So, it must be September.
Today the kids played nicely and I was able to get three things done! Yippee! I cooked and canned the crabapple puree I’ve had in the fridge for a couple days, I roasted a (really old) butternut squash and turned it into pumpkin bread, and I made regular bread. I really like making my own bread, I’ve done it often enough that I have a system, so it doesn’t take that much energy or thought. The other two, though, especially the canning… I’m just glad the kids stayed in the living room for the most part. All that hot water and hot apple puree makes me nervous to have the kids in the same room.
Here’s how I did the apple butter.
Pick a bunch of crabapples from the neighbor’s tree. These have such lovely red skin, I knew they’d make pretty apple jelly. Finally got around to it this year! Give them a quick bath in the sink. Then cut each one in half, no need to seed or take off the stems. My 8-qt stock pot was just slightly heaping when I was done. Then you cook with a little water, doesn’t matter how much, just so they don’t burn or stick. Cook till complete mush. Then glop the mush into some cheesecloth and strain off the juice. Don’t do like I did with chicken stock once, put a bowl under it so it doesn’t go down the drain!
This is where it turned into apple butter: No juice was forthcoming. Out of the bag it went, and into my mesh colander.
Much better! Smoosh it up with your hands until the good parts are in the bowl and the seeds, peels, and stems are in the colander. Repeat till your hands are slightly pink and you really wish you had a food mill.
Then put it in the fridge and forget about it for a couple days. Ok, this step is optional, but it’s what I did.
Cook the pulp up with some sugar to taste, and spices to taste, then can it up! This time I really did can it; most times I make jam or jelly I just make fridge jam. But this will be for Christmas gifts, so I wanted to make it last till then without worry!
The pumpkin bread recipe I used was the first one that appeared on Google, heavily modified, so it’s nothing special. I will share how I do my bread though, because I used to think making bread was about the most annoying thing ever. Let me just say, I HEART my bread machine. I use it only for mixing and kneading, though! I put my ingredients in there, let ‘er rip, and when the dough is finished, I take it out, shape the loaf, put it in my greased pan, and let it rise. When it’s done rising, I turn on the oven, bake that sucker, and done. It takes about 3 or 4 hours from ingredients to being done baking, but the total time I’ve actually spent hands on is closer to a half hour at the most, and that’s split into smaller chunks through the morning. It’s a great way to have fresh bread and keep your hands relatively clean! That kneading, that’s what always got me. I’d end up with half the dough stuck to my hands and the other half stuck to the counter, or if it didn’t stick it was because I used too much flour and ended up with ishy bread… Nope, bread machines are great. I just don’t like the shape of the loaf you end up with if you bake it in there.
I have so much stuff I want to make with apples… and I have to remember to take pictures of our cider party this year! Yay!