Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wet and Cold Weather, Insect Pests, and More Canning

Wet and Cold Weather:  Not too much rain, the back-back isn't a bog yet.  We have had one night of freezing temperatures, which froze the bird bath water, but not the dog water under the overhang, which will happen later on.  The tree frogs are still chirping away.  Do they hibernate?  I need to look that up. I feel so Mama- Bear about them, protective and worried!  The freeze got the marigolds, zinnias, and basil. I cut the peppermint, chocolate mint, catnip (catmint), spearmint, and wooly apple mint to near ground level.  The frozen lettuce always amazes me.  Frozen stiff, yet thaw with no harm to the fragile leaves.  Pretty frost on all the plants. 

Frost on the Strawberries - November 9
Insect Pests:  I tore out two broccoli and two cauliflower plants yesterday.  Full of aphids and I didn't want to deal with them any more since they are the same plants that have had problems before, even with my spaying Sevin on them.  I don't plan on growing cole crops again.   My "winter" garden will consist of lettuce and chard next year.

More Canning:  At least this topic is more upbeat.  I canned apple sauce, apple slices in a light syrup, and more apple butter.  Apple butter is the easiest, since it cooks slowly all day.  The apple slices are rather repulsive in that the apples are floating.  The teacher at the symposium told us to really pack them in to the top, but I followed the Ball Blue Book instructions to the letter.  My jars were a bit big also, quart size.  I bought some pint ones for apple sauce.  The apples, Granny Smith, cooked down so smooth I didn't need to blend them beyond just using a hand wire-whisk.  I did add a little sugar as the apples are on the sour side.

Apple Slices - not too appetizing!
Apple Sauce

Apple Butter Apples in Slow Cooker

I made an apple crisp for dessert tonight.  On one hand the apples are going fast, but on the other hand, it takes so many of them to make a jar of butter or sauce.  I have 34 left, which sounds like a lot, but it took about 10 just for the crisp.  

Apple Crisp
Apple Crisp Recipe
Grease the bottom and sides of a large rectangular baking pan.  Peel, core, and slice apples into the bottom of the pan.  I used about 10, it should cover the bottom about 3 slices deep.  Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  The amount of sugar depends on the sourness or sweetness of the apples.  Mine took 1/2 cup.  Cinnamon was just sprinkled on.  Add 1/3 cup water.  In a bowl mix 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup oatmeal (I use old fashioned, not "quick cooking), cutting in 1 cube (1/2 cup) margarine.  Sprinkle over apples.  You might have a bit too much, so just use the lumpiest parts with the butter!
Cook for about 40 minutes (peek!) at 350 degrees until browned and bubbly. I like the chewy parts on teh edges, if you don't take it out sooner.  Great with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

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