An Alameda Garden: September 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fuji Apple Butter Crockpot Recipe

This is the first year that my Fuji apple tree has had a significant harvest, especially considering that the young tree is still not quite 6 feet tall. When I had picked over three dozen apples (and still left some small ones to develop more on the tree) I decided to do some canning and began looking for some good recipes. I decided to make apple butter, because it's tasty, fat-free, and easy--only six ingredients and it can be prepared in a crockpot. This recipe is adapted from the Rival Crock-Pot Cooking book that came with my crockpot many years ago. The only thing I changed was the variety of apple used.

Old-Fashioned Apple Butter

12 - 14 apples (the book suggested Jonathan or Winesap; I used Fuji)
2 cups apple juice (I used apple cider)
Cinnamon (ground)
Cloves (ground)
(The book also listed an optional ingredient--1/2 cup sauterne--which I didn't use)

In addition, you will need a large crockpot and a food mill.

I used 14 Fuji apples of varying sizes. I washed, cored, and quartered them and put them in the crockpot, which I sprayed with a light coating of oil, along with 2 cups apple cider. I covered them and cooked on Low for 10 to 18 hours. (I cooked it overnight, 18 hours).

The next morning I ran the cooked apples through a food mill to remove the peels. (You don't want to remove the peel before cooking because there is a good amount of pectin in the peel that helps thicken the apple butter.) Measure the apple mixture and return it to the crockpot. I had 10 cups of cooked apples at this point. For every 2 cups of sieved, cooked apples, add 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves. So, for my 10 cups of apples, I added 5 cups of sugar, 5 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 2 1/2 teaspoons each of allspice and cloves.

Stir well, cover, and cook on High for 6 to 8 hours, stirring every couple of hours. After the first 3 hours of cooking, remove the cover so the juice will evaporate more and the fruit will cook down. The mixture will become dark brown and very thick. Spoon it into hot, sterilized jars and process using standard canning methods. I used a hot water bath to process, following the instructions here.

My yield from this batch was 8 half-pints.

I still have a couple dozen more apples sitting on my counter--I think I may have to dig up some more apple recipes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Welcome, Autumn!

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Have You Killed Your Lawn Yet?

As the drought drags on, are you finding that your brown-ish lawn is getting you down? Or are you (no judgment--well, OK, a little judgment) using enough water to slake the thirst of a small village to keep it nice and green? Maybe it's time to get rid of that big green water-hog and go lawn-less.

The folks that organize the Bringing Back the Natives Tour each year are ready to help you out with their "Mow No Mo'!" (or "How to Remove Your Lawn) workshops. These hands-on workshops will show you how to sheet-mulch your lawn into oblivion, leaving you with a clean canvas for planting a native and drought-tolerant garden. They'll also provide information on how you can get a rebate from your local water district for losing your lawn. The workshops take place on September 6 (Livermore), September 20 (Walnut Creek), and October 5 (Lafayette), from 10:00 to 3:00. You must register in advance; the cost is $30.

If you can't get to the workshops or you just want some great ideas for what to plant instead of lawn, check out Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives by Evelyn Hadden or Lawn Gone!: Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick. Both books have lots of suggestions for appealing lawn replacements.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...