Canning Homemade Applesauce

IMG_9647Let’s talk apples. One medium apple contains about 4 grams of soluble fiber, half the daily fruit quota, and a fair amount of vitamin C.   This makes for quite a satisfying sweet snack. All for only 100 calories!

Even though we’re not quite in apple season, our trees are bursting with ripe ones.  As in, oh, 60 pounds.  We spent a good chunk of this week harvesting, chopping, freezing, and canning apples.  One of our favorite forms of apple is applesauce.  Not only is it a tasty snack on its own, it’s awesome in baked goods.  Here is how I turned 30 pounds (16 pints) of apples into applesauce-

What You’ll Need

30 pounds of apples, chopped – adjust the amount  for  your lifestyle, of course

4-6 C sugar – this is totally optional. depending on how sweetened you’d like it

cinnamon – also optional

water

6 TBSP lemon juice

16 pint jars

Chop as many apples as you can stand.  Apparently 30 pounds is my limit. My partner in crime was more than happy to amuse me while I chopped.

IMG_9631  IMG_9643  Here’s the next apple, mom.  There are a bajiliion more in here.  Keep chopping.

Sterilize your jars and lids in simmering water.  Combine the apples and just enough water to keep them from sticking in a pan. Bring them to a medium boil, reduce to a light boil and stir occasionally, until they are tender.  Remove them from the heat and let cool a few minutes.  Transfer them in batches to a food processor and puree to desired smoothness. We made this batch smooth for ease.  We have reusable pouches we fill and the chunkier the sauce, the harder it is to squeeze out.  I also prefer smooth applesauce in my baking.

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Pour the sauce back into the pan.  Stir in the lemon juice and sugar.  Bring the sauce to a medium boil, stirring often.  Spoon the hot applesauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Put the lids on the jars and process in a boiling water canner for roughly 20 minutes.  Check the lids in a few hours.  There shouldn’t be any flexing.

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Allow to cool completely before storing. Enjoy!

Stinging Nettle Tea and Garlic Pesto

IMG_8882Let’s talk about this prickly, often cursed, but highly nutritious herb. It grows wild in most parts of the world and, until recently, was often found on dinner plates and in medicine cabinets.  Because it supplies iron, vitamins A, D and K, it’s a cure for practically every ailment- allergies, arthritis, skin conditions, as well as a plethora of others.

The nettle in our yard  is currently in a race with the lettuce to see who can outpace me faster.  I got busy this weekend processing a bunch of leaves for tea and pesto sauce.  Be careful when harvesting.  It’s called stinging for a reason- it hurts if you grab the bristly side of the leaf.  BAD.  So learn from my mistake and use gloves.

The first thing you need to do is wash the leaves.  Get a pot of water boiling and once the leaves are clean, use tongs to drop them  in.  Let them boil for 2 minutes or so.  This takes the sting out of them.  Pull them out of the water with your tongs and wring out the excess water back into your pot.  You now have nettle tea. I enjoy mine with a splash of agave syrup.

What You’ll Need for Pesto

1/4 pound of nettle leaves

2 TBSP minced garlic

1/2 C pepitas

1.5 TSP lemon juice

3/4 C olive oil

1/4 C vegan Parmesan cheese

1/4 TSP adobe seasoning

dash of red pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Place your cooked nettle leaves, lemon juice, garlic, pepitas, Parmesan, and seasonings in a food processor. Once they’re finely chopped, slowly add in the olive oil.  Pulse a few more times and you’re done.  We made pesto pasta but it’s also awesome on homemade bread.  Enjoy!

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Beet Sorbet

DSC03661And the beet goes on!  Sorry.  I had to.

There’s still no shortage of beets around here.  In my quest to get crafty with them, I’ve discovered beet sorbet.  Oh, yeah.  So good.  This is the highlight of my summer and will surely be yours too.

What You’ll Need

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5-6 baby beets

1 rounded C sugar

1/2 C water

3/4 TBSP lemon juice

dash of cinnamon

Put the beets in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring them to a boil, then reduce to a simmer uncovered until they’re done. This should take 25-30 minutes or until a fork slides out easily. If necessary, add a little more water to keep the beets partially submerged. Once they’re done, pour the beets and cooking water in a blender and puree. Pour the pureed beets into a bowl and chill in the fridge about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, make the simple syrup by combining the water and sugar in a saucepan and bringing to a boil.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, pour into a bowl and chill in the fridge 45 minutes.  In a bowl, whisk together the beet puree, simple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon.  Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process per manufacturers instructions.  Pour the sorbet into a bowl, cover and freeze until firm.  Enjoy!