Saturday, September 8, 2012

#12 Apple Butter of my Eye

I'll tell you what, it has been on heck-oh-a Summer! I finally got my big ole mofo canning pot out to welcome in the Fall, and what better way to welcome in the fall then a big old crock a apple butter? Last year (before pint of mine) I made my first canning recipe after venturing out to the apple orchards of Rhode Island. We came home with two HUGE bags of apples!  So I had absolutely no canning experience before I made apple butter.  An let me tell you, it was gone in 2 maybe 3 months (all of it).  We ate it with ham, we ate it once with Chai ice cream, we ate it with pork chops and on biscuits. So here you go!!! The best friggin apple butter recipe you could want! Make it!  It is not hard AND the Holidays are coming up.  How sweet would it be to give someone a trio of homemade fruit butters? Apple Butter, Pear Butter, and Banana Butter, anyone?
Also, I WILL answer all of your sweet little questions! Just leave it below and I will answer it ASAP!  All right lets get to it!  


4 lbs of apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 pint jars (I like this size cause they are good for gift giving)

 First core, peel, and chop apples into bite-sized pieces.  Watch a tv show when you do this.

Now add all the apples, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon into a heavy pot.  Turn the heat up and make those apples sweat!  Make sure you continuously stir so the apples don't burn on the bottom.  The apple juices will start to appear at the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat down to low and let sit for 1 1/2 hour. Stir every now and then. Make sure you sanitize the jars if you are water bath canning.  Place jars into pot and boil.  Reserve some water in another bowl for the lids.  Don't boil the lids or the wax will melt and will not make a good seal on the jar later on.

Pour the mushy sweaty apples into a blender and pulse until it meets your satisfaction.  Pour the apple butter back into the same pot and cook until it is nice and thick (10-20 minutes).  Now doesn't that picture look tasty? No? You are right.

Use tongs to remove jars, ladle hot apple butter into jars, place lids and rings and process for at least 15 minutes.  Remove from water bath and hear those beautiful pings!  I can't say these are my most favorite jam photos I have taken but I need to find the good spots in our new home.  Like a nice ledge to place a jar....hmmm.

Well, the next step is another butter.  I would really like to try my hand at pear butter.  Till next time, jam on!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Havesting herbs! Heck yes!

Before we relocated to Cali I was prepping for a garden.  I had built 2 raised wood beds and started seeds by the time we got the news.  Needless to say you can't ship lumber and plants across the country. Boo!

To make up for the lost garden this summer I bought some herbs to put on our patio.  Right now we have Rosemary (I use this one a lot), Basil, Mint, and Lemon Balm (I haven't used this yet).  I had cilantro and used it a few times before it bolted and started producing flowers.

I've been researching how to care for these plants and have the following tips for growing Basil:

1. Let the soil dry completely before watering again.  The water should be able to drain quickly.  My basil is planted in terracotta pots which I think wick moisture out of the soil.

2. Keep in a sunny area.  My basil gets 8 hours of direct sunlight a day and it seems to like it.

3.  When you start to see the tiny leaves and flowers (like the above picture) appear cut them off.

4. To get basil to grow bushier you can cut from the first 3-5 sets of leaves and up off.  Don't worry the basil won't die. I promise.

I love putting basil on sandwiches, it gives everything a nice subtle spicy, peppery taste.  I have also been know to slice some up and throw it onto scrambles eggs for a "gourmet" touch!