disease and Insect Control - Diseases and insects can cause serious damage to apple trees and fruit. Good sanitation practices are necessary to control pest problems. Cut out all dead or diseased wood, remove dried apples, and clear leaves and fallen debris away from trees. Disinfect pruning tools with a 10% solution of a household disinfectant (Lysol) or bleach, before and after use and between trees. Household disinfectants, such as Lysol, will not corrode tools or ruin clothing. A regular spray program is essential for high fruit quality and healthy trees. Use a multipurpose fungicide and insecticide labeled for apples. These can be obtained from a garden center and will include application instructions. A spray to control fungus problems should be applied when the first sign of green tissue appears. A horticultural oil should also be sprayed on apple trees at the first sign of green growth in the spring to suffocate scale insects and reduce over wintering mite and aphid eggs. For homeowners with only a few trees, premixed orchard sprays are available from many garden centers. Begin applications after full bloom is over and spray every 10 to 14 days through-out the summer.  From all I have read, you can't have good apples and not spray.

If you think you have an insect or disease problem, contact your County Extension Center immediately. It is important to identify the pest accurately so an effective treatment can be selected.

Harvesting and Fruit Storage

Apples reach maturity at different times, depending on variety and climate.  When you are convinced that the apples look mature, take a bite! A mature fruit will be crisp and juicy. A pleasing taste is the real  indicator of fruit maturity.


Proper storage conditions help prolong the shelf-life of your apples. Store apples at 32 degrees and maintain high humidity. The crisper drawers of many refrigerators work well, but keep the fruit away from vegetables since ripening fruit gives off gas that may spoil vegetables. Apples can also be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator to prevent fruit dehydration.

Apples ripen six to ten times faster at room temperature than if they were refrigerated.

A peck of apples weight 10.5 pounds.   A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds and will yield 20-24 quarts of applesauce for canning.

Drying Apples

Choose firm, mature, high quality apples and dry them soon after harvesting. Always sash the apple by spraying it with white vinegar and rinsing well. Remove any bad spots from the apple.

Cutting the apples uniformly will help them to dry evenly. Core the apples. You may peel the apples. Peeling is optional. Cut into ¼ to ½ inch rings or slices.

Apples should be dipped prior to drying to prevent oxidation. Oxidation is the browning of apples when exposed to air. Oxidation causes apples to lose some vitamin content. Dipping in lemon, or lime juice is the most natural method of preventing oxidation. To dip apples, cover the apple slices in water with added lemon or lime juice for 8 minutes prior to drying them. You will need 1/4 cup of juice for every cup of water needed to cover the apples.

Spread the apples in a single layer. The apples should be spread evenly and not allowed to overlap one another, as air should circulate freely between each piece of fruit. A glass dish is perfect for oven or air drying. If you are using a food dehydrator, layer the apples evenly on the trays.

If you wish to sweeten the apples before drying, you can coat them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. 1 teaspoon cinnamon for every cup of sugar works well.

There are 3 general methods of dehydration: Sun (air) drying, oven drying, and food dehydrator. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  I use the oven drying.

Sun or Air Drying - Sun or air drying is the most natural form of dehydration. It requires a warm day with temperatures near 100 degrees and low humidity. To sun dry apples, place apples in a sunny window. A car window can provide an ideal place for sun drying as the ideal temperature for drying apples is 135 degrees.
Oven Drying - If your oven maintains low temperatures, between 120 and 150 degrees, oven drying is a good choice for occasional use. It does not require the purchase of special equipment and is reliable when the weather is not ideal for dehydration. To oven dry apples, place the apples in the oven and set the oven to 135 degrees.  This is the method I use. 
Food Dehydrator - A food dehydrator consumes less energy than an oven and is the preferred method of dehydration for regular use. If you dry a lot of food, and the weather in your area isn’t ideal for sun drying, a food dehydrator is a consistent, low energy, dehydration method.

Apples should have most of the moisture removed, but still be pliable. If they are crisp, they are too dry. Overly dried apples work well for making apple powders.

Pack apples in a moisture proof container such as a canning jar or a sealed plastic container. Vacuum packing dried apples will further prolong their shelf life, but storage in a glass, moisture proof container, is the most natural method. Label the apples with the date of preservation. Store in a cool dry place. Dried apples can be stored up to 12 months.


Apple Pie in a Jar

7 quarts peeled sliced cooking apples
4 1/2 cups  sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
10 cups water
3 tbsp. lemon juice

Peel and slice apples. Fill quart jars with apples leaving 1 inch head space. Be sure to pack the apples in there, put a few in and smosh down with the handle of a wooden spoon, then a few more and repeat.

