Friday, August 28, 2009

What We've Been Doing & A Request for Advice

We've had a busy few weeks since my little melt-down and hiatus from blogging. All the things that I mentioned needed getting done did indeed get done. The jam for my sister's wedding (177 little jars) are finished. Sam, Sadie and I all are in possession of our proper attire for the wedding and those of us who needed hair cuts have had them.

Tomatoes have been rolling in at a steady but manageable pace. As I write this, my canning of tomatoes is complete. I am still roasting them and will keep it up until I have plenty packed away. There is a chance that I will can some Curried Green Tomato Sauce, but that's only if I really feel like it and that would be several weeks out from now.

My sister and her one-year-old spent four days with us. We had a wonderful time. We made a batch of tomato sauce for her, browsed a discount book store, spent an afternoon at a nearby lake (until hurricane Bill dumped on us- even that was fun), made food, watched our children play and talked about how we look forward to the day we live closer (hopefully within a year).

The chicks are growing and still oh-so cute. Even though the yellow-brown meat birds are only 4 days older than our laying chicks (Silver-Laced Wyandottes), they tower above them. They are still enjoying sharing the chicken tractor, although we really must figure out (ahead of time) where their next move will be. Before long, they will be too big for the tractor, but still small enough to be chased out of the main chicken yard by the older hens who are bossy (and that's a nice way of saying it).

My brother and his wife came over and made dinner for us the other night as part of my birthday present- chicken pasta with tomatoes and spinach, lettuce and egg salad, bruschetta (I'll tell you more about that next week), chocolate cream pie and chocolate chip cookies. It was delicious and such a treat.

Jamey has started back to school. This begins his third (out of four or five, if he chooses to specialize) year of pharmacy school. Having him home this summer was wonderful. His help with Miriam, Sam, Sadie, the garden, canning and everything else made this summer so enjoyable for me. There were times when it was hard for him, not being used to kid exposure all day everyday and lacking almost all types of personal time, but he pulled through and the kids and I will always be grateful for the gift of him being at home with us this summer.

The red raspberries are in full swing and we are enjoying them. I am picking almost 2 quarts every other day. We are eating them fresh and freezing the rest. Also, on our raspberry agenda is to make Raspberry Frozen Yogurt. We have made this recipe many times this summer- with blueberries, frozen crushed strawberries, and peaches. All have been amazing and we're excited to try the red raspberry version.

My freezers are full. The upright freezer is packed (almost to the gills) with frozen produce, zucchini pumpkin bread and our remaining few quarts of applesauce. The chest freezer is holding frozen strawberries, pesto and enough meals to get us through the month of September. You heard me. There are about 20 meals in there, but do not think for a second that that has been one of the things I've been doing the past few weeks. Oh no.

These meals are meals that I squirreled away before Miriam was born and that family and friends brought us after she was born. You know, for us to eat while we were enjoying our newborn. Well, once our church meals were delivered, I was feeling pretty good and with Jamey (unexpectedly) home to help, we decided we'd save the meals for once he and the kids went back to school. Well, that's now. And if we don't go ahead and start thawing and eating this month, there won't be room in that chest freezer for applesauce and meat birds that will need space come October. I won't have to cook for a month. Who knows what I'll blog about. I sure don't. But, I'm not complaining. No sirree Bob.

Preparing lessons and our school room is coming along and I will show you pictures of our the room and tell you what we'll be studying next week. Next week will we do a light, transition week and then jump-in with both feet the following. The kids are actually begging to start school as they see me getting things ready. They do so well with structure and are craving a change just as I am. Let's just hope our enthusiasm lasts. At least for a little while.

Back to applesauce. Here is where I need some advice. There is a chance we may not be able to get Red Cortland apples this year (booohooohooo). In the event that we have to choose another variety, would you lovely people please tell me what kind of apples you use for saucing and why? The why? is very important to me.

Thank you ever so much. For the advice and for listening to (ok, reading) my rambles. Pin It


  1. If I had to buy apples for making applesauce (as opposed to foreraging for free ones at my parents and the city park) I would be buying Yellow Transparent Apples. I think they are an old variety and they make the best/ sweetest applesauce in the world. And if you run out of room to store the homemade applesauce you can always ship it to me and I will store it in my new freezer......

  2. My dad makes our applesauce for us and uses spy apples. I can't tell you why he does it, but it makes nice sauce with just the right amount of tartness.

  3. To me the only sauce apple is Summer Rambo. It's what I grew up on. Sometimes I mix some early Mackintosh in. Our Dr. friend who has a small orchard just called me this morning and said they will be picking them for the next week or two. I'll probably get 8-10 baskets (that's 4-5 bushel). I like them because they make a nice light sauce that you don't have to add too much sugar to. Do not let either kind get over ripe but underripe makes a strange sauce too. They should be crisp but not mealy and should have a nice red cheek.

    Aunt V.

  4. Question about the red raspberries. How big of a patch do you have and about how many quarts do you get in a year on the average? We have black raspberries but I would like to plant red raspberries.

    Aunt V.

  5. Aunt V,

    Four years ago, we planted 15 Heritage red raspberry 'sticks', each having a few leaves starting to sprout. We planted them early spring and picked a couple handfuls of berries that same late summer. The plants came from a couple at church who were thinning their bushes. I've added photos above because I am terrible at estimating length of rows. The first photo is what those first 15 sticks turned into. The two shorter rows (together almost the length of the first) came to be by us thinning and replanting 'sticks' from the original row. They transplant soooo easily, so I would suggest getting less plants than you want (plant them a couple feet apart) and plan on transplanting new shoots for more bushes. We found it is helpful to either plant them along a fence or use posts at either end of the row to string supportive twine- they tend to want to lean especially when they are heavy with berries. Other than thinning, we also cut them all off to knee height every early spring. This variety bears twice a year, early and late summer with the better crop late summer (now). I hope this is helpful:-).

  6. Sorry. I forgot to tell you how much they produce. This is hard to estimate because we eat a lot of them fresh and I have never kept track of how much we pick, just how much I freeze. I would guess we freeze about 6-10 quarts a year. Some years are better than others. They like rain.

  7. The kind of apple is important, but also arbitrary: one year the Yellow Transluscents might be fantastic, the next sort of bland. I had my best results last year with Ginger Gold.

  8. This comment has nothing to do with apples...sorry! :) Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...I left a reply for you there just in case you miss it I thought I'd tell you here. I enjoy visiting your blog...may the Lord bless you and your family!

  9. I have no clue what's available in your area, so this might not be helpful, but my most favorite apples are Stamen Winesaps, both for eating out of hand and cooking. They are super crisp and tart, so they hold their shape well if you like a chunky sauce. (Our only source for them is currently being threatened by wildfire, I so hope the area is spared.) But most of the time I use a mix of apples, and since we don't have any u-picks super close buy I make it when they are on sale. In my area my favorite health food store will run specials on all their apples at once a couple times during the fall which is when I make my sauce if I can't get up to Oak Glen (aforementioned apple growing area). I like a mix of apples because it gives me a nice combination of sweet and tart and that way I'm not married to a particular apple in the event it has a poor year.


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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