Make syrup by combining sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water.  Cook until thick. Add lemon juice. Pour syrup over apples in jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Be sure to run your plastic spatula around the inside of the jar to get the air bubbles out. Place the lids on and screw the rings down just finger tight. Process 20 minutes in hot water bath.  Yield 7 quarts.

Some of the ways I use these jars of love is I love to use this with puffed pastry and make a very quick turn over when I need a quick dessert to take for a covered dish. Of course the obvious is to make an apple pie  or a warm crumble out of it but have you ever camped and used fire irons to make apple pies out of bread? You can also do it in the fireplace.  You take two slices of white bread and butter both pieces.  Place one in the iron and then fill with fruit (you can cherries or any type of fruit) and put the other slice on top and close the iron.  Put just above the fire and roast until golden brown.  Top with white frosting.  For campers, it is a camping must do thing just like Somemores.

They make a great gift also.  Put the crumble recipe on a tag and tie it on with a ribbon and it is a quick dessert for a friend.  I've used this idea for selling at bake sale fund raisers.  They have always sold.

Apple Crumble

This recipe for apple crumble is quick and easy. And it makes the most of great cooking apples like the Granny Smith.  If you have made apple pie in a jar, you can skip peeling, etc and just make the crumble.  Great for pot lucks or brunches.  Best served warm.

Peel, core and cut up six to seven cups apples. Add three-fourths of a cup of sugar, season with cinnamon to your taste and a little lemon juice and pour apple mix into a greased seven by eleven baking dish. You don't have to precook the apples.

1 cup of oats
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of brown sugar.
3/4 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
Nutmeg and allspice to taste.

To make the crumble, take a stick of butter and chop it up into bits about the size of a pea. Now just spread the crumbles over the apples and bake it at 375° for about forty-five minutes.

Apple Fritters

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 quarts oil for deep frying
4 large apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until smooth.  Heat oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) in a deep fryer or heavy bottomed deep pot or skillet.  Slice apples into 1/2 inch rings. Dip apple slices in batter and fry, a few at a time, turning once, until golden. Drain on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Apple Dip

8 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 x medium red apples chopped
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. lemon Juice

Blend together cheese and mayonnaise. Add apples nuts and lemon juice. Serve with crackers.

Apple Brown Betty

2 cups dry bread crumbs
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
10 cups sliced tart apple
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and cloves. Place half of the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with half the bread crumb mixture. Repeat layers. Pour melted butter over all and cover with applesauce. Put on remaining crumb mixture and bake for 1 hour.

Apple Sauce

Another way to can and preserve your apples is to make apple sauce. 

2 lbs. tart apples - peeled, cored, sliced 
1 cup water
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice

Combine all apples, water, and lemon juice in heavy large pot or Dutch oven. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until mixture thickens, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes longer. Mash apples slightly with potato masher until chunky applesauce forms.  Stir sugar, cinnamon, and allspice into apples.  Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight or follow instructions for canning below.

Place boiling water bath canner (or large pot), filled half full with water, on the stove burner and begin to heat. Make sure canner has a removable rack that will fit inside the canner. The canner should be large enough to allow the water to boil 1"-2" over the jars when they are placed on the rack in the canner.  Place an extra kettle of water on the stove burner in case extra boiling water is needed to cover the jars in the canner.  Wash jars and bands in hot soapy water; rinse in hot water. Jars should be boiled in hot water for at least 10 minutes.  Fill jars with hot applesauce, leaving 1/2" head space at the top of the jar. Run a non-metal knife or spatula along the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe off the top of the jar rim with a clean cloth.  Place hot sealing lid on packed jar next to glass. Screw band on jar until just tight. Place jars in canning rack, then place rack in canner while water is boiling. Ensure jars are far enough apart to allow for circulation of water around jars. Water should be 1"-2" over the tops of the jars when boiling. Begin timing for processing as soon as the water returns to a rolling boil. Boil, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove hot jars from water and place on a towel or rack to cool. Keep jars out of drafts. Do not turn jars upside down. When jars have cooled, ensure they have sealed properly.

Some apple varieties suitable for this recipe are: Granny Smith, Jonathan, Rome Beauty, and McIntosh.  

Baked Apple

4 tart green apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop out the core from top of the apple, leaving a well. Do not cut all the way through. Stuff each apple with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. Place in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until sugar begins to caramelize and apples are tender.

Variation:  You can add raisins and nuts when stuffing the core with brown sugar and butter also.

Apple Dumpling

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten to mix
4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out one of the puff-pastry sheets to a 13-by-13-inch square. Cut the square in half and cut each half into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle. With the beaten egg, lightly brush 1 inch along the edges of one of the rectangles. Put one of the apples, upside down, in the middle of the rectangle and pour enough of the cinnamon sugar into the center cavity to reach the top. Gather the four corners of the pastry and pinch them together. Pinch the edges together to seal. With scissors, trim any excess pastry from where the edges meet. Repeat with the remaining pastry, apples, and cinnamon sugar.

If you like, use a small knife to cut eight small leaves from the scraps of pastry. Brush the backs of the leaves with the beaten egg and attach two of them to the top of each dumpling.

Chill the dumplings for 15 minutes. Put them on a heavy baking sheet and lightly brush them with the beaten egg. Bake the dumplings for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees F and continue cooking until golden, 20 to 22 minutes longer. Don't bake too long or the dumplings may burst.  Yield: 4 servings

Applesauce Sweet Bread    (Our local Machine Shed shared this favorite.  They serve it family style)

1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) plus 1 T. butter or margarine, at room temperature
3 cup sugar
5 eggs
3 1/2 oz evaporated milk
2 tsp. .vanilla
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cup applesauce
5 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes.
Add eggs, evaporated milk and vanilla. Mix until blended. Add baking soda and salt; continue beating for 3 minutes.

Add applesauce; beat for 2 minutes. Slowly stir in flour and mix just until blended (do not over mix).
Pour batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top of cake.

Bake in a preheated 300-degree oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours.

My Story

If I think of my mother’s cooking,  her apple salad will always come to mind.  It is similar to a Waldorf Salad but she does not use whipped cream.  If she has me to dinner, she often fixes it for me, knowing I love it.  Here is here how she makes it.  Mom does not have a recipe.  She just throws it  together. She is where I get most of my cooking skills from.

Mom’s Apple Walnut Salad

Begin by combining salad dressing  (not mayo.) and sugar.  Mom  uses a couple large tablespoons of store bought salad dressing and then sweeten with sugar to taste.  Of course, I like it sweet.   Core a good firm apple.  Mom always uses a red apple for color.  She also slices it into very small pieces (shows more love).  Add same volume of marshmallows as the apples.  Add  1/2 cup walnuts and a sliced banana. You can cut everything over the dressing bowl and mix well coating all of the ingredients.  This goes great with any pork or turkey dish. 

Original Waldorf Salad Recipe

3 Granny Smith apples, cored
3 Red Delicious apples, cored
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. orange juice
2 cups whipped cream
6 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cup golden raisins

Dice apples with skin still on. Place in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice and orange juice. Fold in the whipped cream.

Drain the apples and add to the mayonnaise mixture, along with the celery and raisins. Stir until ingredients are evenly coated.

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.  Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes.  Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Apple Stuffing

1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.  Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and bird neck and liver. Drizzle with stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into chicken to loosely fill.  If stuffing a turkey, do in separate container.

Holiday Apple Wassail  (Hot Apple Drink)

1 gallon apple cider
6 apples, cored and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 (2 inch) whole cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp. ground mace
1/4 tsp. anise seed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Combine the cider, apple chunks, and cinnamon sticks in a large kettle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to low and add the mace, anise seed, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and brown sugar. Stir to combine, and simmer for 20 minutes until the spices have developed their flavor.  Drop in the orange and lemon slices, simmer for 5 more minutes, and turn off the heat. Ladle the wassail punch into mugs and serve hot. Include a few pieces of cooked apple or a cooked orange or lemon slice in each mug.  Serves 16.

Caramel Apples

1 1-pound box dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. robust-flavored (dark) molasses
1/4 tsp. salt
12 sturdy lollipop sticks or chopsticks
12 medium apples
Assorted decorations (such as chopped nuts, chopped raisins, mini M&M's and candy sprinkles)
Equipment needed - one accurate candy thermometer.

Combine sugar, butter, condensed milk, corn syrup, maple syrup, vanilla, molasses and salt in a thick-bottomed 2 1/2 or 3 quart saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon on medium-low heat until all the sugar dissolves. There should be no grittiness (sugar crystals) when you test by rubbing a little of the caramel between your fingers. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals that might form on the pan sides.

Using a candy thermometer cook caramel at a rolling boil until the thermometer reaches 236°F, stirring constantly and slowly with a wooden spatula. Continue to occasionally brush the sides down with a pastry brush. Carefully pour caramel into a metal bowl. Cool until the temperature lowers to 200°F, at which point you are ready to dip the apples.

While the caramel is cooking/cooling, prepare a large baking sheet, covering it either with buttered aluminum foil or silpat. Insert a chopstick or sturdy lollipop stick into each apple, about 2-inches, top down, into the apple core.

When the caramel has cooled enough for dipping, dip the apples in, one by one, by holding on to the stick, and vertically lowering the apple into the caramel, submerging all but the very top of the apple. Pull the apple up from the caramel and let the excess caramel drip off from the bottom back into the pan. Then place on the silpat or prepared foil. The caramel will pool a little at the bottom of each apple. Place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Once the caramel has chilled a bit, remove from the refrigerator and use your fingers to press the caramel that has dripped to the bottom of the apples, back on to the apples. Then take whatever coatings you want and press them into the apples for decoration.  Return to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.

Here is a snack idea to make with your kids or grandkids.  

Apple Butter 

4 lbs of good cooking apples (Granny Smith well suited)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
Sugar (about 4 cups, see cooking instructions)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.

Cut them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Measure out the purée and add the sugar and spices

Ladle apple mixture into a chinois sieve and using a pestle force pulp from the chinois into a large bowl below. Measure resulting puree. Add 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of apple pulp. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add a dash of salt, and the cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, lemon rind and juice. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Cook uncovered in a large, wide, thick-bottomed pot on medium low heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scrape the bottom of the pot while you stir to make sure a crust is not forming at the bottom. Cook until thick and smooth (about 1 to 2 hours). A small bit spooned onto a chilled (in the freezer) plate will be thick, not runny. You can also cook the purée on low heat, stirring only occasionally, but this will take much longer as stirring encourages evaporation. (Note the wider the pan the better, as there is more surface for evaporation.)

There are several ways to sterilize your jars for canning. You can run them through a short cycle on your dishwasher. You can place them in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse out the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. If you plan to store the apple butter un-refrigerated, make sure to follow proper canning procedures. Before applying the lids, sterilize the lids by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Wipe the rims of the jars clean before applying the lids. I use a hot water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.

Yield: Makes a little more than 3 pint jars.

Apple Rollups

2 1/2 – 3 cups apple sauce
Sweeten to taste with honey
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to lowest temperature (140°).  Pour onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat (don’t use foil, parchment, or waxed paper), and spread to 1/8″ thick.  Place in oven and bake for 6-8 hours, until center is not tacky anymore.  Remove from oven and peel off of baking sheet and lay on parchment paper.  Cut into strips and roll with the parchment.  Store in airtight container or freeze.

You can use any fruit to make these.  All fruits will produce slightly different results.  Strawberries and Raspberries are great or you can mix flavors.  You might have to experiment to find what works well.  If you’re going to make a giant batch, you may want to test one first to make sure it works well.

The addition of sugar or honey enhances the texture and makes the fruit roll ups a little more chewy than if you leave it out. 

I use a silicone baking mat and it works best.  I’ve made these with my grandsons.  We used store bought apple sauce that had other fruit like blue berries and strawberries. They loved them and they could do all the work.  

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash 

2 acorn squash
1 cup peeled and chopped apples
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp.  salt

Split  two acorn squash in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and stringy filaments with a spoon. Place the squash in a baking dish and set aside.   To make the apple filling, peel and chop the apple. Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the onions for about 3 to 4 minutes over a medium heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, Balsamic vinegar, dried thyme leaves and salt and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat. Score the squash before filling so they absorb more of the flavor of the stuffing. Spoon the filling into the squash. To help keep the squash moist while it bakes add about a 1/2 inch of water to the bottom of the pan, place the filled squash in the pan and cover it with foil. Bake at 375 degree F for about an hour, until the squash is tender. This squash recipe is delicious served warm, right out the oven.

Another Story

As a child, I would spend part of my summer at my Grandma Lindley's farm.  I would steal her salt shaker and go sit out under her apple trees and eat green salted apples.  She'd yell at me, when I got caught saying I was going to get a belly ache.  I never did and to this day I will buy green Granny Smiths and make a meal out of an apple and my salt shaker.  Maybe that is why I have my apple belly. What is the saying, kids do not try this at home?  

Tomorrow we pick spinach.  One more of those green veggies that I love both raw in salads and cooked.  It is also very good for you.

Be happy and God bless you and yours.  

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